von Bartalanffy and biological systems

Ludwig von Bartalanffy ponders on the difficulties in trying to apply the 2nd law of thermodynamics to living biological systems. This law implies that entropy increases over time in physical systems.

Biological systems, however, are recognized as maintaining a continual state of flux. Never stationary or fixed in chemical or thermodynamic equilibrium, its components are constantly altered by metabolic events.

A system compensates for its deterioration by importing and processing energy. It attains dynamic equilibrium– between its own improbable state and the surrounding environment (Bertalanffy, 1968b, pp. 46-48; General Systems Theory. New York: George Braziler, 1968.)

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Jun 20, 2006  ]