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Having, in the foregoing documents, considered the ontological status of the inorganic world, we now return, full circle, back again to the organismic world with which the present (Sixth) Part of Website is indeed dealing. And so, after having established the holistic nature of especially inorganic molecules, we now turn to the organismic molecules, the living organisms. Indeed, it is the Unimol conception of the organism which will bring us closer to a possible full understanding of what precisely the living condition is.
In order to appreciate the concept of Unimol, -- the theory that every individual organism is one single molecule embedded and enveloped in some aqueous serum-like medium mediating the contact with the true environment that sustains the organism, -- we should realize that the intrinsic unity, so evident in every individual organism, can only be the result of the organism in its strictest sense being a single molecule. And indeed, in the two previous documents we saw that molecules are true intrinsic unities, true Substances in the metaphysical sense. It seems that above the level of the atom, all inorganic Substances (in the metaphysical sense) have formed by chemical bonding (instead of mere mixing) : molecules and crystals. And crystals are in fact also molecules, molecules with no constant molecular weight, because they can grow almost indefinitely, without changing qualitatively. And while now knowing (convinced by HOENEN's exposition) that chemical molecules are true Substances, true intrinsic unities, and knowing that organisms are true Substances, true unities, too (evident from their high degree of self-being and from their holistic constitution, especially evident in their morphogenesis), we might wonder whether organisms are Substances precisely because they are molecules. In fact an organism must be a single molecule, because if it were many, i.e. if it consisted of many molecules, then the organism would not be a Substance but an aggregate of Substances (molecules). But of course there exist many individual molecules in an organismic body. But we may see these individual molecules to be constituents of an overall supporting-solution bathing the living molecule. It is the aqueous serum-like liquid mediating the living molecule's contact with its true environment (terrestrial, limnic, or marine). This serum-like medium belongs to the living molecule's strategy to materially exist in the Explicate Order. In fact serum + molecule IS the (morphological basis of) the strategy of the organism, IS, the organism in a broader sense, while in a strict sense the organism is the living molecule, and it is the latter that bestows complete and intrinsic unity to the organism (by being it), resulting in it to be a true Substance. And so we have the theory of the unimolecular state of every organism, which theory, or concept if one prefers, is called (by Oskar Müller, 1959) : Unimol.
In Part XVe of the present Series we, when discussing chemical molecules, already announced the Unimol view of organisms, and introduced and illustrated it by translating and/or paraphrasing (from German) certain passages from the book (of Oskar Müller), the book, first having discussed this view extensively. And because, in the present document we intend to fully thematize Unimol, we shall start with reproducing this announcement and the mentioned translations of passages. It will form a proper introduction into this subject :
We will see that atoms are the true building blocks of matter (the so-called elementary particles are not truly matter, but merely fragments of matter), and they also are true Substances in the metaphysical sense. Chemical bonding of atoms results in molecules and crystals. And they too turn out to be Substances in the metaphysical sense. One of the main physical reasons to view them as Substances, wholes, totalities, is the fact that the bonding of their constituents involves quantum-conditions rendering the atom and the chemical compounds to be non-mechanical structures, which certainly means : holistic structures, intrinsic wholes, and thus true Substances. And now we know that organisms represent the supreme example of Substance (still in the metaphysical sense), and we might wonder whether their constituents are also held together by something that implies quantum-conditions, i.e. by chemical bonds (especially covalent bonds). And because we know that the essence of an organism is to be a single chemical "machinery", we might speculate that an organism is in fact one single, giant, molecule (instead of a system of molecules), albeit a molecule with changing chemical bonds, a molecule not having a fixed molecular weight, and not following precisely the stoichiometric laws as they were established for smaller molecules, and moreover, a molecule embedded in and soaked through by an aqueous serum-like medium representing the molecule's nearest existential condition, a medium of about the same volume as that of the molecule itself. Such a living molecule is actively maintaining its existence and interacts with the aqueous serum-like medium and through it with the outer environment. And now indeed we have a being, the organism, that certainly is a true Substance, because it (too) is a molecule. And indeed, all "wholeness-phenomena" that we encounter in all organisms become much more clearer when the organism is viewed as a single molecule instead of as a "system-only". Further, this view of the unimolecular state of organisms is very well compatible with the view that the Explicate Order is the "display window" of the "World Cellular Automaton" with its rules residing in the Implicate Order (these rules regulating the "projection-event"), because it supports the view that the material world exclusively consists of quality patches and patterns, and indeed, unimolecular organisms have their constituents, atoms and larger groupings, in a virtual state. Conserved properties of these constituents have become qualities, not of these constituents, but of the organism, the molecule, itself. So an organism is, like any other molecule, an intrinsic patchwork of qualities making up a true individual whole (separated from other such wholes by pure (not pentrated) ether, the medium of localization).
Life begins there where in the stock of entities, the existence of molecular compounds is not anymore just existing [as do all non-living molecules], but has to be guaranteed by active self-acts [i.e. when descriptions of Substances become strategies-to-exist]. It is founded in the chemical-architectonic structure of a class of substances whose individual one-whole representatives are precisely the living organisms. In the organismic matter-aggregation of these organisms the "desire to exist" has obtained material limbs and tools to manifest and realize this desire. The living organismic forms of life are the existential conditions of the self-synthetic chemistry of life and its proper order and regularity.
The representatives of organismic life, and with them also humans, we view as special cases of individualization as molecular units. The organismic species and also humanity is a "chemical substance", unlike the other, but comparable to the latter at least by many features. Unimol creates -- rightly understood and seriously thought through -- a supreme feeling of existence.
(See for the nature of the chemical bond, resulting in molecules " The Chemical Bond", in First Part of Website )
Molecules are, against the "normal" environmental contact-influences temporally stable, permanent-neighborhoods of certain determined atoms, and represent an individualized strictly delimited qualitative substance. Disturbance from inside (disintegration) is, as a rule, not possible, but only, initially, from without without, but also here "rarely", as a result of the unprobable conditional coincidence of the factors of disturbance. The molecular internal connection -- temporally guaranteed by a lack of separation-energy, anc accidentally made possible by by the fine-structural properties of teh partner-constituents -- is expressed by the so-called chemical bond.
Chemical bonding is present when the electronic charge-densities between two adjacent atomic nuclei, that is, along the "line" between the nuclei, has substantially increased (so-called overlap in bond direction). Visibly imagined one may see things such that an intra-atomic space-element, lying in the vicinity of the just mentioned connecting line, finds itself "now" in a field-value state as if it were now much closer to the nucleus (which formally is indeed correct).
The molecular state is in its purest and prevailing form present in a gas (freedom, able to be isolated, best matching with theoretical constants, molecular weight, etc.). This concept of a molecule is by Unimol -- apart from a certain necessary modification -- in no way rendered loosened. This loosening would be much more approriate to attribute to saltlike, [electrically] polar, and to typical "complex compounds", which in spite of recent restricting new knowledge are still taken as (at least formally so) genuine molecules.
Molecules are the smallest not further divisible qualitative units of all defined substances ["not further divisible" in the sense of not divisible under constancy of qualitative properties]. They already have some sort of shape -- generally not spherical anymore -- and, as genuine matter, occupying a space-volume impenetrable to their own kind and to other molecules. In a few cases (inert gases, and, more or less approximating, also metals) the molecules are at the same time single atoms, but normally they consist of atoms directly bonded to one another, atoms of the same or of different chemical elements, and [the molecules] derive their properties indirectly from these elements' [atoms'] nature and number, and show, in certain physical constants, even a direct summation of the relevant constituent-properties [properties of the constituents].
Not considering the fact that also many chemical elements do occur in a molecular state, being, however, still an elementary condition, one may say that the transition from free elements into compounds with one another, i.e. into molecules, is connected with so abrupt a change in properties, that one cannot "see" -- also when possessing the most precise knowledge of all the elements involved -- the composition of any compound and that only the experienced chemist may, in a few cases, have useful conjectures, and that an analyzing craft, having taken centuries to develop, is needed to identify the nature and proportion of the constituents. Today , for almost all "small" molecules (small number of constituents) this is possible with unimaginable absolute precision. For the so-called macromolecules it is possible with a practically sufficient precision, and for the organismic giant-molecules only in the sense of preliminary orientation [Today, 21st century, the analytical methods have vastly improved, as is evident in today's sequencing of nucleotides in DNA and aminoacids in proteins, and further in identifying enzymes.].
Because at high temperatures, and therefore in all hot stars, there are no molecules, and about half the mass of the Universe is free of them, only consisting of atoms of elements as potential constituents of molecules, - the formation of molecules is a very conspicuous event, taking place preferably there where we ourselves are and to which [formation] we ourselves also belong.
It is most simple, but at the same time also least precise, to postulate a tendency of formation of molecules, i.e. attributing to the elements a striving for positioning themselves next to one another and forming stable aggregations. Because this event proceeds absolutely specificly and systematicly and also spontaneously when causal conditions are present, and because often -- in the overall framework of conditions even always -- energy is released in the process, and thus a certain determined (having the nature of a fall) end-product is involved, the "striving for" is conceptually justified. Indeed, the opposite cannot be proved, but one can, purely empirically, proceed without this conception.
[While atoms are mono-nuclear entities (entities with only one single nucleus) with an electronic shell, molecules can be viewed as poly-nuclear "atoms" (atoms with more than one nucleus) with a common electronic shell.]
In molecules resulting from true chemical bonding, i.e. molecules as polynuclear combinates, the nuclei of the individual elements [atoms] are embedded in a common electron plasma. The submersion -- as to properties -- of the atomic individuals in combinational or superpositional structures of the resulting molecule favors such a picture. One may also speak of poly-nuclear systems, as one may generally view all individuals as bonding-systems as opposed to mixing-systems [mixtures] in which the partners are chemically free.
The organismic giant-molecules [i.e. organisms] are, as existing entities, individually variable, but only so in insignificant features such as precise molecular weight. The individual variability surely goes so far that two organismic molecules of the same species are never qualitatively/quantitatively equal. In inorganic small-molecules this equality is only realized with respect to criteria known and usual to us. And we don't know whether, according to other unfamiliar criteria, also here there is such a variability. At least already a weak (functionally entirely insignificant) variation, among all molecules (and atoms) results from the overall energetic system of energy distribution in all degrees of freedom and from the electronic states at a given moment, so that in normal conditions of temperature (and thus, for instance, not at absolute zero) there is practically already no simultaneous equality of two individuals, and, more so, the same molecule isn't similar to itself at different times. But relative to us, and to our qualitative criteria, they are functionally "precisely" equal.
Our here presented description [from which, in the present document, we [JB] have selected only a few passages] was only meant to avoid a distorting too great a simplification of a definitely not simple phenomenon [the molecule], and [was meant] to provide a sustaining thought in order for one to intellectually enter areas far off from everyday analogy. This picture also assists to easier to recognize the molecular, high-molecular, and organismic-giant-molecular or systemic-molecular construction as a systematic follow-up-development of true stellar element-formation. From atom to human -- as organismic molecule -- we then have a certain unity and comparability of historical and physical constructionality.
If we want, to conclude matters, to say something about the "sense", evident from the effect, of the molecule, then we depart from the observation in colloid-chemical systems or in the simple molecular collision, meaning that we, in the molecular mixture, have, with the highest possible degree of mutual approaching, to do with a highest degree of constituent interaction [between molecules]. So the spatial approaching of action-centers is very important for "effecting".
Now the chemical bonding in the molecule creates a spatial nearness among the constituents otherwise impossible (they are, so to say, "opened up" and in this open exposed form combined with one another). It is therefore a gatherings principle and at the same time guaranteeing the "with one another" [of atoms].
The homopolar (covalent) chemical bond [being the most common bonds in especially organic compounds] resulting in the unequivocal true molecular forms, creates an especially intimate connection between the individual partners, similar to the intra-atomic structure, blends into a "boundless" unity. Here it is more than a spatial coexistence, and it is even more than a supra- and intra-entanglement of effects, because parts come together into units and only then unfold effects. The chief moment in addition to the "opening up" is the backward fixation. Overcoming the repulsion in the electronic shell, a common shell is created and this common electronic mantle acts like a kind of "protecting-coat", under which also the -- not electronic-emissional, but the organismically itself working out "hidden", in fact, however, not so hidden -- special potencies can be actualized and developed.
The one-molecular view of organisms (Unimol).
[Unimol is the view that every individual organism is a single giant molecule embedded in some aqueous serum-like medium. And although thus an organism can be compared with known non-living molecules, they are not simply such molecules, not simply such, because of their different internal structure and of their special existential conditions. Unimol, however assumes a -- although intermittently varying -- chemical continuity throughout the organism-proper.]
An experimentally verifiable support for Unimol is certainly the extraordinarily high speed of stimulus-conduction of motorial and sensory chief nerves in higher mammals and humans, which speed is of an altogether different order than electrolyte shift in an aqueous medium. Different conduction speeds already all by themselves speak for differently constructed "wires" and not for electrolyte media [an electrolyte is an electrically charged atom or atomic group, such as H+, OH-, NH4+, etc.]. The capacity for conduction of stimuli with its high frequency and the quick restitution points to real continuously-going organic wires, and the stimulus conduction can be viewed as an uninterrupted molecular-mesomerous reversible serial repositioning. If we thus conclude -- conclude from the phenomena of stimulus conduction and further from the experiences of neural damage in neuro-surgery -- electrolytically, nerves can more quickly be fused than by bondingly growing them together -- that the nerve fibres possess genuine chemical bonds, then only already by the fact that all parts of the living organism are penetrated by fine and finest interconnected nerve fibres, the organismic body is made up of a continuous structure, is made up of a complex but single unimolecular "interlacement" of living substance soaked through by a serum-like medium.
