Maturana And Varela's The Tree Of Knowledge

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Have we ever given much thought to the knowledge of how we know? What allows us to understand the world around us? How can we explain behavior and our cognition itself? We are always set to think that what we see, hear, experience is certainty. What we experience day-to-day is reality, and there is no other form of it. However, can I be too certain that how I see things is always how others will as well? With a little outside-of-the-box thinking, the answers to these questions lie in the basics of our existence. In the book The Tree of Knowledge, Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela explain this idea of perceived reality and the theory of the cognitive thought by breaking down the concepts of biology, evolution, and the impacts structure …show more content…
Basically, in order to explain knowledge, we need to explore the biological roots of cognition. This can be extremely hard for the reader to understand, and quite frankly it is not the easiest concept to grasp. Maturana and Varela break down this concept by starting from a very basic point of biology. They explain that “the biological roots of knowing cannot be understood only through examining the nervous system; we believe it is necessary to understand how these processes are rooted in the living being as a whole” (p. 34). The organization of living beings is classified in its own group. According to the authors, living beings are categorized as autopoietic, meaning that all living beings are self-producing (p. 43). However, because of a complex transformation process requiring both components of dynamics (metabolism) and boundary (membrane) to transform and create new product, “their organization is such that their only product is themselves, with no separation between the producer and product” …show more content…
First discussed is the historical phenomenon, which means, “each time in a system that a state arises as a modification of a previous state, we have a historical phenomenon” (p.57). They also describe that when we reproduce or replicate, just like that of a Xerox copy, the ones following are not identical. The copies resemble the original, and the copy provides enough resemblance that when looked at, the same body of text can be read, creating this historical lineage. It is interesting to note that in these terms, we create a “gigantic and diverse historic network” (p. 94) and the survival of this lineage is dependent on environmental triggers. As explained by the authors, “the ontegenic structural change of a living being in an environment always occurs as a structural drift congruent with the structural drift of the environment” (p. 103). As Charles Darwin has once considered, we can see how from this perspective as the changes that occurred to be “selected”. Applying both concepts of evolution and heredity, the authors define evolution as a natural drift with the conservation of autopoiesis as the

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