Archive for the ‘M is for Morphogenesis’ Category

M is for Morphogenesis

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

The term morphogenesis arises in biology. The term is derived from “morpho” from the word morphology, which is the study of structure and form, and “genesis” which means to generate or create. Morphogenesis or “the coming into being of form” is typically the study of embryology, but has now been extended to fields such as architecture, sociology, organizations and plate tectonics due to society’s interest and understanding of how complex, dynamic systems give rise to particular forms of geometry and structure. The view that the creation of form is a dynamic, emergent process stems from new biology. According to biologist Brian Goodwin, morphogenesis is the emergence of meaning from a conversation that is taking place through the signaling and receiving process between genes and the networks that are controlling them. Another contemporary view, presented by biologist Rupert Sheldrake, says that morphogenetic fields generate form, whereby organisms and systems are formed by “tuning into” previous and similar organisms and systems whose data resides within invisible information fields that exist in nature. Overall, what’s suggested is that form is not gene-centric but, rather, a creative process where network-thinking and ambiguity allow for possibilities to emerge. And, if there is a creative intelligence at work in the evolutionary process, then form could be seen as merely nature’s expression of itself.