The unimolecular organismic connection is thus symbolized, by reason of especially clarifying relationships, by the nervous interlacement, but we must be convinced that also between nerve-substance and cytoplasm do exist further true bondings.
The fact that the bonding relationship is not present in the partly rather extensive serum-like medium with its many individual substances, and the fact of the trillions of classical small- and macro-molecules, do [both] not oppose the fundamental unimolecular view, is presupposed to be self-evident.
When we now speak, concerning the first living beings as well as all [fossil and] recent organisms, of "molecules", then it is necessary to change the usual physical concept of "molecule" accordingly. First and foremost so as to constant molecular weight and most of the properties made use of in the classical methods of determining molecular weights (also those for macromolecules). This is not significant, not decisive, for the mentioned methods have been worked out with the stoichiometric non-living small-molecules [of classical chemistry] and were sufficient for the determination of their molecular weights. On the other hand, one should maintain the important bonding-criterium for recognizing the molecular boundary : The molecular boundary is always there where the continuous chain of main valence bondings stops. From many data we derive the existence of continuous chemical bonding, but a bonding that may at times, and at a number of interruption sites, [temporarily] open up [all this, during the processes of self-maintenance of the living molecule], so that at least as a result of the overall nervous relationship, and [as a result of] the omnipresent true bondings-transitions, the entire organism is "soaked through" by one single giant molecule. Living molecules are then such that among them there is only some similarity as to basic structure, not equality, or expressed better : Among individuals of the same species there is not a precise stoichiometric, but only a functional equality and correspondence. And precisely in this respect, i.e. functionally, they are well defined molecules even in the strict sense of the word [if every chemical bond, also in non-living molecules, is taken to be functionally.].
So the one-molecular view of organisms, Unimol, maintains that within that what is taken to be living substance, i.e. between all points of the organism, there exists a real or at least potential uninterrupted valence-bonding sequence, that we think, schematically idialized, to be realized by the nervous apparatus, which indeed connects all points of the body with one another. As a result, there exists -- together with all, surely numerically preponderant, independent molecular forms [free molecules] of the organismic system containing water, salts, enzymes, etc. -- between every two arbitrary points from head to feet an uninterrupted chain of bonds, so that the molecular boundaries coincide with the body boundaries, and so the whole body representing one single molecule.
The relations of order between organic parts and events ultimately have a physical chemical equivalent in the form of true chemical bonding relationship among the partners, which [partners] thus, because themselves consisting of molecular connections, together make up one single supermolecule in effect coinciding with the organism. So organismic consideration is, -- if it gets rid of the superfluous metaphysical [here indicating "vital forces" and the like], and through its concept not only wants to formulate a fact, but also wants to give it a foundation, -- an Unimol view of life. Unimol doesn't deny, nor overlooks the formally chemical steering as belonging to a broader mechanism, for which there is nothing equivalent, and which [broader mechanism] also cannot be realized by the bonding-relationship alone.
The organismic order may give up the otherwise necessary ranking order such as the stages [levels] of constituents (macromolecules, micelles, cells, tissues, organs, [antimers, metamers] ), because it immediately results from the unimolecular framework, and, what is especially important : remains in it. Or, said differently : the real organismic rank order of constituents is no other than that of table-salt, urea, or sugar molecules.
The (pure) system-view [as opposed to the unimolecular view] is a not particularly emphasized, but clearly implied "knocking together" from a classically colloid-chemical system of which there are rightly remarkable and powerful ones, and the additive system of empirical data, which both have conceptually been fused into a unity. So the system-view is an all-out pure form of mechanicism, supplemented with an "essence", consisting of assumptions, speculations, convenient faith, and in the end of a not admitted vitalism, and thus representing a unique example of methodical imprecision. Unimol realizes this essence simply and rationally.
[If we consider the organism as a "dynamical system with initial conditions and dynamical law of system-transitions" -- and thus adhere to a form of system-view -- as we have tried in First Part of Website, -- the organism is then a system-state following from initial conditions and dynamical law. And so it can in principle reductionistically be described. It is "mechanical" in the sense of mechanicism. In this view the unity of the organism is rooted in the one dynamical law. So the constituents of the organism are indirectly connected with one another, they are connected through the one dynanical law, they have descended from one set of initial conditions, of initial elements, meaning that they are not d i r e c t l y connected with each other. In this case no vitalistic element is added. The dynamical law + initial conditions embodies an organic strategy-to-exist. So there is nothing wrong with such a form of system-view of an organism. But it has some shortcoming : the components of the organism exist [in this view] actually, rendering the organism not to be a true unity in the stongest sense, not to be a genuine Substance in the metaphysical sense, but only it to be a physically [not chemically] defined Substance. But if we insist that an organism is a true Substance in the metaphysical sense [and this is legitimate, because such an organism has a true SELF ], then we must at the same time insist on the strict unity of it, meaning that its (corpuscular) components are only virtually existing in the organism, meaning simply that the conserved properties of these components have now become qualities of the organism. And such a holistic constitution of an organism is best expressed by it being a single living molecule.]
If one considers life, respectively its unit form, the cell, as summative living system, then at once all those problems, since long ago plaguing research in giving only moderate results, crop up, problems we cannot rationally get rid of, and whose description renders experienced life to be the most obscure phenomenon.
In all this, one might ask what role in the Unimol conception is played by the DNA-RNA-Protein System, so fundamental and important in the process of Life. Does this system belong to the single living molecule? Is this system "alife", or is it an auxiliary system to make Life possible at all? In order to be able to discuss this, it is necessary to consider "life" as being equivalent to [any degree of] "self-consciousness", to the "feeling of existence", to the "care of remaining in existence", and thus to embody an "active strategy-to-exist-and-persist". All this in contrast to inorganic beings. The potency to produce Life is supposed to be already present in the organogeneous chemical elements C, O, N, H. Further, we must realize that the truly "living substance", i.e. truly living matter, is largely protein-similar, "protoplasma". And, of course we now know that DNA codes, via RNA, for (fermentative and constitutive) proteins, and synthetizes them from elementary compounds (amino-acids) present in solution, and that the central structure -- the backbone -- of proteins is a chain of amino-acids chemically bonded to one another by the "peptide-bond" and making up a peptide chain.
[The following is, one should note, not entirely a description of how it is with DNA ==> RNA => protein in the organisms living today, but a description having resulted from the most far-reaching reduction of things all the way down to the situation how it was at the very origin of Life (afterall, nucleic acids are truly historical molecules!). At that time the resulting living molecules (proteins or protein-like) were still relatively small. After this reduction, the basic process leading to the first living molecules is then described as the detachment of the protein molecule from its nucleic acid matrix, resulting in it to become alive. This freed protein is then the first type of living molecule. Today, the living molecule is much larger and much more complex, but the detachment of proteins from the nucleic acid matrix (now RNA) is still repeated a myriad of times in every organism, but now resulting in single relatively small molecules (structural proteins and enzymes) which are non-living. Only when they, or their products, are chemically bonded to the living giant molecule they enter the domain of the living.]
[... then many difficulties can be avoided if one attributes to the nucleic acids [DNA, RNA] a life-substance-producing function, and a subsequent-delivery function, and if one lets the "nucleic acid free" true life-substance, existing in every germ [organism], constantly be connected with that subsequent delivery. [In the sequel we use "NA" as a shorthand for "nucleic acid" or "nucleic acids", and only when we want to discriminate in them we use "DNA" and "RNA". The DNA sends copies, in the form of mobile RNA-strands, of certain sections of it to the site where proteins are being produced, meaning that now the particular RNA-strand codes for the protein to be produced. This first of all results in the synthesis (aminoacid by aminoacid) of the protein right on the back of the RNA-strand (in the sequel more generally referred to as "NA"). Subsequently, the synthesized protein is released from its RNA matrix.]As to the relationship between gene (DNA) and organism, i.e. between genotype and phenotype, Oskar Müller (1959) further remarks :
A certain, us deeming an important refinement of the earlier presented picture, may be realized by the follwing consideration : The individual aminoacid, that in chemical-bonding fashion lies against the NA is, from this moment on and still before it concatenates with other aminoacids, a bounded aminoacid with a fine-structure very deviant from the free form, an aminoacid that, with respect to the particularly versatile internal-structural characters of NA, may be similar to a statu-nascendi form, and that also could be similar to the fine-structural form of the aminoacid residues within the protoplasmatic mega-molecule [the living substance]. One could also say that the conceptually isolated protoplasmatic continuity-structure of the "individual group" is already present in the nucleotidic connection. [...]
In at least the case of protoplasm of recent organisms, one may suppose that the subsequently dislodged units [produced proteins] become directly connected with the one living mega-molecule and therefore being protected against denaturational decay.
In the subsequent peptidic concatenation this [just described] similarity is enhanced, and the NA-molecule-"corresponding" complete peptide molecule possesses -- as primary product -- the overall chemical fully-equivalent ground-structure of living substance and, at the same time, the fine-configurative partly-equivalent structural principle of living substance. This peptide molecule does not yet live, because it cannot live at all. For it is still bonded [to the NA], and life = consciousness = feeling of existence, can only occur when it is embodied in a self-directed free molecular individual, having, in addition, an environment-threatened particular structure [i.e. a structure still threatened by its environment], a structure such that it only exists when it lives, and thus, feels its condition so to say with anxiety.
This condition may be the case at the moment in which the peptidic combinate is released from its NA-matrix, and now, as a result of the removal of the "harness" either is (and remains) free, or disintegrates (i.e. it either as such, i.e. as separated from NA, continues living, or perishes). For it is always a form that is unimpededly existent as long as the bonding with the NA-support-construction is preserved and which [form] all by itself cannot exist, when that support-construction is cancelled. All common substances normally will, insofar a deviant state of them were possible at all, soon fall back [into their regular state]. And only in the C O H N S systems,- always having abundant special potencies [i.e. systems built up with organogeneous chemical elements] (in which [systems], and not in the NA, all the essential resides) - does exist the, generally very rare, possibility of a prolonged existence under the phenomena of life and [existence] as life. The moment of release will then also be the primordial conscious experience accompanied by being affected by anxiety.
We do not want to suppose that the increase of living substance in today's organisms unfolds as a continuous sequence of micro-dramas. As individual act it may again throw light on the primordial-generation-of-life-experience [Urzeugungserlebnis]. The present mechanism of increasing the amount of living substance [by repeated transcription, translation] has still preserved the original essential features, but has now made it 1000-fold secured, automatized, embodied, and anxiety-free. If one applies to a presently living organism the above described process, then, after strongly reducing and simplifying things, we obtain the image of a long track of material at whose far end we find NA as a knitting machine.
The overall function of this NA might be described by the function of interference expressing itself in the anti-crystalline order of configuration of the substrate, and then by the fixation of the sequence which, with its anti-periodic nature, guarantees the further strenghtening of the anti-crystalline tendency. In addition we of course have the general function of material autoreproduction.
With all this we have concluded our picture of the essential significance of NA, as one might see it according to the present  stage of knowledge. It is not complete and will never be. But we may try to "physicalize" it a bit, insofar as in a pictorial image such a concept [physicalizing] is legitimate at all.
We already said that the NA-molecule in no way is a living molecule (also not formally or by extending the concept, or in any other way of circumventing or smuggling-in. NA is, for example, also not denaturalizable in the usual sense [whereas any living substance is denaturalizable] ). It only -- together with a series of further fermentative helpers and mediate forms, which all by themselves are just as little "alife" than are the NA -- makes possible for a molecule to be alife. This is a very remarkable event. On the in every respect lifeless NA (at least when we consider it to be protein-free) a sequence of rationally chemical processes takes place, concluding with the fact that their result, namely a synthetized protein, is released (by breaking up bonds) and maintaining a condition generally not being entitled to it. Because the aggregate-form "NA-Protein" was "dead", life originates thereby that from this dead aggregate-form a characteristic part is taken away - (namely the NA-gear, which, apparently, recovers itself unchanged from the aggregation and which also remains dead even when its reproduction again takes place with the support of living protein or at least of protein-ferments), - is taken away, that is, as a result of which the residue is [now] living. Therefore, the living appears as a special form of the dead, or better : the initially dead was a special form of the living which was totally dissimilar to the dead.
The pure-form of DNA [i.e. that sort of NA which permanently resides in the cell nucleus], which today is generally agreed upon to be the carrier of genetic properties and (through RNA) to be the chief actor in all protein formation, is not at all the ultimate biological unit.
One may clearly formulate two extremes : NA as central substance, or as sophisticated micro-mechanical auxiliary tool.
Certainly it is best to hold an "intermediate" position that lets mutually imply one another, as a result of a billion year old association.
In the case of the centrality of NA, the biological cell would offer the nucleoproteids (NP) [I [JB] assume all DNA and RNA and their free building blocks and all auxiliary proteins] a proper environment, and the protoplasm would then be a product of metabolism or excretion, which [protoplasm] precisely possesses so much independence in order, with the help of the subtances produced by the nucleoproteids, to be able to care for itself and for the NP, as supplier of building blocks.
