The ecosystem is constantly reborn and rebuilt, by virtue of the fact that it is autophagous, biophagous, necrophagous, coprophagous and, in sum, euryphagous. Death is stronger than life in irreversibility, while life is stronger than death in recursivity. Nature’s seemingly antifragile properties stem from its eco-organization, which occurs via integration of physical order but also, and even more importantly, via the creation of an adjunct to said order: ecological order. This is, in essence, what allows nature to behave, tolerate, use and strive on immeasurable quantities, varieties and intensities of disorder.
Consequently, we are led to discover that the most remarkable eco-organizing quality isn’t necessarily the ability to infinitely maintain a static equilibrium through the cycle of births and deaths, but the capacity for producing and inventing new forms of reorganizations stemming from irreversible transformations that occur in any given biotope or biocenosis. This is how the ultimate virtues of eco-organization can be made to appear more clearly to us: the misconceived concept of stability vs. the ability to construct new stabilities; the misunderstood state of equilibrium vs. the capacity for self-reorganization under the influence of new forms of disorganization. In other words, eco-organization can evolve from the perturbing irruption of novelty, and this evolutive capacity is what allows life not only to survive but, rather, to develop or, more precisely, to develop in order to survive.
The dominant (and our ‘atomic’) view of evolution constantly fails to recognize this. Evolutive processes, it must be understood, do not select strictly according to species more likely to survive under a given set of conditions but it is, rather, the process by which regulation and reorganization of ecosystems is favored. Thus, we are not dealing strictly in terms of “individuals” or “species” here, but feedback loops and retroaction mechanisms that self-stabilize at the expense of other possibilities, these mechanisms then acquiring a given set of “selecting characteristics” with respect to individuals and species. What is “selected”, in effect, are the mechanisms that can fortify a chain, a cycle, a circuit, a loop or, in other words, what is inherently “reorganizing” by nature.
What ecosystems have tried, or “learned”, acquired via an incalculable number of disorganizing events, are methods and means for further organization; what they have tried, or “learned”, acquired by integrating ever more diverse species, is a reorganizing complexity that is continuously refined; what they have tried, or “learned”, again acquired through a myriad of ecological revolutions, is how to reorganize the rules of reorganization.
Yet, this increasing eco-organization complexity, which has favoured the appearance and the development of for ever more complex species, has also not occurred at the expense of less complex species or of a reduction in ecosystemic diversity. Far from it.
In fact, what are commonly referred to as “superior” forms of lives, rather than eliminating “inferior” forms of lives, have fed these forms of lives (soil microorganisms), suffered their wrath (viruses), collaborated with them (symbiotic relationships) and, in essence, have had to rely on them just as much as they, in turn, have had to. Thus—and this is my main point of contention here—complexity and, with it, complex life forms, should not presuppose the rejection of the less complex; on the contrary, true diversity and, by extension, antifragility, demands the full integration of the less complex. Ecosystemic complexity loses much of its robustness as diversity falters and dwindles.
The role humanity has played and will be called upon to play should thus, evidently, remain a constant preoccupation for the many. The type of relation we establish with the biosphere or noosphere that will arise from how we fulfil this role, will dictate much of what we can come to expect…