Complexity and hierarchy of living organisms

Mieczysław Chorąży


In this essay I presented a basic information on complexity of life, starting with general characteristics of complexity. The complexity was explained in terms of quantity of parts, organized by not simple their summation, but by their ability to self-organization and creation of novelty on the way to the wholeness in a course of evolution. A short review of evolving cell from elementary particles and atoms, through simple chemical molecules and macromolecules, self-organized networks and morphological structures of the cell were presented. All living organisms reveal distinct hierarchical organization from basic level (atoms, molecules) to cells and multicellular individuals. Complexity is increasing with the increased hierarchical levels. However phenomena of life on higher level of hierarchy can not be explained or reduced to characteristics and properties of chemical molecules but by interaction between them and integration of various molecular processes at a lover levels of hierarchy. More detailed view on hierarchical organization of the human, relation between various levels of hierarchy, and emergence of highest human abilities belonging to the broad level of culture are discussed.


complexity; hierarchy; hierarchical levels; reductionism; human complexity

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