Although this view could be formulated without contradictions, it would never get rid of a certain plaintivety of moving around in circles. Indeed, there is no principle of Nature that forces us not to adhere the view most fortunate to a philosophically "truthful" judgement, if no other important objections can be found.
[During the origin of Life] the nucleic acid (NA) was in a certain sense a "target" compound in the abiogeneous earthly overall synthesis, adjoined with several other compounds (porphyrine, carbohydrates, lipoids). All other remaining compounds are so to say insignificant to the origin of Life and had perished. Also no further complexification was needed anymore, for [together] with the primary origin of Life also its necessities and "wishes" had been generated, which, now with the directing mechanism of the selection of the fittest, on their own account took care of that what we today call complexity.
A very broad field, connected with and subsequent to the primary development, consists of the formation of metabolic types and the homologous and analogous distribution of function onto the already generated entities and onto the entities resulting from disintegration. All this concerns change as well as specialization and also summation.
This period may be of considerable length. At its beginning there were truly living heterotrophous nucleotidic combinates - (not of the nature of virusses, who "bungle" in a short-cut process, where once there already was fully-fledged life). At its end there are the uncountable pre-cellular specialists subsequently symbiotically combining with one another (i.e. chemically bonding with one another) and experiencing body regressions as today we see them in the form of genes [and cell-organelles] and partly as enzymes (in this case as decapitated torsos), etc. [Here is described the later theory of Margulis that cells are evolutionarily constructed by symbiosis of what we now call cell-organelles and the like.]. That is, the chemical bonding lets them degenerate into tool groups and internal organs, and the totality of them appears as a spatial ordering which -- still including the environment -- introduces the cellular condition.
Perhaps someone asks the question why precisely those sophisticated NA exist, giving rise to such powerful and differentiated organisms. Well, such questions are easy [according to O. Müller] to answer, ever since Darwin formulated the principles. The NA, being synthesized intra-organismically, stand and fall with the biological fitness of their organisms under natural selection. So precisely those variants of NA are preserved, whose mutational deviations gave their organisms corresponding advantages or at least no disadvantages.
It can be noted that now the macro-morphological kinship of all organismic life (including all more detailed serological, microanatomical, microhistological and physiological kinship) grades down into the fine-morphological chemical kinship of a single type of substance, the NA [i.e. grades down into the chemical kinship relations between different representatives of the nucleic-acid type.]. But, taken strictly, this is a confusion with which the adherents of the system-view of organisms have a hard time to deal, but which [confusion] can be overcome directly by Unimol. [Here it is about the problem of the precise causal connection -- causal chain -- between macroscopic properties of an organism and its genes, and thus its DNA, and especially whether there always must be such a connection. All we directly know of the function of DNA is the fact that it codes for proteins and produces them at the right times and in the right amounts. The path from here to the macroscopic features is obscure, especially when we take into account the fact that many macroscopic features are not determined by genes at all (as we saw earlier in the case of Bonellia and of the angler fish, where we encounter in the male and female, having virtually identical genomes, completely different organisms, as to size, morphology, behavior, etc.]
One may, for that matter, await the man -- [and this man indeed did arrive in 1976 : Richard Dawkins, with his book The Selfish Gene] -- who declares : In addition to all other known molecules, also once [upon a time, in primordial times] a NA-molecule had been formed which had replicated uninterruptedly and hardly changed, and its functional appendages, only to be used for its convenient and secure preservation [as a result of replication], known as organisms, as plants, animals and humans, now have to take the burden of unimaginable never ending amounts of distress, mysery, care, battle, robbery and murder, just in order to preserve this one NA-molecule as long as possible.
If one doesn't want to attribute to NA, or to a precursor similar to it, the function of creating life, then one can say that the molecular-chemical life forms would gear to it. It is the symbiotic apparative tool to realize a molecular combination, which, when released, wants to preserve itself, - a molecular combination that lives.
( End of Introduction and Overview )
In all what follows we shall translate and/or paraphrase sections (and their notes) from Oskar Müller's Ein-molekülares Leben, 1959/60. And because large parts of this difficult book (of about 800 pages) are hard, or even impossible to understand properly, or sometimes lack enough relevance to the topic of Unimol, we will not follow the precise order of sections as laid down in this book, but merely select relevant sections, preceeded and accompanied by comments of ours. All in all, we shall not discriminate between translation, paraphrase, introduction (by us), comment (by us). Notes of Müller himself, however, we shall indicate by his numeral. Our intention is just to set up a comprehensive exposition of Unimol. If the expression "substance" is written with a capital "S", then we mean "Substance in the metaphysical sense", otherwise we mean, first of all, "substance in the chemical sense".
Because the organism is an intrinsic whole, chemical analysis of it will destroy it. This analysis will give us parts, parts that are often already familiar to us. And although chemical analysis certainly will increase our knowledge of the organism, it passes by the living condition itself. Analogously we already see it when we describe a chemical non-living molecule in terms of free atoms (its "constituents", i.e. when describing its holistic heterogeneity in terms of free, i.e. isolated, atoms, while in fact the "atoms" of the molecule only virtually exist in that molecule. And precisely this virtuality connects these "atoms" holistically with each other, because they are now properties, not of these atoms anymore, but of the molecule.
Life, as we define it, is not a general fundamental phenomenon of matter-in-itself, but a, with it identical, consecutive phenomenon of a very determined combination of determined matter ( NOTE 162 ). And the question, whether there is a specially composed living substance [in the chemical sense] ( NOTE 163 ), one will answer by saying : There is a chemically structurally founded living matter-state, which in the form of organismic delimitation -- which even is an absolute individual -- can also be indicated as living substance, in the broadest sense comparable with any other substance.
In order to get to know the living substance (which is definitively not an amorphous isomer of a crystallizable substance) as special existence-form of matter as such ( NOTE 164 ), we have at our disposal the chemical analysis, favored by, as it appears to us, an unlimited supply of material. Of course one hasn't failed letting to precede the chemical elementary anlysis by a histological [concerning cells and tissues] analysis, and if one has surmised that the "cell" (not that of the unicellular organisms) is not yet the last unit of life, then one was right in this from the beginning. But one subsequently has sought in the wrong direction, for the smallest unit of life is the w h o l e organism, and one may, below the cell-body-level of the unicellular organisms, take to be as units of life only those forms of which one has the courage of taking them as complete organisms. Pierces one through the (large-unimolecular) organismic wholeness boundary, then it goes straightaway down to the atoms, which indeed are the next qualitative level ( NOTE 165 ).
From the results of chemical elementary analysis one has concluded that the living as well as the non-living world have the same foundation. But taken more precisely this only holds for very deep-seated qualitative stages of Being, not being accessible anymore by direct experiment. It does, however, not hold for the for us directly accessible atoms and molecules. If one, namely says that it is the same matter that builds up organisms and inorganisms ( NOTE 166 ), then this refers to certain (really few) physical data, but one already cannot say that it is the same c o n d i t i o n [state] and the same f o r m of the matter, for nothing speaks in favor to it. On the contrary, in consequent chemical thinking it would be evident to conclude to differences of state and form from the great differences of action [behavior], differences of state and form, evidently escaping gross observation, but which with smartly worked-out experiments, and perhaps also with logical thought-experiments, may be revealed.
For the time being, we must say that for a thoroughgoing knowledge in the domain of the living our applied analytical method stands in the way. We are used to divide up a given obscure system, and to take the qualitative change in transformation into "simple" sub- and part-processes and -objects precisely as a mark of the indeed succeeded analysis. In the classical inorganic domain this is allright, for the "test", namely the re-synthesis, always has resulted in agreement. Only for the living condition this does not hold.
Analysis of organismic as well as non-organismic substrates leads with the same degree of precision to the same end-result, because we do not possess a method to identify and establish specific imponderable transition-phenomena. The essential contra-conclusive accidental loss in the analysis of the living as a rule already takes place -- also, no matter how carefully and "specificly" one works -- already at the moment of starting -- in many cases even already in the planning stage -- the analysis, so that practically one only is working with a part-substrate, evidently revealing only parts. And because they are parts which one already knows, one always has the -- not c o m p l e t e l y false -- impression of an additional, evaporating a-physical principle of life.
In the analysis of the living ( NOTE 167 ) something is lost, which one doesn't know and doesn't apprehend, and which therefore is also lacking in an attempt of [re]synthesis and frustrating it. One, now, may remedy this in two ways : 1. To assume vitalistic factors, which evidently get lost in analysis, and which in thought may result in a succeeded [re]synthesis. Or, 2. To assume an extremely improbable special system, which, upon analysis, just as understandably gets lost, and simply for reasons of statistics can ever re-appear only with almost zero chance.
The first remedy is without scientific significance, implying that we must deal with the second. Because the probability consideration cannot create anything practically effective, one should neglect it, and completely focus on the concept of "special system", and postulate that it at least contains so much rationality that it is worth the trouble to begin an comprehensive investigation.
Now one has not dwelled so long in element-analytic results -- on which account also the insufficient view goes back as if the living could originate from the dead ( NOTE 168 ) -- but searched in the domain of chemical compounds, and thus molecules. Physiologically, one could distinguish two large groups : (1) A numerically dominating portion of really well known inorganics [free atoms, ions, and free non-living molecules of all sorts], having the nature of auxiliary substances, and (2) a "properly life-carrying" protein portion, onto which from now on attention was focussed, and of which today we know an awful lot indeed.
But the chemical and microscopical structural investigation of molecules, proceeding with classical methods, does not take us any further anymore in the biologically organismic ( NOTE 169 ), because the special and the essential lie outside these methods. Organisms are not constituted from chemical singular compounds, but are -- apart from the auxiliary, stock, and medium molecules -- themselves characteristic one-molecular compounds, which still are, it is true, chemically defined ( NOTE 170 ), but cannot be called truly-chemical anymore, but rather organismic or organismic-chemical.
Because we do not know the chemical fine-constitution of living matter, but only that of a proteine substance being in some way equivalent to it but completely non-living, we may closely relate the constitutional difference between living protoplasm and [dead] plasm-protein [extracted from a living cell] to the existence of Life. One may identify both, if one assumes that the particular structure bestows the living condition with the possibility to be and to persist ( NOTE 172 ). It may rather certainly be excluded that between these equivalent forms there are gross physical-chemical differences such as deviating chemical valences. Today, something like this would not have escaped us.
The high degree of sense-sensitivity of living matter is a reflection of their sensible structure with lowest energy thresholds ( NOTE 174 ). From the fact of sensitivity to "pressure", temperature, sound waves, photons, and chemical substances, that together were capable of bringing the living matter on the brink of collapse ( NOTE 175 ), one may conclude to certain general principles govening the fundamental structure of the original substance of life. These phenomena are not without analogies : We know of chemical disintegration under the influence of heat, under ultra-sound, under intense light, etc. We do not, it is true, know of a model substance to which all this holds already in the case of small dosage, and which, moreover, quickly can be restored. Even when we, in the case of sense organs, also believe in a historically having been realized increase of sensitivity and performance, then also the primordial [living] substance must have been pretty sensitive ( NOTE 176 ). The unicellular organisms of today do not give a reliable picture (and even less virusses do so) of the original state, because regressive decrease of performance, respectively strong relative shift, can have taken place [in the evolutionary history of these organisms]. From careful special analyses, from corresponding experimental investigations, and from comparisons, one may certainly obtain valuable conclusions as to the constitutional properties of the living substance ( NOTE 177 ).
There is certainly nobody who believes that -- as we can formulate it on paper or in thought -- out of especially long polypeptide chains [i.e. long chains of chemically bonded amino-acids] or [out of] gratings and mats of them, or out of a multiple change of individual amino-acids, causally precisely that originates what we call Life and mind ( NOTE 178 ). Just as different these phenomena [life, mind] are from traditional textbook chemistry, just as different also is the foundation. But they are not totally alien. And we have good reasons to assume that the live-specific is in its own way also something chemical and physical, coinciding, apart from a few particulars, with the classical physical-chemical, and which [life-specific's] special nature, although by definition failing in the non-living, is not the opposite of that classical physical-chemical, but at most having the nature of a natural complement ( NOTE 179 ).
From the purely physical laws, having become known to us from the inorganic world, one may, evidently, not know and not explain the biological in its totality. But from this, one should not jump to wrong conclusions. If one seeks finished laws within the organismic, then one finds, insofar as being present and active, only the physical laws. But beyond them one has found a series of rules and principles (natural selection, Dollo's law, and others), which, it is true, hardly say anything about the most essential, and thus also about the primordial regularity, but first of all serve to illustrate biological diversity [versatility].
A scientific picture of Life will -- in spite of the so-called biological proper and special regularity -- as to its fundamentals be a chemical and physical one ( NOTE 180 ). Organisms are -- if one deems it important to say -- physical chemical constructs whose complete functional mechanism cannot, however, be derived from what we know of classical chemistry and physics, but which [constructs] rather extend these disciplines by including precisely this functional mechanism, and in this way rendering these disciplines comprehensive and complete (by which it is not stated in what degree the specific organismic can be undestood).
