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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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COLLOIDAL BEHAVIOUR
115
That living organisms are film-bounded and partitioned systems accounts also for irritability. It appears that irritability manifests itself as sensitiveness to electrical currents. These currents seem to depend on polarizability or resistance to the passage of ions, owing to the presence of semi-permeable boundary films or surfaces enclosing or partitioning the system. It is obvious that we are here dealing with complex structures which are intimately connected with the characteristics of life. Living protoplasm is electrically sensitive only as long as its structure is intact. With death, semi-permeability and polarizability are lost, together with electrical sensitivity.
One of the baffling peculiarities of organisms is the rapidity with which the chemical and metabolic processes spread. Indeed, it is impossible to explain this by the transportation of material. All evidence shows that electrical and, perhaps, other energy factors play an important role; and that this activity again depends on the presence of surfaces of protoplasmic structures with electrode-like characteristics which form circuits.
The great importance of the electrical charges of the colloidal particles arises out of the fact that they prevent particles from coalescing; and when these charges are neutralized, the particles tend to form larger aggregates and settle out of the solution. Because of these charges, when an electrical current is sent through a colloidal solution, the differently charged particles wander to one or the other electrode. This process is called cataphoresis. There is an important difference in behaviour in inorganic and organic colloids under the influence of electrical currents, and this is due to the difference in structure. In inorganic colloids, an electrical current does not coagulate the whole, but only that portion of it in the immediate vicinity of the electrodes. Not so in living protoplasm. Even a weak current usually coagulates the entire protoplasm, because the inter-cellular films probably play the role of electrodes and so the entire protoplasm structurally represents the 'immediate vicinity' of the electrodes.' Similarly, structure also accounts for the extremely rapid spread of some effects upon the whole of the organism.
Electrical phenomena in living tissue are mainly of two more or less distinct characters. The first include electromotive energy which produces electrical currents in nerve tissue, the membrane potentials,. The second are called, by Freundlich, electrokinetic, and include cataphoresis, agglutination,. There is much evidence that the mechanical work of the muscles, the secretory action of the glands, and the electrical work of the nerve cells are closely connected with the colloidal structure of these tissues. This would explain why any factor (semantic reactions included)