Sunlight,

intense and powerful,

streaming through space,

energizing life on our earth,

touching stones, water, green leaves,

heating, lifting, swirling, photosynthesizing

– always changing from intense to less intense to less intense

from light to food, to motion, to heat,

always energizing.

All life on earth is an expression of energy flow.

The energy that sustains all living systems (including human) is solar energy, fixed in photosynthesis and held briefly in the biosphere before it is re radiated into space as heat. Energy flows from intense to less intense.

Each time energy changes form, light to food, food to motion, useable energy is decreased by heat loss – about 90% of the energy being transformed is dissipated into the surrounding environment as unusable heat.

All systems, animate and inanimate, from grains of sand to microorganisms, and from watersheds to ecosystems, work within these natural patterns of thermodynamics.

Observations of “thermodynamically efficient processes” in natural systems reveal some fundamental patterns of behavior, action, reaction, and interaction:
• Natural “systems” are self-regulating patterns of beings and forces, which take care of themselves and   each other. [Self-regulating mechanisms are mechanisms which bring about a return to constancy if a system is caused to change from the stable state by a momentary outside influence.]
• Direct interactions (cell-to-cell, root-to-root, face-to-face exchanges within and across species) are those which enable the self-regulation of life to happen.
• Stability in the community is enhanced by the mutually supportive interactions of a diversity of beings.
• Matter and energy are moved around as little as possible–to minimize entropy (waste and disorder).
• Information is moved around as much as possible–to maximize synergy (efficiency and cooperation), to minimize entropy (waste and discord).
• Open and honest information flows – unobstructed feedback loops – are the processes that allow individuals and groups to self-regulate and self-correct.
• Open-flow feedback loops are necessary for maximizing potential benefits to the ecological community, and in achieving economic efficiency in the use of available solar energy and mineral resources.

No organism, no mind, can know everything or see the whole picture. Free flow of information provides opportunities for many minds to focus on an issue and share their differing views, and thus develop larger mental descriptions and concepts. The greater the diversity of viewpoints and the more honest the information flow, the more complete the picture. Full-on competition of ideas and processes, continual feedback, expansion of mental processes, reduction of corruption, all enable continuous adjustment toward high efficiency / low entropy outcomes.

Organisms in the natural world run themselves in the most energy-efficient way possible, with full “participatory flat power processes” and free flow of (honest) information. There are few (if any) remote-control, rule-from-afar, top-down hierarchical structures – they are simply not efficient.