The living condition only over-forms the mechanical and chemical condition, if one does not mean by "mechanical and chemical condition" precisely that mechanical and chemical condition lying at its [i.e. Life's] foundation, but rather that condition as it lies at the foundation of the inorganic. Again : the living condition does not rise above its own mechanical and chemical condition, but it rises above the mechanical and chemical condition as that condition lies at the foundation of inorganic things. And not rising above its own mechanical and chemical condition, it may be more or less identified with it, if we consider its self-one-function.
Life does not stand above the chemical, but stands in its chemical ( NOTE 181 ).
Within the living do act the classical normal-chemical laws and specific laws, which also are "chemical", but which only apply to those chemical entities that are living.
The in its form most strange element [of the living] is the growth and reproduction of living matter ( NOTE 182 ). In order to leave the problem, in its, for the time being, not understood state, it will be wise to not all to quickly and without critique grab the help offered by nucleic acids [DNA, RNA]. If one has avoided this, then the synthesis of the conceptually worked out results with the effects of the nucleic acids will be the more successful. So for the sake of clarity we, therefore, for the time being, skip the nucleic-acid component.
In almost every attempt to analytically reveal the essential, one has taken Life to be the effect of a special order, and we speak of the order and arrangement of the atoms into specific large-molecular constructs. Here, however, we must give a small but important specification : The order is always the immediate result and effect of the properties of the constituents, and thus of the atoms. The molecular properties are, it is true, real-existentially bound up to the presence of the relevant molecules, but are essentially potentially the direct effects of atomic properties. [which properties have now -- according to aristotelian-thomistic metaphysics -- become properties of the very molecule itself [as we saw in the previous two documents]. The atoms, as constituent particles, have as such now become virtual. This, i.e. "the atomic properties now having become properties of the molecule", is truly responsible for the molecule to be intrinsically one, to be a holistic whole, and will, in the case of the living organismic molecule, account for the cooperative nature of all the processes in a living being, where this molecule "instructs" its immediately surrounding aqueous serum-like support medium which is everywhere in contact (through a denatured membrane) with that living molecule]. Whether a determined self-one-function can exist does not depend on whether the proper molecule is actually there, but whether the molecule can construct itself in virtue of the atomic potencies ( NOTE 183 ).
If we now follow the usual lines of enquiry, and wholly formally take Life as a specific ordering of matter -- which essentially is correct -- then this order must show itself clearly recognizably in precisely those entities (for instance the living cell) that we are meant to investigate in this respect ( NOTE 184 ). The sought-for fundamental specific order is, just like in all other material orders, based probably already in the atomic domain and concerns states that we can only formally take to be genuine orders, which, however, hardly have illustrative examples. But this order will, in one form or another, continue to be inherent also in the molecular domain and in the holistic organismic domain, in which we should definitely not conclude that such an order is present there in a more obscure way. Indeed, the very clear and illustrative [and thus not obscure] orders of the Crystal Systems are based on the constituent-order-properties that are themselves rather obscure to us and only mathematically-approximately describable. So we can, just like that, investigate the chemical structure of organisms and even their morphology ( NOTE 185 ) as to that chemical structure's [and morphology's] elements of order, and try to draw conclusions from it ( NOTE 186 ).
If we do not want to entertain naive pseudo-comparisons (cells/elementary crystallites, etc.), then we nowhere [in the living condition] see an analogue with the crystalline order of the inorganic. Indeed, the deeper and critically stricter we see things, the more such comparisons with the crystalline order evaporate. And here with such a unique consequence and exclusiveness that we are directly forced to be convinced to necessarily presuppose an anti-crystalline principle of order. The (sub)molecular framework, letting appear the crystalline order, apparently does not match up with that (sub)molecular framework lying at the base of living matter, and is thus in one way or another contrary to, or quite different from, the latter ( NOTE 187 ).
Certainly the most important fact is that in the growth and doubling of living matter the true principle is induced and transferred, namely the special "order" of Life, which essentially is a specific configurative arrangement. In order to transfer it, the doubling of living matter certainly transcends a kind of "parallel direction". It is a very deep essential intervention in the system, and we must already assume here that the inorganic building blocks (of not yet living substance) are not from quasi far off directed-out in the way dipoles or molecular magnets are so directed, but that there must have been a phase, albeit very short, of intimate contact. And because we cannot take this phase other than chemical bonding, the not yet living component-substrate lying against the living matrix must have been engaged in a true overall bond (Of course not at whatever locations, few of them already suffice, because configurational particulars can propagate or expand within the proper structures and into the proper directions). Because a breaking of bond must precede the mechanical separation, by which we in the end recognize the complete self-doubling, it here concerns a temporary [chemical] bonding, which can be broken, after complete transformation is done. Probably, the preparing introductory phase, still far from living, is a pseudo crystalline phase, in which dipolar forces, v. d. Waals' forces, and others may play a role [The nucleus of a given atom, or a nucleus of a given polynuclear "atom" (a molecule), which is positively charged, may feel the negative electron cloud of an another atom, resulting in a weak electrostatic force of attraction between them. This is the v.d. Waals force.]. The end of this phase is, however, certainly a coupling by quantum-mechanical resonances. And this leads to the very important phase of the configurative substituent-vitalization, and finally there is a concluding phase, the physical separation.
The new electron-microscopic research has strongly emphasized the concept of structures, and one has connected it with the very beloved concept of the dynamic. To the "dynamic equilibrium", having sway over physiology ( NOTE 188 ), are thus now added the "dynamic structures" controlling the fine-morphology and microhistology.
This often proposed concept of "dynamic structures" we do not like to accept in their usual sense, although one cannot take mesomerous superstructures (also over-forming structures or superposition structures) with energetic tensions, on the one hand, and elastic buffering on the other, to be clear-cut "static" [so there do exist "dynamic structures"]. But basically they are regular chemical relationships, and there such terms as "dynamic" are not current, or one applies it to everything ( NOTE 189 ) (Of course we too emphasize the non-correspondence of the fundamental essential life-molecular structures [as they exist in the living molecule] with those [non-living] structures which are -- optically directly, or after preparation (for instance with coagulating agents) -- accessible to us. Some such relationships do exist also here [i.e. some sort of dynamic relationships do also exist in the living protoplasm] ( NOTE 190 ), but they should, in the context of our investigations, only be of subordinate significance. What prevents us from taking dynamic structures to be an especially important aspect, is the simple conviction for us to possess in the form of Unimol a better and more comprehensive superordinate concept.
Life seems to us to be a "force" standing over and above substance [in the sense of matter] and acting from within ( NOTE 191 ), bound up, it is true, to its matter, but itself immaterial and substance-less. For, after "regrouping", - having the loss of life as a consequence, without making a difference in the conceptual make-up as known to us of atomic constituents (constant number, constant mass) ( NOTE 192 ), thus [Life] having the material value 0, - life has vanished without a trace and therefore being immaterial by definition, invisible, imponderable. But this "without a trace" doesn't fit. There truly are great traces indeed, purely materially accompanying the transition from living to dead, they only duck out of observation as a result of a macrophysical erasion. The decisive step takes place in the interior of atoms, which within the association with their fellow atoms have ambivalent and plurivalent existential forms, which are specifically determined by precisely that association. [Here we see at least a similarity with HOENEN's view of atoms in molecules (as discussed in the previous two documents.] One may also say : The total association enhances stabilization of the special state now at hand, and with this also the "dangerous" -- because tempting abuse in applying it -- statement is at its right place : The constituents are determined by the whole [where the whole = self-one-function]. With this fact one cannot bungle, one just has to fully liberate such concepts from all historic and systematic ballast ( NOTE 193 ).
If one, like many authors, judges the chemical difference between living and dead to be low, but the structural difference to be high, then one makes the characteristic mistake to discriminate between chemical composition and (chemical) structure. It in fact is the case -- and doubts about this will eventually disappear -- that the functional organismic structure is at the same time the true chemical bonding-structure, at least basically, while we, as to the actual living of the advanced differentiated organisms, may focus on the functionally histological "amplification".
Unfortunately, the picture of chemistry comprises essentially the types of the cold blank metalls, the glistering world of dead crystals, the caustic, aggressive, explosive, poisoness, and also healing chemicals. The organisms, which one only hesitatingly removes from zoology and botany, are not only determined by the mentioned concepts, but between them and chemistry is inserted a long chain of isolating disciplines characterized by the order of names : Anatomy, Histology, Physiology, Physiological Chemistry, Biochemistry. [All these disciplines, in all their undoubted usefulness, isolate parts of the organism, and as a result of this isolation, these parts are dead.]. The latter [biochemistry] very clearly is true chemistry, but its substrate is -- and this is said without reproach -- no more than a mere nebulous shadow of true Life ( NOTE 194 ).
Today we safely may radically connect between chemistry (of the inorganic) and zoology, and to view the objects of zoology [and botany] as the chemistry of existentially-functionally macroscopically formed compounds with self-controlled preservation.
The Correspondence Principle.
A general feature of quantum mechanics is this : At the scale of atoms and molecules it predicts some unfamiliar effects, but as the scale increases towards the everyday, these effects become smaller and smaller until they are essentially negligible. The assertion that quantum effects should vanish in this way for large systems is known as the Correspondence Principle. We now continue and conclude Müller's section on "Life and Matter" with his exposition of the question whether a like correspondence principle does exist between the non-living and the living. It is about the addition of properties when going up along the scale of size ((sub)microscopic - macroscopic) and/or amplification of them.
A last question is about the possibility of an at least conceptual connection of the phenomena of Life with the phenomena of non-life, in line with the Bohrian Correspondence Principle between micro- and macrophysics. Is there, in analogy to that, also a kind of law of transition in the relation "nonliving-living" (suggested by the fact of the transition of non-living substance into living)? If the analogy were indeed there, then a regular relationship should be there, letting us see one finding in one case to be a special case of a finding in another case. Such a relationship has not [even] been found in the subatomic domain, or [may be established] only under special views rendering the question of the correspondence between inorganic entities and observable organismic life entirely futile, so that in this way an explanation is not possible. As to what is known, we can say that a simple analogue of the Bohrian Correspondence Principle does not exist. Every transition [from non-living into living] is the repetition-upon-stimilation of a specific, once statistically spontaneous, act. Perhaps one also may characterize Life, being a direct unimolecular connection of micro- and macrophysics, by precisely the absence of the Correspondence Principle, although the internal practice of Life has found ways to preserve or establish its applicability in certain domains.
So : essentially the Correspondence Principle does not hold for the living, namely if it were holding unequivocally analogously, then one would find oneself already in the non-living again ( NOTE 195 ). Instead of the Correspondence Principle (C.P.) we here have the unidirected qualitative determined amplification (the C.P. is practically formally also a "principle of amplification"), which in the form of a specific summation practically is the most important feature of the phenomenon of Life. It is, succinctly stated, about the fact that the physical additivity relates to "unimportant" elements such as inertial mass, and others. And that from "interesting" elements precisely the elementary magnetism still adds itself up, but that electrical charges, residue-valences, etc. do not accumulate, do not bestow upon any larger piece of matter a special feature. The result in this case is always a neutralization taking place already in the smallest domains.
In the living condition there clearly is a specific additivity. If one, in a very rough estimate, divides the amount of mass of objects with the most primitive organismic behavior by the number of the participating atomic constituents, and takes into account here how small in fact is the effective and materially-energetic equivalent of the living condition in these objects, then the individual atomic constituents do participate so little, that one definitely can say that there would be no means to demonstrate [Life] if there did not exist -- instead of a neutralization -- the additivity, by which the phenomenon [of Life] would be recognizable at all. From this point of view, and ignoring several serious objections, with which we shall deal in the section "elementary vivification", one might add to the elementary charge, and to the elementary magnetism, a kind of elementary vivification in a very small unit, only summable [i.e. only possible to add such units up] under very special conditions, only realized in living protoplasm, namely living substance, and as a result of which this substance has become living substance. So in this way one may not, it is true, speak of a general correspondence principle, but still always of an extremely special, unrepeatable one-off correspondence principle. The value of such a consideration lies less in the direction of physicalizing Life, than in the possibility to add a new image to the many elucidating ones.
There are two [types of] transitions connecting the domains of microphysics and macrophysics : (1) BOHR's Correspondence principle, concerning one substrate that is enlarged discontinuously, namely by summation of free -- individually different, but commonly statistically working in a similar way -- separated molecular individuals [making up macroscopic things], and (2) JORDAN's (and by us seen and expounded a little differently) amplifying principle, also concerning one substrate, but increasing essentially "continuously", namely as a result of intramolecular continuous construction. The difference between these two transitions is insofar not very sharp as in the inorganic domain the amplifying principle largely is absent [So there the Correspondence Principle is more or less similar to the amplifing principle], whereas for the organismic domain, as a result of its systemic embedding [of the organismic molecule] in inorganic [i.e. non-living] auxiliary components, BOHR's Correspondence Principle still has some validity in certain subdomains [and there being more or less of an amplyfying nature.].
The ultimate objective of biological research, the "explanation of Life", may at last be reached in a satisfying way when we exclude ourselves, i.e. when we exclude from the problem-setting the question what we ourselves are. The fact that for this question there only are symbolic (and no scientific) solutions, is the common result of all philosophers of all nations.
