Ashley Davidoff MD
The family is the first essential cell of human society.
Pope John XXIII
Our legislators and those that write the laws of our societies have their way with words. They often do not have the scientific understanding of how the very essence of life works. The biologist on the other hand shies away from the intricacies of legal jargon fascinated by the science. Since the fabric of society is made up of people (of all sorts) and the cell (of all sorts) is the fabric of people, it seems that there is room for cross discipline learning in order to create a better society. This module is written by a biologist, with a focus on how biology of the cell may be inferred in the workings of our society.
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The city is a home to the people that live and work in the given space at a given time. The infrastructure of the city that lasts beyond the lifetime of any given individual is filled with conduits that enable the delivery of vital products such as water, electricity, and heat and services to remove waste – by products of life. Roads, rails and waterways are maintained to ensure efficient transport systems. The policing system provides protection. hospital system health maintenance and schooling system education. City hall is a central controlling body and a think tank where the welfare of the city is discussed and plans executed to ensure that the city is healthy and that it grows. Within the city people and groups of people live and work each particpating in the functions of society – maintenance and repair, production, storage, protection, transport, support, communication, growth, government.
Maintenence is the day to day function that allows the society to stay alive, bringing vital products into the city and removing waste. Vital products that need to be available include water, and food. The delivery of electricity, heat, and the removal of waste are essential functions as well.
called factories where things useful for the society are made. The factories receive the raw product, and via special expertise, the rawproducts are transformed into new products that have value to the society.
Let us take a shoe factory for example whose specialised function is to make shoes. The factory is housed in a protective environment with an outer brick shell that has windows to allow fresh air to enter, but has alarms and burglar proofing to prevent goods from being stolen. There are certain entrances and exits, one main door to allow peopel to come and go into the main buildingg , one door to receive incoming raw products and one door that enables the loading of the finished product onto transport mechanismst . The factory imports leather, the soles, the rubber for the heels, laces and nails. There is a production line where in the first room the leather is cut and pieces sewn together. Next in the line of production the leather is sewn to the soles and once accomplished the shoes move on to the next room where the heels are attached. Finally the holes for the shoe laces are punched and the shoes are labelled and packed in a box. The running of the engines requires an exhaust syetem to get rid of by products and leather and rubber waste is removed from the factory and eventually transported to waste sites in the city. The management has to have their finger on the pulse in order to understand the need of the market for the shoe, have to purchase control The factory has to be in contact with the rest of the system by telephone and internet and
A sales person finds out where the demand for the shoes exist and then once the sale is executed the shoes are transported to a downtown store. That store has a location where the shoes are dropped off and then they are taken to the specific department where they are displayed for sale. The user shops in the store, buys a pair of shoes, transports them into the home via the road and finally uses the shoes. Supply and demand and the transport of goods is the universal themehey are distributed via a host of transport systems including roads, rail, air and sea to places where th products are needed. Each factory tries to meet the demands of the user by making enough goods to sell to the community. If the goods are not sold, production lines slow and or if the product is in demand, production is stepped up. Sometimes while the goods are being transported on the 16 wheeler, an accident happens on the road and the traffic becomes congested slowing delivery.
The cell is the functional and structural unit of all living organisms, and may be called the building block of life. The Latin word cellula means a small room and was coined by Robert Hooke who first observed the cell when he studied the microstructure of the cork under the microscope and published his work in 1665.
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If we take a small room and we dissect it further we find that the walls for example are made of smaller units called bricks. The bricks we find are of similar size and shape and makeup, and organized in a certain fashion that enables structural and functional integrity of the walls. The walls in turn are put together in a certain way and a roof is added so that a new structure – a room is created.
When we add a second, third, and fourth room, functionality of the structure becomes diverse so that one room acts as a bedroom, one a bathroom and one a living room for example and a new structure called a house or a home is built. When a second and third and fourth house is added, a suburb,village and then a city evolves. The city however is no city if there are no people in the houses.
The building of complexity of life also occurs when biological cells of similar size, shape, and makeup organize in a certain fashion. The accumulation of the biological units of life allows the group of cells greater structural and functional integrity, and they become a tissue and then an organ, a system and then a body and finally a person.
The laws that govern the structure and function of the brick must also be applicable to some of the the laws that govern the structure and function of the house. If a wall breaks down because the weight of the roof was excessive, the defect will be found in the brick or mortar. Knowledge of the laws that govern the brick and mortar are therefore essential before building the house.
Similarly knowledge of the the cell and of biology in general is essential when trying to understand the structure and function of society, since by its nature society arises from biology.
“Cell to Society” is an exploration of biology with the intent of defining the principles that govern biology and drawing the inferences and implications of how this applies to society.
Robert Hooke. “Micrographia: or, Some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses”. London: J. Martyn and J. Allestry, 1665. (first edition).