The term poiesis comes from the Greek and literally means production or creation. Originally this word was used in the field of philosophy and art to refer to any type of creative process . If we add the prefix auto, which is equivalent to by itself, we form the concept autopoiesis, which means the creation of something by itself. Autopoiesis
A neologism proposed by two Chilean biologists in the early 1970s
Questions about the origin of life and the evolution of living things pose an intellectual challenge for biologists. We know the metabolic processes that affect organisms and they seem to have a spontaneous life cycle. This general idea inspired Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to propose a new idea: every living organism can produce itself. In other words, everything that is alive is autopoietic.
This means that the phenomenon of life on our planet can be explained as if it were a system of molecules that changes in a cyclical way based on the system’s own internal mechanism. Autopoiesis
An idea that allows us to reflect the meaning of life
When observing any living organism, we are likely to ask a question about its origin. In this sense, biologists discuss the first bacterium and how it became more complex until the subsequent appearance of different species. It can be said that the idea of autopoiesis is an epistemological principle, as it deals with the theory of knowledge about life itself.
Although the emergence of life on Earth is an enigma for biologists and astrobiologists, the idea of autopoiesis presents itself as a possible solution to the enigma. Thus, according to the central thesis defended by their creators, all living phenomena are self-created from their own internal systems. Autopoiesis
When we think of a serious illness , the doctor prescribes a treatment and gives guidance to the patient for its cure, but who is really cured or not is the patient. In other words, we either get healed or we die. This simple example tells us that humans are a biological system and its functioning depends on the autopoietic mechanism. Death occurs when the mechanism of self-production ceases to function.
The idea of autopoiesis has philosophical implications
First, the living being has no end, as each biological entity depends on its own self-regulation.
On the other hand, if there is no purpose in nature, it means that there is neither force nor God to determine the evolution of living beings.
Finally, Maturana and Varela’s reflections on biology and autopoiesis were expressed in a book published in 1972, “On machines and living beings”. Autopoiesis