[ Introductory remark from the author of this website]
The Unimol view of organisms, as here, on this website, presented (and inspired by Oskar Müller), holds that the individual organism is not a system of separate individual large and small free molecules (and ions) interacting in several ways, but is one single truly giant molecule of some protein-like substance. But, as already said earlier, this needs an important specification. The intrinsic unity of the organism is grounded on the one living molecule -- i.e. because it is, or, better, insofar as it is a (single) molecule. This molecule is the true "self " of the organism. But, unlike inorganic, in the sense of non-living, molecules, this molecule cannot (already) passively exist, i.e. is not able to exist already as a result of just to be such that it complies with energetic conditions thermodynamically stabilizing it, but must actively maintain itself, must actively participate in its existence. For this to be possible, the molecule must have a "strategy" to do so, and moreover it must itself be part of that strategy too. Such a strategy to materially exist consists in the fact that the living molecule is itself embedded in an aqueous serum-like support medium which is everywhere in physical contact with that molecule (which itself is a tangled weblike structure of chemically bonded atoms). And the living molecule, as being the very "self " of the organism, directs this medium to do what is necessary in order to sustain it. The medium in turn mediates the "traffic" between the true outer environment and the living molecule. We may assume that the living molecule, because it is so big, and consists of so many quasi particles, can be thermodynamically characterized. And when we do so, we say that the molecule is in a state far from thermodynamic equilibrium, it is a so-called "dissipative structure". And in order to maintain its structure, it must remain in that state, because returning to an equilibrium state will in this case mean a disintegration of the molecule. So while dissipating energy (i.e. entropy : heat, not transformable into work), it must, in order not to fall back to its energy minimum, its thermodynamic equilibrium, take up energy. This can be done by taking up matter containing energy, and then the molecule is actually feeding. All this is accomplished through the aqueous serum-like support medium, mediating between the living molecule and the true outer environment from which food must be taken. And, of course, this medium must be maintained too. How does it do it ? Also actively by itself? No, in contrast to the living molecule itself, the support medium is, as a whole, in thermodynamic equilibrium, and may then passively exist without more ado.
Knowing all this, we may say that in fact the organism, consisting of living molecule plus medium, is, as such, not a true Substance in the metaphysical sense, because the medium contains uncountably many individual molecules, themselves Substances. Only insofar as the organism is the living molecule, it is a true Substance. And indeed, we can be sure that in higher organisms, having a pronounced "self ", the nervous system belongs to the living molecule, and there the self is indeed seated in the nervous system. So if we consider the organism-proper, we must focus on the living molecule, and in the form of this one molecule the organism is a true Substance, but having brought with it its own immediate existential conditions. And because our emphasis is on this molecule, the bonds, holding it together are extremely important. And these bonds are, by definition, chemical bonds. So before continuing our exposition of Unimol we must first study the chemical bond. Largely we have done this already in First Part of Website, namely in the 18th document called "The Chemical Bond". If the reader wants to directly access that document he or she may click HERE. [end of introductory remark]
The role of the chemical bond in Unimol.
The external picture of the chemical bond consists in a materially-specific (qua valence and qua chemical affinity) and regular (stoechiometric) aggregation of smaller units into larger qualitatively new units, whose -- as a rule large -- stability is expressed as a release of energy quantitatively characteristic of the particular process of aggregation.
The internal picture of the chemical bond -- roughly a kind of electronic re-grouping or a low-energy coupling state of a multiple component system ( NOTE 895 ) -- is the subject of subtle theoretical work, about which there are competent expositions in the relevant professional literature.
Characteristically, the two most important physical fundamental particles, proton and electron, play an important role also in chemical changes and bonds. Probably one is not in great error when one lets play, in the organismic protein-like one-molecule connected to its aqueous medium hydratically, the proton a bond-mediating role comparable with the electron and cooperating with it, while one thinks all kinds of organismic functions to be realized by and to be based on protons on the one hand, and electrons on the other. Because we reckon the organismic molecules to be the most true type-molecules, the emphasis, when speaking about contrasting bonding types, should perhaps not lay so much on the hom(e)opolar/heteropolar contrast, but more on the organismic-proton-electronic and saltlike-heteropolar one [thus, if I am right, taking covalent and hydrogen bond together as opposing the ionic bond.].
It is clear, that no bonding shows or can show such an additional and rich gradation of realized intensity as does the hydrogen-bridge-bond [A hydrogen-bridge-bond (hydrogen bond) may be formed between two molecules -- and then, of course, between the two respective atoms of these molecules, the hydrogen atom of the one molecule and another atom of the other molecule, or, one may say, a hydrogen bridge between the atom X of the one molecule and the atom Y of the other, mediated by a hydrogen atom (H) covalently bonded with the atom X and electrostatically bonded with the atom Y -- when there is uneven distribution of charge. Part of the electrically positive character of the hydrogen atom (covalently bonded to atom X of the one molecule (or molecular part)) shows through the electron cloud (formed by that hydrogen's single electron). There, where a hydrogen bridge (hydrogen bond) between an atom X and Y can be established at all, the molecule to which atom Y belongs is overall negatively charged at its Y-end because the atom Y has gained one or more electrons from other atoms to which it is covalently bonded. And then there is an electrostatic attraction between this negative charge and the hydrogen atom's positive nuclear charge showing through its electron cloud. And so the molecules are attracted to each other by these opposite electrical charges, and the H-atom now forms a bridge between the two molecules, more precisely, a bridge between atom X of the one molecule and atom Y of the other molecule. This is the hydrogen bond. We may symbolize it with "X-H-Y" (generally as, [X-H]-Y, or X-[H-Y], depending to which atom the hydrogen is covalently bonded). And of course such a hydrogen bond may also form between parts of the same (large) molecule, and so being responsible for that molecule's shape.] ( NOTE 896 ), which [bonding] can extend from an effect just evident from influencing physiological properties, all the way to a fixed molecular connection. From its most commonly present weak form (in spectroscopic interpretations one still has to distinguish between +average value and unit value) one should not conclude that the hydrogen bond is essentially and always a "weak" bond ( NOTE 897 ). Because in cases of strong resonance the bridge-proton [the nucleus of the H-atom] submerges into the electron cloud of the partner (with the same expressive value one may in this case also say : the neighboring electron cloud partly puts over the first), without leaving its own cloud [orbital] totally, it results in quite a firm, and fixed by the bridge-proton, overlap of the electron clouds and with it to a firm bonding. The partial submergence of the proton into another electron cloud is eased by the fact that the proper cloud of the combination X-H is distorted (enriched) into the direction of X, and the other electron cloud [i.e. the electron cloud of the other partner], at least theoretically, does now possess a substantial extent (asymptotical density-decrease, that, based on quantization, practically lets originate something like a sharp radius). If the neighboringness is correspondingly close, and the preconditions of the X-H -bond (a certain degree of polarizablity) and of the Y-component (electronic configuration, one electron pair) are satisfied, then there are no fundamental obstacles to the X-H ...Y bond functionally to transform almost into X- H-Y. This is facultatively possibly realized (or realizable), but every attempt to prove it should be connected with an interaction, letting the system react according to its origin, namely react as X-H ...Y.
But that the bridge-H "in fact" remains at its paternal atom, is concluded a bit unrightfully from the subsequent separation result. Only the supply of energy gives the bridge-H the possibility to decide upon to which it belongs. That is, the initial state, as well as the finished bond-breaking delude us to know (in certain cases one may parhaps measure it spectroscopically) to precisely what atom the former, i.e. potential or presumptive bridge-H actually belongs. In the stage of being a full intact stable true H-bridge one can hardly maintain this.
Considering the spatial fundamental domain of the hydrogen bond (H-bond), then, upon separation -- being at the same time the transition of the conditionally quasi multible-valence of H into the one-valence form -- there can only result the original single partners. From this, one cannot conclude things about the status of distribution in the effective and strong H-bond, especially because the living substance may not be accessible to spectroscopic analysis ( NOTE 898 ).
That we, as to the fundamental organismic, give absolute priority, only to this true chemical covalent atomic bonding ( NOTE 899 ), which exclusively results in true molecular individuals [and not in mere aggregations, heaps], is evident. The covalent type of chemical bond is precisely the one in which the molecules, resulting from it, retain, in all circumstances, thus also when taken up into a crystal lattice, their full individuality, losing it only when the whole molecule is as such irreversibly destroyed. So the true individuals possess, in the form of the chemical covalent bond among its constituents, the strongest stabilizing forces being present in this domain at all. To complete this image, one may say that also the constituents of the Heitler-London bond [i.e. the covalent bond] are being saturated individually amongst each other, whereas in the case of electrovalence (the ionic bond) it is about a non-individual statistic neutralizing as a result of aggregation within the action range [So in the case of the ionic bond an individual of a given species of constituent, in a given individual molecule, is not necessarily in precisely the same state as any other in different molecular individuals of the compound.]
We obtain a particularly illustrative picture if we imagine that the Heitler-London forces of covalence first of all correspond to those bonding forces that are active in the atomic partners themselves, so that thus the covalent molecule with its homogeneous bonding is the real continuation of the atomic-material "constructional" combination. The overall line of evolution can thus also be marked in terms of bonding. One may even say that the structural development of the Periodic Table of chemical elements is ideal and unequivocal only in the K- and L-shells (present in the organogeneous elements), and that from the M-"shell" onwards certain disharmonies set in (for instance expressed in the alternating subsequent filling-up of shells), which fact perhaps also reflects the fact that beyond the first 10 elements ( S[ulphur] and P[hosphorus] in organisms only auxiliarily taken) no Life can appear anymore. The expression "harmoniously constructed elements" is initially legitimate only when referring to Life, for seen from an overall thermodynamic viewpoint things may be quite different (see the position of Fe (iron) among the elements).
The fact that alongside the most important covalent homogeneous bonding also the other bonding types, except the so-called metallic, but including the various types of intermolecular forces, are still functionally important, matches with our conviction, and that there do exist mixing and transitional types, for which inorganic examples are absent, but [for which] examples specifically and significantly exist in the organismic, we certainly may suppose. Precisely in the organogeneous elements there may exist variations -- also within the so-called homopolar bond [covalent bond] which is precisely geared to it ( NOTE 900 ) -- with new effects, which do not, however, represent an essential feature of Life, but certainly brings it into actuality and existence. Especially with respect to the organismic, we must note that the "bonding as it is in itselfnbsp;" certainly is an absolutely necessary constructive element in realization, but further [it is] only the conceptual expression of the consequence of atomic properties. One should not put it all into the concept of bonding, the qualitative essence has no seat therein. But one may (and should) use and emphasize it demonstratively and symbolically.
Apart from the in themselves more or less similar C-C bonds [carbon-carbon bonds], there is, in organismic substances, alongside true ionogenic partnerships, a rich variety of the most different polarized atomic bonds, even involving many of the "simple" C-C bonds, because, as a result of their asymmetric substitution, they also experience weak electronic deformations. In organismic molecules there exists, at a physically chemically prexisting maximum of diversity, an obtained maximum of preserving and fixing stability of these molecules, [this maximum] begun to be selected already from the smallest initial molecules. [So in organismic molecules there is, over and above the physically chemically determined maximum of diversity, yet another maximum, this time an obtained maximum of stability.]. From the large amount of particular cases, to be noted in the organogeneous elements and their combinations, we can select only a few, in which we even don't know whether precisely they are the most important.
One will, in contrast to the inorganic models [here in the sense of examples], being so simple and typical to us, take precisely the organismic molecular formation as the most perfect case of a constituting compound revealing new qualities. We too easy become confused by the chemical ruin of the corpse or by "matter of Life" killed in experiment, while in thought we still always add the overawing functional from without (it is the musical instrument view of organisms, still in need of an artist in order to sound).
In the genuine chemical bond, a fundamental issue of chemistry, qualitative features are expressed as a result of coexistence. The chemical bond is a qualitative effect ( NOTE 901 ), which cannot comprehensively be understood from any combination of laws alone. Here we have to do with a primordial phenomenon, which we ourselves do not know and cannot describe ( NOTE 902 ), but whose characteristic effects are well known and which, as a substitute, characterize the basic phenomenon.
Begin and end of the chemical reaction have a different energy content, which difference becomes such that it can be released and thus necessarily will be released, resulting in the new state conditionally becoming irreversible. The appearing bonding-forces are then the negative counterparts of the amount of released energy, and the external quantum-mechanical forces of attraction (and thus not the coupling-exchange "energy") are in reality quanta-in-absence equivalents [ Fehlquantenäquivalente] [In the reaction-product a certain number of energy-quanta has become absent, while it was present in the free partners.].
