Jain Biology ► [01] Biology : Science Of Living Organisms ► Living And Non-Living

Posted: 01.09.2009

In its composition, a living organism contains no special element but is mainly made up of some 16 of the 92 elements that occur naturally on the earth. Its functioning is governed by some unique biological laws. The essence of living organism is the set of principles determining the transmission of genetic information from one generation to the next. Besides free will, which is the chief characteristic of life, a living organism also possesses all of the following attributes of organization: excitability, conductivity, contractibility, metabolism, growth and reproduction. One or more of these, but not all, may be possessed by non-living matter. Thus the characteristics of the living are:

  1. Living organisms can grow, reproduce and move;
  2. They are cellular (except for a few);
  3. They convert food into energy;
  4. They are irritable and adaptable;
  5. Each has a span of life after which it dies.

Now the question is, - what is death? The keynote of life is organisation. The body is a living organism and is made up of cells which are specialized for specific functions. They are arranged in an intricate but organized pattern to suit the functions of the body. Cells are grouped into organs and systems and the integrated sum of these systems is the living organism Death occurs when the organisation breaks down. Thus organization is life, disorder is death. Life is like a spark ready to kindle fires everywhere. Every living organism carries this spark which has been passed on to it from generation to generation. Therefore, 'All life is one'. This is called the Principle of Unity of Life.

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