Page précédente

- 1.2 - Breakdown of the masses of both abiotic and biotic components

par Denys LÉPINARD

Page suivante


The article about universal classification having shown six complexity levels for matter organisation as far as both living and non-living components are concerned, it seems interesting to ask the following questions :

  • Can we bring to the fore any regularities across these levels ?

  • Do matter and living beings increase while crossing from one level to the next, and if so, can we quantify such an increase ?

This classification is based on quantities, on the number, either large or small, of components mustered together within one given individual or one assembly. While keeping to this point of view, I shall first try by coherence to assess how many components Nature increases by, at each level. It is legitimate enough a question, firstly to perceive the dimension of our classification. It is yet more legitimate if we consider that numbering its components allows to gauge the ability for a being to muster them and make them function together. In a way, it measures its complexity. I shall analyse consequences later on.


We shall concentrate on individuals, since they prove more reactive to their own environment. For this very reason, I will refer to this category. As a unit, I will take the simplest individual, namely the hydrogen atom. From there, I'll be in a position to express the mass of all other individuals in number of hydrogen atoms - or that of protons - that is to say in daltons. From then on, resorting to a Cartesian, I will simply represent on the X-axis the 6 levels evenly spaced, and on the Y axis the logarithm to the base 2, showing the number of protons that are contained in one given individual of each level. I have opted for the logarithm to the base 2, which proves better suited for information treatment by binary units (Brillouin). The relevance of such choice will appear as part of further works to be added to the Web later on.

In order to smooth away some difficulties linked to the differences in masses within a given level, may I suggest to follow this track :

An organism must have internal communication lines at its disposal to live, namely nerve cells which are larger than average cells. In order to function, cells must have chromatin, which is amid the largest enzymatic systems. And, this chromatin, particularly its DNA, consists of nucleic bases (purines and pyrimides) which are not the smallest monomer molecules. That is to say that in order to build the level L + 1, the level L must have previously generated sizeable components, whose size will by far overstep the average of their level.

1.2.2 Noteworthy individuals.

It is then interesting to try and determine, for each level L, the minimal size of individuals allowing to build individuals at level L + 1, which in turn will be able to contribute to the construction of level L + 2 and so on. In line with such research, we will see that individuals so selected are those that treat the information and resort to it so as to organise the level above.

  • At molecular level, nucleic bases are interesting. Amid them adenine (135 Daltons) is of average mass. It is according to Gilles-Éric Séralini, the basic element of a "barrel of energy", the nucleotide, which "is in use not only in genetic code and molecules that transmit DNA information to the rest of the cell, but it is also used so as to help enzymes .... or so as to carry energy across (p.106).


  • The chromatin (DNA + histone), the entire duplication system of DNA, encloses information of the given cell and controls its diffusion. It is at this stage that protein making is decided, by joint action of operator / repressor couple. The smallest unit is nucleosome, and the largest one a large chromosome. The average-sized chromatin is around 108 daltons.


  • Nerve cell is the fundamental unit of animal behaviour. Multicellular organism neurones treat information that was conveyed from outside by sense organs. Decision to react upon stimuli emerges from circuits of nerve cells which are more or less large in size. Many mammalian or human motor neurones are rated at approximately 5.1016 daltons.


  • After which, in order to keep to our definition; I had to find an animal which participates in upper level organisation. There are a lot we could quote, but in this field man seems to play a preferential role as organiser (sometimes disorganiser) of his environment. His average weight is close to 70 kg.


  • Finally, on the level yet further above, I was left with no choice since we know only one individual, namely the biosphere, whose mass - the biomass - , is estimated to be close to 1041 protons.

These masses and their logarithms to the base 2 are displayed on table 2.1.. On the graph 2.2 below, I present with vertical bars these logarithmic values of masses of noteworthy individuals in front of their level number.





log2 P

0- Atomic




1- Molecular




2- Enzymatic




3- Cellular




4- Animal

Man (70 kg)



5- Biomic




Table 2.1


Graph 2.2

The disposition of graph 2.2 is striking :

- due to regularity of progress which reveals a continuity between inert and living that we have already shown off by the succession of levels, and which seems to indicate a self-amplified motion.This general look corroborates the justice of regular disposition of levels, from 0 to 5, on horizontal axis.

From what we already know either on inert or living matter, nothing allowed to foresee such facts. That is important to point out especially as we will be able to study thoroughly these points later on.


Indeed, the points are defined only for those values, and the dotted curve simply joins them together. Perhaps as though some specific properties would be set, on these very spots. We may think of a kind of resonance that seems mainly linked to masses in presence. For a given organisation level, individuals with certain masses, therefore mustering a certain number of components, could function in a better way, thanks to properties appearing and developing, i.e. mainly balanced exchanges between both internal and external parts of these beings (CF Ontostat).


home page previous page next page Denys Lépinard