One may assume that the organismic way of considering things also provides significant hints as to mediate and transitional states which are reaction-kinetically so interesting and transcending by far the "paper-chemical" consideration, - mediate and transitional states [in the chemical reaction] in which the classical valences and structures, being themselves mere idealized limiting cases, hardly play a role, as it seems, and by reason of which they [i.e. the mediate and transitional states] "chemically" so strongly resist treatment. Precisely formulated, i.e. allowing to be well-formulated [well-definable], molecular individuals with well known ground-states dive, at the moment of the reaction, into a phase in which no rules known to us need to be applicable, in which no states of affairs and properties well-defined to us are present (perhaps except the pure mass, and thus the bruto-summation formula [i.e. the so-called "empirical formula" of the chemical compound, only expressing the numbers and sorts of atoms present in a molecule of it.] ) and from which [phase] they [the precisely formulated molecular individuals], after often a very short interim, again appear as again well-definable new molecules having known ground-states, and being "accompanied" by an energy-disposal-packet being a transformed obscure residue of precisely that what had in fact taken place. A precisely fabulously exact empirical knowledge about the initial and end states [of the chemical reaction] and about energy quanta, makes us believe to possess an exact closed causal knowledge, in which the undoubtedly strictly regular events taking place in the dark detail-free interphase of the reaction (it is here about intermediate states consisting of a continuum of ignorance) are accounted for as members that, it is true, practically technically [referring to the chemical industry], as may be supposed, do not play a role, or at most a calculationally compensated one, because the conditional possibilities purely empirically may be exhausted [all conditional possibilities have been accounted for]. But knowing them would vastly enrich our overall knowledge of the World.
The chemical bond, being a function of the atomic structure, at the same time is an expression of a principle, whose completion was, under the physical conditions of the (stellar) atomic formation [i.e. the formation of atoms in stars] -- and namely in a very broad band or range -- not yet possible. The following-up reaction [the formation of molecules] consists in an increasing disposal of residues. A part of these residues is directly released as energy-particles, and on it precisely rests the event. When energy is imported, the principle becomes conditionally-adaptively and probability-configuratively working the other way around.
While the essence of the chemical bond today may be taken to be "fully" explained in the case of the most simple molecules (type : H2), in applying things to higher organic [i.e. carbon-containing] molecules one already encounters relatively great difficulties that can only be kept down satisfactorily by approximating methods. And in the transition to the organismic one can yet again expect a whole order of magnitude of further difficulties. Indeed, already the model equivalents, namely the simple rather low-molecular peptides [a peptide is a chain of amino-acids, forming the backbone of proteins], are composed of shroud-electronic-valenceally "subtle" structured atoms, and this at the same time in a sequence which in turn shows very complex interactions [of the atoms in the sequence] depending on number and medium. So as to the true living substance we possess a knowledge of the bonding, which one -- not referring to the essential, but the otherwise usual high demands presupposing -- can only take to be "masked" [masking the difficulties] (in the larger classical picture they, of course, remain). On the other hand, we want to emphasize again that the qua-bonding structural complexity of living substance is already almost completely exhausted (fully realized) in the most primitive true Life. Metamerous enlarging [i.e. the addition of extra segments or metamers in an animal body], differentiation, and bringing in new potencies, only result in a (surely throughout qualitative and in itself practically very significant) moment of variation, and so giant a molecule, as is the organismic, may, with bearable error, be so taken "as if " the individual substructures were independent molecules.
The organismic living structure fixes inter- and intra-molecular, but surely originating from the organogeneous atoms, interactions which elsewhere do not occur, because this [i.e. the fixing] is the only existential- and state-condition of the organismic living structure.
Just like the pure forms of covalency and electrovalency are merely limiting types of both kinds of chemical bond, also in the organismic there is no such pure form. This is already convincing by a glance on the most simple peptid (as simplified model-equivalent). The fact that the organismic bonding yet further deviates from this -- and according to the quantum theoretical principle of variation it indeed can -- is demonstrated by its special state. For the physical state of such a closed system always connects with those relationships that we precisely hold to be bonds ( NOTE 905 ).
Strictly taken, it is, unfortunately, a deception that the electronic molecular spectra (insofar as they can be obtained at all) clarify things and result in a better understanding of the true nature of the chemical bond. For, it is true, one comes to know more, but lacks a truly better insight. By quantum mechanics the chemical bond is quantitatively well understood, and, as one likes to say : "completely explained". We ourselves, however, would like to strongly emphasize the qualitative aspect [of the chemical bond], for insofar the organismically living, the very object here treated of, is concerned, the basic-bonding-qua-quanta [the quantitative picture of the chemical bond] does tell us almost nothing anymore. This [i.e. this inability of the quantitatve aspects of the chemical bond to reveal anything about its nature, especially in organismic molecules] implies that the organismic only consists of qualities. And of these [qualities] we may also find some in the constituents and in the sister-molecules. It is undisputed that the quantum mechanical basis of the chemical bond does provide a perfect operational scheme, but it is just as evident that it is philosophically entirely empty [Because, as I [JB] assume, the quantum mechanical theory of the chemical bond, being about energy levels and orbitals (probability clouds of electrons), is not an explicative theory (as this type of theory was discussed in the previous two documents on atomic theory). It doesn't derive the features of the chemical bond from its supposed (qualitative) nature.].
As to the general characterization of the chemical bond one should note that all true "elementary particles", photons, electrons, protons, and neutrons, have bonding function. This fact is supposed to clarify the essence of chemical bonding as well as that of the elementary particles. Bonding results, among other things, from the fact that one particle [which may also be a photon, a particle of electromagnetic radiation such as light], which in itself is not divisible anymore, simultaneously belongs to several other simple or composed particles (to the latter, again the same holds), resulting in a new superparticle, a true new individual. Being able to bond is then precisely that what has the ability to take up one or more particles. This evidently is not contradicting our earlier assertion that the formation of a bond and its stability is connected with the [releasing] ability and the number of particles that can be released [instead of taken up]. In this case it is about the fact that objects, which already can be considered to be compounds themselves, again come together and from their total stock give up particles [release particles] but still retain enough of them to realize the bond-function. Usually, one sees aggregation as a result of bonding ability and bonding forces. But the aggregation all by itself is sufficient, and it must be sufficient because otherwise the question will necessarily arise what "bonds" (connects) particle with bonding-particle [aggregation?] [ending up in an infinite regress]. The [chemical] bond is just a particular form of description of the phenomenon of aggregation. But it doesn't relate to it as cause and effect. [i.e. the bonding is not the cause of aggregation.].
[INTRODUCTION. A living organism can die, transforming into a changing collection of non-living, denatured, substances. But also inside such a living organism certain substances are non-living substances supporting it. Also these substances, although belonging to the organism, may be taken as denaturation products.
But we here consider "denaturation" not so much insofar as it is a process in which certain substances become denatured, but rather as a state, i.e. as if that state was the result of the denaturing of some substance. But of course also instances of actual denaturation events will be discussed.
As such, the coming exposition about denaturation in fact will contribute to an understanding of the Unimol support medium and in what way it is distinguished from the living molecule itself.
In denaturation and the formation of (denaturation) membranes in organisms colloids and colloidal solutions play an important role. What are colloids? Well, there are two kinds of mixtures of substances, namely homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures. A homogeneous mixture is a mixture of particles of several different chemical substances, particles of atomic or small molecular size. Such a mixture is called a solution. There are gaseous solutions, such as air, liquid solutions such as seawater, and solid solutions as in certain minerals. Heterogeneous mixtures, on the other hand, may be suspensions of large particles in a medium, such as coarse-grained sand in water. They are short-lived, because the suspended material soon settles down, effecting a separation. In other heterogeneous mixtures the suspended particles are small enough to remain in suspension, but not too small to form a true homogeneous mixture, a solution. These are the so-called "colloidal solutions" such as smoke (particles) in the air, and milk which is a heterogenous mixture of organic more or less oily substances and water. This colloidal state of matter can be regarded as a suspension whose lifetime is finite (but not very short).
The size of atomic or molecular species is in the order of 10-7 cm in diameter. When aggregates of matter of 10-7 to approximately 10-5 cm in diameter are suspended in a medium, for example in a liquid, an intermediate state between heterogeneous mixtures and true solutions results. Substances in this state are referred to as colloids, colloidal solutions, or colloidal suspensions. And while crystalloids in solution do pass through porous walls, the colloids suspended in a liquid are withheld as a result of large particle size. These special properties of colloidal substances are the subject of the science of colloid chemistry. Most significant are the many colloids in biological objects. Colloid chemistry is already insofar an intermediate discipline between physics, chemistry, and biology, as it considers the physico-chemical properties of liquid colloids or sols and the [semi]solid colloids or gels (jellies, coacervates), originating from organic compounds and constituting a large part of the living organism.
The folowing exposition about, and introduction to, colloids, surfactants, micelles, (denaturation) membranes, and vesicles (as they occur in organisms) is taken [with comments] from Ph. BALL, Designing the Molecular World, 1994, chapter 7. All this is important to understand structures of denaturation in organisms.
A colloid solution may consist of oily or greasy particles suspended in water. Certain chemicals may interact with such colloidal solutions in a specific way. One such chemical is soap. One part of a soap molecule is soluble in oil or fat, and, when added to such a colloidal solution, therefore becomes embedded in the surface of the grease globules suspended in the water. The remaining portion of the soap molecule, which is water-soluble, is left protruding from the surface of the grease globule. The soap molecule therefore has a double nature : part of it likes water, and part likes oil. Molecules of this sort are called amphiphiles. The amphiphilic molecules in soaps are often called "surfactants", alluding to the fact that they are "surface-active" molecules that do their job at the interface between two different (and in general incompatible) substances or phases. As a general rule, like dissolves in like. Oils and fats contain hydrocarbon chains, and so does the oil-soluble part of a surfactant molecule. The water-soluble part is generally a negatively charged (anionic) "head" group, such as carboxylate (COO-) or sulfonate (SO3-). For overall charge neutrality, the negative charge of the head group must be balanced by a positive ion, and in soaps this is usually the sodium ion, Na+. A soap therefore typically has the chemical formula CH3-(CH2)n-COO-Na+, with n lying in the region of 10-18. The water-loving head groups are called "hydrophilic", and the oil-loving (and thus water-fearing) tails "hydrophobic". Surfactant molecules will dissolve in water, but they prefer if possible to shelter their hydrophobic tails from the water molecules. Burying their tails in the oil globules of the colloidal solution is one way of doing so, but there are many other ways in which surfactants achieve this end, and these give rise to an extremely rich variety of molecular structures which now provide one of the primary focuses of colloid chemistry.
When present in aqueous solution in small quantities, surfactant molecules will tend to gather at the water surface. Here they can keep their hydrophobic tails out of contact with the water by lying head-down with the tails poking out into the air. At the surface of pure water, the H2O molecules cannot experience as many attractive, stabilizing interactions with neighbors as do molecules in the bulk of the liquid, and so the surface molecules have a high energy relative to the bulk. Therefore, the presence of the surface carries an energy cost. The larger the surface area, the greater the energy cost. We generally speak of this surface "excess energy" as the surface tension, since its effect is to "pull" the liquid into a compact form, keeping the surface area as small as possible. This is why water droplets in mist are spherical and why, when they sit on a plastic or oily surface, the droplets form lens-like beads rather than spreading under the pull of gravity. But a layer of surfactants at the water surface has the effect of lowering the energy cost of the surface (in other words, lowering the surface tension), because the surface layer now comprises the hydrophobic tails of the surfactants, which didn't want to be in the water anyway [The water now hasn't a surface anymore, in the sense that there is now not an interface between the water and the air. The water now is coated with the hydrophilic heads of the surfactant molecules]. Adding a small amount of soap to a water droplet sitting on a surface thus enables it to spread.
Surfactants at the surface of water essentially form a membrane between the liquid and the air, allowing extremely thin liquid films to be stabilized in bubbles and foams [because now the water is in no need to reduce its surface area, it spreads out into films]. A hypothetical bubble of pure water [and thus forming a (spherical) water film] would simply collapse into a droplet [not hollow anymore] of minimal surface area, but by decreasing the surface tension, surfactants reduce the energy cost of large surface areas [and thus makes possible a true bubble, now a thin water film coated by the surfactant]. A foam is simply a large number of bubbles packed together.
If the amount of surfactant in solution is increased, there comes a point at which it can no longer all accumulate at the surface. The surfactant molecules must then find other ways of shielding their hydrophobic tails from water. One such way is for the molecules to aggregate into clusters in which the tails point inwards, with the head groups forming a water-soluble shell. These structures, called micelles, are just like those formed when the surfactants surround a globule of grease, except that there is now generally nothing inside the micelle but the grease-loving tails themselves. The formation of micelles, which occurs when the amount of surfactant [soap] exceeds the "critical micelle concentration", can be detected by passing a beam of light through the solution, whereupon one can see the path of the beam clearly illuminated. This is the Tyndall effect and is due to the scattering of light by the micelles. Because they have dimensions similar to the wavelength of visible light, many colloidal systems scatter light strongly, and the Tyndall effect is a characteristic signature of their presence.
One might imagine that it would take considerable ingenuity to arrange for a large number of amphiphilic molecules to come together as a micelle. But the unfavorable interactions between water and the hydrophobic tails provide all the driving force that is necessary to enable the molecules to organize themselves [in which no chemical reactions are involved]. This is a process of supramolecular self-assembly, perhaps involving tens, hundreds, or thousands of molecules : such structures are said to be self-organizing. Organization is used here in a rather loose sense, however : micelles are somewhat disorderly structures in which the surfactant molecules are packed together imperfectly. Individual molecules can leave the cluster quite easily, and new ones can be incorporated.
In oily solvents such as liquid hydrocarbons (paraffines), surfactants will form inside-out or "reverse" micelles. Here the surfactants try to protect the hydrophilic heads from the solvent by aggregating with the heads inward and the tails poking out. Further variation is to be found in the form of cylindrical micelles, in which the molecules gather into rod-like assemblies. When in close proximity, cylindrical micelles may line up like stacks of logs, forming structures similar to liquid crystals.
