Units To Unity
In the world of language the single and the simple is the letter, while in the world of music and painting it is the note, and the brushstroke respectively. The letter moves on to the word, the note to the bar, and the brush stroke to an object in the painting. In biology the cell is the basis of the organ and organism. The Mozarts, van Goghs, Einsteins and Shakespeare’s of the world, organized connected and integrated the units in such a way so as to create a genius result – certainly one that is more powerful than the individual parts. In biology, years of evolution have slowly crafted the human body into a miraculous machine which we have the good fortune to own, honor , learn about, and opportunity to unravel and understand its mysteries in the context of the medical world.
The yearning to be “one” drives us, whether we conciously know it or not. The atom thinks it is indivisible (and probably invincible) but it also has smaller parts. The atom by itself is powerless unless it combines with similar atoms to make up molecule. This same feeling of power and individuality comes to the cell, which for practical purposes, is the smallest living individual and independent unit in biology. It is made up of smaller parts of macromolecules that combine to form microstructures such as the ribosome, endoplasmic reticulum, and the nucleus. All parts in combination make up the cell, giving it singularity and oneness. The cell is powerless without the tissue, and so it combines with similar cells to humble itself before the tissue. Although the tissue claims individuality, it too seeks combination with other tissue as it searches for oneness in the organ. The seeming accomplishment of unity continues through the body to the individual, the family, the community of the village, the community of the nation and the community of the world – and even the solar system, which bears uncanny structural similarity to the atom. The solar system probably thinks it is the end of the world, but the universe has a surprise in store. At this writing, the universe resides at on the one end and the atom on the other – both claiming singularity – but we have to suspect there may be something beyond both of them.
In the previous chapter we discussed some broad concepts and principles of biology and how biology seems to be part of a repeating system and pattern.. We wanted to extend the pattern of units to unity so that the extension to the family, community and nations gives a sense of the order that occurs in what sometimes seems to be a chaotic world.
Atoms are the smallest parts of matter that possess the distinctive chemical characteristics of chemicals that we can recognize in our surroundings.
If for example split a piece of charcoal, which consists of pure carbon, and break it up into its component parts, it will end up as an atom of carbon that will have the same chemical characteristics as the original charcoal If you were to do the same thing of chopping up an iron molecule till it ends up with characteristic component parts, you would end up with iron atoms that behave in similar fashion as the original iron bar If the chopping continues then the iron particles will be broken up into protons, neutrons and electrons.
If on the other hand we took water and startied breaking it up into its component parts then we would arrive at the molecules of water wth 2 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Individually these would not behave like the water molecule but rather like hydrogen and oxygen individually. Then as they get broken up further into electrons protons and neutrons, they will not behave like oxygen or hydrogwn but like protons electrons and neutrons.
When a substance consists of a single type of atom it is called an element. There are 92 different elements found naturally on the earth .
A substance that is made up of more than one atom is called a compound.
We will start once again at the atom and take you through a pictorial progression.
Units to Unity in the Atomic World –
Multiplying – Shaping Up – Combining Forces
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Units to Unity in the Biologic World –In this text biological units are defined as those elements of life starting at the level of the organelles and progressing through the cell, to the tissue, organ, body, and to a biological being suchas a animal plant or peson.
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|12860 Normal Colon Mucosa. This is a low power photo micrograph of normal colon mucosa illustrating extremely orderly, rigid, “test tube”-like arrangement of the straight tubular glands which comprise the colonic crypts. colon large bowel mucosa submucosa crypts histology Courtesy Barbara Banner MD 5star|
Division after Division Multiplication to a Unit – The Blastocyst
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Multiplying – Shaping Up – Combining Forces – Organization – Empowerment
As each of the biological units builds, whether it is the cell, tissue, organ system, body, person or community, the larger units are more empowered by the smaller but the uniqueness and value of the smaller is an essential component of the larger. Each part , no matter how empowered is an essential part of the final makeup, and without the individual parts the whole is not whole. The eventual unit not only requires that the component parts be present, but that they are organized and approriately positioned to enable the unit to work, and work efficiently. As a literary parallel, the word is more empowered than its individual letters, and the sentence more than the word, but without the well placed and organized words and sentences the story is no story. In music, the bar is more empowered than the note, while the song is more empowered than the bar, and again without the notes the music organized and linked in a specific way, there is no music. The genius of Shakespeare, Mozart and daVinci has been the result of how they combined the units of their art to produce a product that spoke genius and truth to us. In the body, organization, positioning, and linking of the structural and functional biological units is critical. Thus it can be said that as similar building blocks combine, they build a product that is more powerful than the individual parts, but the power of the whole is only as good as the quality and organization of its individual parts.
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Modern day examples of how organization has empowered our society abound. Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line which was an organizational system that was necessary to produce enough affordable cars for the masses, so that we all could get about and extend ourselves along greater distances in shorter time This method did not only have far reaching effects in the motor car industry but also in factory production as a whole.
Linking and connecting is another method of organizing individual parts and creating empowerment. In our society we have seen this aspect in the creation of water and sewerage systems, phone lines electrical lines and cable lines. The evolution of radio, TV, and now the internet is a long way away from the Paul Revere horse ride and the “British are coming”. In biology, organizing and linking are old hat. Positioning and linking of the biological units with marvelous waterways, sewerage lines, electrical lines, garbage collection networks and production factory lines are all there. The cells of the tip of the biggest toe on your foot, is linked to the most cranial cells on your cranium. Thereare many lessons to learn from a system that has evolved into an efficient system over thousands of years. Let us take a look at the liver.
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Note how in the image above the concept of a central governing body called the nucleus of the cell is surrounded and embedded by the surrounding cytoplasm in which there are submicroscopic structures called organelles embedded within the cytoplasm. The organelles do not orbit like the shells of the atom or the planets of the solar system (or so we think) but they do circulate freely within the cytoplasm. The cells are tightly linked sharing borders and as you will see transport networks, blood streams and resources. Organization and linking abound.
As the cells grow and accumulate they align into an assembly line in the shape of cords. Henry Ford would be proud.
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The cords of liver cells align themselves like spokes of a wheel around the central vein and surround themselves with portal triads that are positioned at their periphery. The portal triads provide arterial blood, portal venous blood (rich in raw nutrition) and bile ductules that transport bile away from the liver. This biologic unit is called the liver lobule.
The sinusoids and hepatic cords combine to form a liver lobule which is a functional and structural unit of the liver. At the center of the lobule is the central vein from which emanate many cords of liver tissue. At the periphery of the lobule there are 4-5 groups of portal triads consisting of distal branches of the portal vein (dark blue), hepatic artery (red) and biliary radicle (green). They create the border of the lobule.
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The liver lobules link organize and combine to form segments of the liver each formed around the 3 major veins of the liver.
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The organs all have parts each named differently but the pattern in general is similar and not organized in the same way as the liver. The parts of each of the organs will be discussed separately in their individual modules, but the basic structural concept of small combining with small to form larger and more empowered subunits is universal.
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Other Examples of Units to Unity
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