The presence of information in natural systems is not limited to genetic information: all aspects of the functioning of the systems that arise and evolve in nature imply the presence of information (where “information” is used in the sense analogous to that in software systems: it is what codes the behavior of the hardware – in this case, the systems manifest in nature). A key indicator of the presence and adequacy of information in these systems is the coherence discovered within, and between, the systems (where “coherence” is intended as the mutual responsiveness of every part of a system in relation to every other part as well as in relation to other systems in the environment). Information-based coherence is a sine qua non of the persistence and development of systems in nature. In the biosphere the information present in the systems assures their health and viability. Species operating with imperfect information are less-than-optimally coherent and are ultimately eliminated by natural selection. In the human world, however, incoherence between humans, and between humans and other natural systems is artificially maintained, endangering the overall coherence of the web of life in the biosphere. With the information-base of contemporary civilization, the human community represents a cancer rather than a positive factor in the web of life. Restoration of adequate levels of coherence in the human world has now become a precondition of thriving, and in the long-term even of surviving, in the biosphere.
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