The inside of a small micelle [in water] is filled up with the hydrophobic tails. But larger micelles contain water-free cavities which can enclose water-insoluble substances. Surfactants can therefore stabilize a dispersion in water of a liquid which will not otherwise mix, preventing the two from separating out into distinct layers. Vigorous shaking of a simple oil-and-water mixture [thus without surfactant] will disperse one of these two phases in the form of tiny droplets within the other. The mixture turns cloudy because of the strong light scattering from the tiny colloidal droplets. But the two phases will settle out again when left to stand. If a surfactant is added to the mixture, however, it will stabilize the dispersed droplets by coating them with a layer that is soluble in the other phase. The resulting stable dispersion is an example of an emulsion -- a colloidal dispersion of one liquid in another. Emulsions occur also in Nature, the most familiar being milk. This is a dispersion of fats and proteins in water, and very strong scattering of light by the colloidal fatty particles is what gives milk its opaque whiteness -- if separated out, the various components would be transparent.
Given the known capacity of micelles (and their inside-out relatives) to act as tiny vessels within which chemical reactions can take place, might it not be possible to carry out inside a micelle the very reaction that produces its amphiphilic components? If this reaction takes place more readily within the micelle than in the solution outside, the micelle will speed up the rate at which further micelles are formed. It will, in other words, be autocatalytic.
It turns out that this kind of behavior can be coaxed out of a wide variety of micelle-forming amphiphiles. The first such autocatalytic system that was developed involved the soap sodium octanoate (CH3-(CH2)6-COO-Na+) in a mixed solvent of nine parts isooctane to one part octanol. Isooctane is a water-insoluble hydrocarbon, so the surfactant forms reverse micelles in this solvent ( The role of the octanol is subtle, as it is somewhat soluble in both the hydrocarbon and in water). When a small amount of water is added to this system, it is encapsulated in pools within the hydrophilic interior of the reverse micelles.
To this colloidal dispersion reagents were added that will form further octanoate surfactant : ethyloctanoate (a type of compound known as an ester) and lithium hydroxide, which hydrolizes the ester into octanoate ions and ethanol. Lithium hydroxide is rather insoluble in isooctane, so the hydrolysis reaction is not very efficient when these components are added to the isooctane solvent alone. But with water-containing reverse micelles present, the ester and the lithium hydroxide can dissolve in the water pools, and hydrolysis proceeds there readily. The octanoate molecules so produced then escape from the reverse-micelle interiors and group together into new reverse micelles. Thus the micellar structures replicate, in a crude sense, when provided with the raw materials.
In the early experiments a few reverse micelles ready-made were needed in the solvent to set the ball rolling. Later, replicating micelles were produced starting from nothing but the ester precursors to the surfactants, along with a hydrolyzing agent. Once enough of the ester had been hydrolyzed to surfactant to allow reverse micelles to form, the process suddenly took off as the micelles catalyzed further hydrolysis. Micellar structures then proliferated abruptly, like a living colony finding its feet.
Is it conceivable that the earliest proto-organisms on our planet might have been self-replicating micelles? One consideration that renders this a suggestive possibility is the similarity between micelles and cell membranes, both of which are self-organized structures of amphiphilic molecules. But there is much more within a cell than merely water, of course. An empty cell membrane -- even one that can replicate -- cannot be considered a very good approximation to a living organism. For one thing, it has no means to store genetic information and pass it on to subsequent generations, in other words, it cannot evolve.
If the concentration of a surfactant in solution is increased far beyond the critical micelle concentration, new kinds of structure appear that have a greater degree of self-organization. The principal structural motif for these new phases is called a bilayer, in which the surfactant molecules line up side by side to form sheets. To shield the hydrophobic tails from water, two sheets lie back to back with the tails pointing inwards. To avoid exposing hydrocarbon tails at the edges of the sheets, they can curl in on themselves to form closed sacs, called vesicles. So such a vesicle is formed from an amphiphilic bilayer. Amphiphiles line up back to back in sheets, which then close up to form enclosed, sac-like structures. See next Figure.
Figure above : Cross-section of a vesicle formed from an amphiphilic bilayer. Amphiphiles line up back to back in sheets, which then close up to form enclosed, sac-like structures. Each amphiphile molecule is here depicted as consisting of a hydrophilic head (black circle) and a hydrophobic tail (zig-zag line segment). The hydrophobic tails point to each other to maximally avoid contact with the water of the surrounding medium.
[After BALL, 1994]
Cell walls in organisms are essentially vesicles comprised of bilayers of natural amphiphiles, most commonly those called phospholipids. These molecules have a hydrophilic phosphate head joined to two (hydrophobic) hydrocarbon tails. Like micelles, bilayer vesicles are generally rather loosely bound molecular assemblies -- their components are not linked by chemical bonds but are held in place by weaker "hydrophobic" forces arising from the aversion of the hydrophobic tails to water. The amphiphiles are relatively free to move laterally through the layer, like people jostling past each other in a closely packed hall. In the bilayer membrane that encompasses a single bacterium, a phospholipid molecule can move from one end of the membrane to the other in about one second.
Conclusion of introduction.
All this, was something about colloids, vesicles, membranes, cell walls, etc. (taken from BALL, 1994), to introduce the Section on denaturation in organisms by Oskar Müller. And indeed, biological membranes, vesicles, etc. (but also the whole genetic apparatus with DNA as its central molecule) belong to the Unimol support medium of the organismic body. In fact we here have to do with the transition from the true living condition of the organismic substance to its denatured state (as, for instance, we see when moving from the living protoplasm of the cell-interior into the cell-membrane (of a peripheral cell) and then into the dead elements of the skin of the organismic body). Difficult stuff it surely is, but by having presented some introductory aspects clarifying the phenomenon of denaturation states (denaturation membranes) in organismic bodies, we hope that the present Section on Denaturation will be better understood, especially as to its significance in getting to know more about the Unimol support medium.]
In the literature on living matter naturally the expressive concept of denaturing plays an important role. It surely is equivocal and swings between the one limiting case in which a protein [one or another from the classificatory system of proteins] (purely chemically defined as a substance, in most cases "dissolved"), as a result of strong interventions, which may be very unspecific, is irreversibly changed in such a degree that the characteristic colloid-chemical and physically chemical properties are lost and characteristic new properties appear. The protein has lost its nature.
The other limiting case either is something similar, but only finer and more differentiated and possibly reversible, or is the transition from protoplasmatic living substance into a non-living form, superficially hardly distinguished from it and only as such detectable as to precipitation phenomena [such as coagulation].
Because the first cases contain the last one (but not necessarily the other way around) ( NOTE 914 ), we will consider only that last case, that is the transition from living into non-living substance, which, to begin with, will be characterized by nothing else than by the loss of the life-characteristic ( NOTE 915 ).
We here cannot delve deeper into a well nigh endless exposition of details (especially because that belongs to special expositions), but must -- a bit looking ahead -- concisely establish that denaturation in the above mentioned sense is, it is true, a kind of oppositeness to life ( NOTE 916 ), but that it cannot strictly be opposed to life, but always most closely coexisting with it ( NOTE 917 ), not "mixed" it is true, but enveloping and delimiting. [So here we are neatly distinguishing living molecule and support medium.]. Free living substance, like a small [non-living] molecule interacting with the inorganic environment, does not exist, and cannot exist at all, for a most elementary quantum mechanical consideration shows that such a special state cannot, without transition, immediately border at the inorganic "standard" states without configuratively breaking up directly and transforming into the latter ( NOTE 918 ). Only vitalistic demons, who in this case must be supplied with a reliability alien to them, could effectively prevent this.
So we arrive at the image, an image from every viewpoint almost evident and for us unavoidable, that living substance is, with its special configuration, intra-continual-molecularly embedded in a substrate which neither is living substance (for to this holds generally what has been said), nor inorganic substance (because the living substance otherwise would perish as a result of contact), but [that substrate] belonging to living substance itself as a layer lying on top of it and enclosing it, but having an orientation which is similar to living substance in that side that is turned to it, and having "inorganic" standard configuration in that side that is turned away from the living substance. So it is an inside/outside oriented, from life inseparate, thus truly chemically bonded-to protoplasmatic layer, which precisely is nothing else than outwardly denaturated protoplasm ( NOTE 919 ). Precisely this form of denaturation (devitalization), -- which, to begin with, is realized with a layer-thickness of only 1-2 to several atomic diameters, which, however, is the basic original form for all phenomena of denaturation taking place from life, -- we want to take as point of departure.
Linked up with fully general physical-chemical boundary phenomena [i.e. phenomena of boundary surfaces] one may take this denaturation layer, morphologically transforming into a denaturation membrane ( NOTE 920 ) (or denaturation skin), also to be a vital phase boundary, but with the, in a certain sense, one-off pecularity that the whole, in the classically physically chemical sense, is a one-phase system, at least with such flowing boundaries, that only typical "inside" and, lying far away, typical "outside" can be taken as two clearly distinct phases. Illustratively, the concept of vital phase boundary is useful.
The general case,- in which in any phase-boundary (interface) there is one thin bilayer of surface molecules, of which one layer belongs to one existent phase and the other layer to the other, also expressing this by the fact that the molecules show a specific preferred orientation or polarization ordered to the neighboring phase (as far as it is possible),- can and must logically also apply to living substance.
In the living molecule there is not merely an adhering boundary layer, but a boundary layer intramolecularly bonded without transitional stage, to which outwardly connects a hydrate sphere also "almost" truly bonded-to, and then again a swarm-like associated hydration layer. As a result of the layered combined and systemic composed construction of the cytoplasm [i.e. the protoplasm of the cell interior], as also further "parts" of it, one never precisely knows what precisely one observes and measures in, for instance, double refraction in flowing, and others, and to who, to what, and in what degree it belongs to what. So one can only draw the conclusion that the relevant property belongs "to the whole", but one, practically, can hardly localize that property finest-histologically.
The living molecule is a completely enveloped molecule, first of all in itself (i.e. in its inorganized oriented outer layer) and then also partially-bondedly embedded in an overall system. This genuine living molecule is not permeated by the system-medium. That it appears to us to be so permeated is at most based on the lattice or sponge structure of the living molecule ( NOTE 921 ). The fact that one can never isolate this living molecule, neither as a whole, nor one or another part of it, is clear. Whatever one obtains in such an attempt always are mere ruins. [So the living molecule, being, as to its shape and structure, lattice- or sponge-like, is completely and everywhere in contact with and bathed by the Unimol support medium, without this medium actually penetrating the molecule itself or some of its parts.]
[In the case of surgery or wounding of an organismic body we must assume that denaturation takes place where the body has been cut. In healing, the denatured parts are put off and removed from the body through and by the Unimol support medium, and regenerated by the living molecule.]
So living unimolecular substance not only has an outer edge, but an outwardly directed zone (layer) of contact which -- at least half-sidedly -- has inorganic configuration. As to this it has a non-living denatured inorganized "crystalloid" surface or outer skin oriented to the inorganic outside, and a layer - perhaps coinciding with that outer skin -- of which the inwardly oriented side is vitalized or vitally-oriented. The layer is (certainly only in the one direction, namely "inwardly" and therefore so to say irreversibly) probably in the same way slideable as is the phase skin of any two-phase system, and is always formed, at the very latest immediately spatially before the inorganic, and thus in its zone of interaction. Therefore, one can, also crudely experimentally, that is, with tools, just as little penetrate into the inner domains of the living, as one can also never uncover the true interior of a liquid or solution ( NOTE 922 ).
When one immerses a probe into a liquid, one in no way will reach the "inside", but, - under the influence of new intermolecular forces, respectively the changed quantum-mechanical resonance (the so-called residual bonding forces), - directly a new phase boundary skin is formed from specifically oriented molecules, and insofar as it is about mixtures and solutions, also a specific adsorption takes place, an adsorption, changing the concentration and qualitative composition [of the skin], so that the difference between this layer and the homogeneous inside of the liquid can be substantial. [The energies of the particles at the boundary of liquid and tool are different from those in the bulk of the liquid, resulting in surface tension.] Similar things may be expected also in living substance. In the case of close proximity of different [from the organismic] matter (for instance measuring devices, probes, experimental chemicals, etc.), a spontaneous rearrangement, a new quantum mechanical situation, sets in as unavoidable consequence, a rearrangement that is nothing else than the transition from vital-structure into its denatured form ( NOTE 923 ).
We propose to see precisely in these rationally physical quantum-mechanical states of affairs ( NOTE 924 ) the expression of the already more often surmised correlative complementarity [The one cannot be (studied) without the other and vice versa : the ying/yang complementarity of inorganic/living.] ( NOTE 925 ) of the living state (N. Bohr, P. Jordan) being anchored sufficiently [i.e. "We propose to see precisely in these ..., the expression of the already ... being anchored sufficiently."]. Behind the philosophically very instructive element of description would then reside a real transformation, which, however, is truly complementary, because it is about an intramolecular phenomenon showing both "sides". Anyway, we should also acknowledge that all objects of Nature - from the simplest liquid ( NOTE 926 ) to our fellow man as highest developed organism - materially turn to us their neutralized (as to fine structure, this is : denatured) outside, a neutral skin, poor in effects, extensively deluding us about the nature of the dynamics lying under this skin, an effective dynamics.
Whether, in automatic spontaneous denaturation, one thinks of a reversible or irreversible Sol-Gel transformation [a sol is a liquid colloid, a gel a [semi]solid one], is in itself insignificant, because for a homogeneous sol as well as for a homogeneous gel the same consideration applies. We then, initially, do not refer to the colloid-chemical macrophysical denaturation membrane, also shown by non-living protein solutions in the interface [perhaps one should think of a skin on the milk] ( NOTE 927 ), but to the microphysical intramolecular transorientation layer, related only to the special configuration of the living state.
Most organismic damages are outside-borne denudations (the "outside" does not, of course, refer to the body surface, but to the living molecule), causing the above mentioned transformation [denaturation]. They are experienced as "pain" ( NOTE 928 ). The counterpart to all that is constituted by the inside-borne regenerations, comparable to the true proteotropic assimilation. Living substance can, in its special structure, only exist under the self-fixing action of its specific proper interatomic forces. That simply is its existential condition ( NOTE 929 ). Or : True living substance can only border to itself or to semi-polarized (-structured) mesomerous equivalents directly standing under its influence, a sort of semi-polar more or less reversible denaturation layer, perhaps in turn covered by a true colloid-chemical denaturation shell. In the end one may also say : That orientation, appearing at the outside as a result of purely physico-chemical factors, is, for quantum-mechamical reasons, incompatible (and vice versa) with the life-characteristic special orientation of the atomic constituents (having in turn an ambivalent configuration), incompatible that is, as to the extreme close-range action neighborhood. The orientation may be maintained by an energy supply, possessed by the already living substance, an energy that is constantly replenished ( NOTE 930 ).
Living substance always is "inside" [something else]. It never immediately borders to the inorganic surroundings, it cannot. In the simplest case one may say that the fully oriented nucleotidicly uteroidly formed special order can only maintain itself -- as to atoms and atomic groups -- if there is symmetric influence from the suroundings (compare a, in many of its basic properties, undisturbed molecule of a liquid entirely within a liquid). This does not apply to boundary-layer molecules [i.e. molecules of the (physical) body lying at its boundary and being directly in contact with the body's suroundings]. Here conservation [of such a body against its surroundings] is only possible when there is a half-oriented boundary layer present, and because in the organismic it is about a kind of homogeneous internal substance (homogeneous at least as to that aspect of it that we are considering [its state of living] ), no difficulty will arise by the fact that that layer is completely or only half-way in the same state as that with which it is in contact [The layer, as the interface between the living and the non-living condition, may, where it is in contact with (turned to) the living substance (and only there), be itself alife or half-alife, and the same must hold, mutatis mutandis, to that part of that same layer which is in contact with (turned to) the inorganic surroundings, there the layer must be either fully inorganic or half-inorganic.]. Evidently, one may also assume that the boundary zone is multiply layered with a stepwise transition, in which we may assume a sublayer thickness of 1, 2, up to 3, atomic diameters.
The external shell of living molecules thus principally cannot have the life-characteristic special structure anymore. The layer here is so to say polarized with a "crystalloid" distal (external, turned to the outside, pointing to the "environment") side, and a vital-organic proximal (turned to the inside) side. It is a harmonic quasi-structural "equilibrium" ( NOTE 931 ), whose abrupt unphysiological disturbance makes itself known as pain. Pain receptors probably are, while connected to conduction devices, organicly functional fine-physiological-vital delicate spots ("Dünnstellen") (so to say with "windows"). Whether these assumptions of ours will actually hold in particular cases, we cannot, of course, say. But they give hints and show possibilities.
As to the permanent, but only in one direction strongly shiftable, theoretic position of the vital phase boundary ( NOTE 932 ), one may, while considering substantial restrictions, assume one kind of equilibrium, whose determining factors are, however, unknown to us. The vital phase boundary surely will be independent of many factors significant in non-living systems, while being very dependent upon intramolecular-chemical and self-one-functional circumstances. There will be no analogues with crystallization and boiling experiments and their setting in motion. It [i.e. the vital phase boundary] is an intramolecular internal phase boundary of aggregation states [inside the molecule]. Because it here is about a kind of orientation, it may be compared with polarization phenomena, although only as to a most narrow range being the size of atomic radii, polarization phenomena that form without delay, and that are, as to intensity and direction, strictly proportional to the directional forces.
The expression "equilibrium" would probably be false when being applied, in a strict physical sense, to the micro-locality of the "zone". One may only use it -- we venture -- when one considers the whole organismic object so to say biologically and then tries to substantially localize the physiological state of life, and with it only considers the outward-pressing macrophysical end-sum of all uni- and contra-directional micro-processes [making up the equilibrium]. The "equilibrium" boundary is in fact a chemical structural boundary, to which one at most may grant something like a small degree of [fine-restitutive] elasticity, - a chemical structural boundary which is physiologically fixed, and pathologically being only shiftable in a one-way fashion (so not qua equilibrium). A perhaps later setting-in of nucleotidic regeneration [thus on the basis of the DNA machinery] may, in a totally different way, and again not through equilibrium, about restore the previous structural boundary.
If the expression "equilibrium" is felt to be especially practical by whatever reason, and if, moreover, one wants to insist on a certain range of precision, then one may reduce the state of equilibrium of a zone of any thickness to a reduced zone of atomic thickness that is of polarized atoms, where a reversibility of orientation must be present, because otherwise there would appear incompatibility with the presuppositions as well as of the consequences, thus with the behavior as living. In order to present things pictorially, one would then say that denaturation doesn't yet set in when the mentioned oriented atoms became, for instance as a result of kinetic impact, more or less "deranged", but only when they become "overrun", when they are not surrounded by oriented atoms anymore and therefore have become unable to pick up this [oriented] state again, because the directional or orientational influence has become cancelled. A purely by-way-of-contact or even "at a distance" revitalization across distances of more than 1/2 to 1 atomic diameter looks improbable to us. A special configuration may energetically be "held", but a disintegrated special configuration [a special configuration] as we have it in the living condition, cannot simply be restored with the same material. That is the internal denaturation process. The so-called equilibrium can, as indicated above, usefully be equated with a kind of elasticity. Then one will be not far from the truth. As to details, these investigations demand a high degree of elaboration, which we may do at some later time.
The vital phase boundary [still as to its theoretical position] between outside and inside has, by the way, in the form of the fundamental quantization, real "walls" separating the two coexisting chemically configurative phase systems from each other, phase systems of the same, even the same intra-molecularly, substance. Surely, one should assume different chemical potentials in respectively the outside and inside states -- which [potentials] in fact would disturb the "equilibrium" -- but one may think of them as (apart from the many other possibilities) cancelled as a result of the fact that in each phase there are at least two mutually corresponding chemical parameters, for instance configurative state and energetic distribution, whose products or superposition effects are equal in size (after the type : a.b = constant). Because of a series of unclarified things, yet more detailed investigations are necessary to determine whether one indeed may, to the outside-inside transition, apply the general physical conditions of phase stability. Certainly there are formal analogues, for instance [in the outside-inside transition] there exists a same -- albeit strongly extended as a result of special factors -- metastability, as it is in [physical] phases, being stable against infinitely close [i.e. adjacent] states, whereas being unstable against the formation of entirely new phases with completely different properties [It is like the stability of a ball lying on a hollow ledge : it is stable against small perturbations, but will fall off into the ravine as a result of a strong kick]. A further formal similarity one finds in the fact (but again with corresponding extension) that the number of degrees of freedom in a 1-substance system with two phases [such as melting ice] is equal to one, meaning that a change of a single one of the essential conditions of state causes the change of further ones or all of them. This would express itself in the organismic world by the fact that there are many apparently unspecific kinds of denaturation, and so that practically every intervention results in the complete transformation of the whole system [at the location of the intervention].
In addition to the mentioned theoretic vital phase boundary, there is a practically organismic one, now more macrophysically seen, and therefore a vital phase boundary allowing the characterization "shiftable". This practically conceived vital phase boundary effectively sheds light onto the [theoretical] problems of dying and death. The contrast to dying and death is not so much birth, but developmental growth, in which (as to the complete space occupied) the vital phase boundary "appositionally" is shifted further outwards. In dying, death, and demise, it -- while "disintegrating" -- creeps further and further inwards under simultaneous disappearance of the life-principle, until at the "crash" onto itself, at whose moment also the last residue of organismic life has vanished, without leaving behind -- insofar system-analytically detectable -- more than its materially mechanical equivalents (total-organimic indicated as "corpse" ( NOTE 933 ) ). The quantitative material equivalent [of the previously living organism] -- as far as we can judge it -- has remained, the qualitative equivalent, on the other hand, is irretrievably scattered. Energetically one cannot or can hardly determine its residue [i.e. its previous presence], because the energetic difference is small anyway and surely much smaller than [in] all other possible simultaneous energetic processes, processes completely masking things.
The protoplasmatic denaturation membrane ( NOTE 934 ) sets in just as unavoidably as does a precipitation membrane at the contact between two appropriate solutions. In this case the one medium always is an aqueous non-living one (As a result of the strong hydration one may neglect the case of contact with the gaseous or solid outside. The phemomenon would turn out to be the same anyway). Of course the protoplasmatic denaturation membrane is only similar to a precipitation membrane at the first moment of formation or under markedly unphysiological, pathological conditions. The precipitation membrane subsequently behaves entirely differently ( NOTE 935 ).
The endogeneous ability [ability from within] to form a reversible surface membrane [i.e. a membrane which may be rendered undone] is an in many unicellular organisms present mechanical basic property of the protoplasmic substance and can be explained model-wise colloid-chemically. The transition into an irreversible membrane, later to be followed by an organ-like cell-skin as a result of complete denaturation (the living being cannot reverse this process but must, when necessary, crawl out of it ( NOTE 936 ) ) also is not a surprising or unsolvable problem anymore.
The interfacial protoplasmatic denaturation membrane was the very first organ of organismic life ( NOTE 937 ) and plays an inconspicuous but major role ever since (often in formations not expressing anymore this basic structure). The functional membrane, as we find it in recent life, is a product of the cell, and thus a secretion from its "content". Therefore its regulation is also a matter of the cell interior (an external agent has to "outsmart" or overpower the cell content, which would be, already from the beginning, an injury).
The basic task of the membrane functions is certainly the shielding off of the cell from its surroundings, but in addition this task is its [the shielding off's] gradual development, namely the permeability function. The clarification of the physical and chemical basics of vital permeability, - which one views not, by reason of the enormous flexibility, as a "morphostatic" but as a "morphokinetic" function (not the work of fixed structures, but of a changeable system), - is one of the most important objectives of biological research.
The multiformity of the protoplasm, also expressing itself, chemically and as to groupings, in the external membrane, [further,] the numerous substances present in the cell interior that can be deposited into the membrane, allow an uncountable number of possibilities for creating selective permeabilities, which then, moreover, can be permanent (constant) or temporarily, i.e. functionally and conditionally changing.
This selective permeability becomes especially impressive by the fact that for most also permeating substances there is no free passage (for instance through a kind of pores. Compare the seive-view of permeability), but a proximal adsorption precedes, or even a downright chemical bonding, so that the permeating substance -- after having sojourned in a kind of testing front yard of Life -- is so to say handed over ( NOTE 938 ) until reaching the distal end [of the "go-through channel"] ( NOTE 939 ).
Bilayer membranes are formed when two regions of living substance border to each other but where contact should be functionally strongly limited ( NOTE 940 ). It means that the denaturation membranes of both zones must be free from reversible revitalizing, which is accomplished by the fact that they are, on the one hand, rendered "foreign" as a result of deposition (insertion) and adsorption, and, on the other hand, become strengthened, and finally also separated from each other [the two denaturation membranes] as a result of an "inorganic" zone consisting of layers of oriented organic but not living (small) molecules, and, in cases, consisting of a strongly hydratized sol-gel layer. The necessary protoplasmatic and diffusion contact then takes place mainly through macro-pores, sometimes narrowed as a result of chemically movable, i.e. steeringly influential, plugs.
Finally, we must point to something important : The living system, seen as a whole, is precisely inversely constructed as compared with colloid-chemical systems often held to represent a fundamental aspect of living matter. In colloid-chemical systems [such as perhaps milk] there is an internal support-kernel (one should not take the "inside" precisely geometrically architectonically) which essentially recedes to the background and at most having an auxiliary function toward "outside"-lying molecularly dispersed substances which are the point of departure for special behavior. The charge-, adsorption- and other structural phenomena with the behavior of coagulations based on them, also belong here. In living systems, on the other hand, the "outside" is demonstrably completely free from self-special-effects, which in turn come from the true "inside". This "inside" unfortunately is only accessible to us through thought, whereas the practically experimental approach either directly concerns only the unspecific crystalloid external denaturation layer, or, at the moment of reaching it, i.e. the "inside", it changes the internal layer into external layer [The experimental intervention then turns "inside" into "outside"]. We always hit upon and find, only this "outside". We've said that the "inside" is only accessible by thought. We can even go further and say : at best accessible, because our consciousness is precisely the expression of this "inside".
After having, in the present document, concluded the Section on Denaturation in the context of Unimol, we continue our exposition of Unimol (largely following Oskar Müller, 1959) in the next document.
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