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Submitted by jdp on Wed, 05/04/2022 - 02:13 pm

Everything is connected to everything else has been called the First Law—of ecology, of geography, and of environmental science. But why do environmental systems become so highly connected, and generally remain that way? Not quite satisfied to just say that's the way it is, and following Aristotle, who said that nature does nothing without purpose, I've been working on an answer to the why The First Law holds. I've produced a manuscript on this called Why Everything is Connected to Everything Else, abstract below, and attached to this post. I'm calling this a preprint, in hopes that it may eventually be published somewhere. But experience suggests that my odds of getting into a scientific journal are not great. Comments, criticisms, and corrections are welcome. 


In Earth surface systems (ESS), everything is connected to everything else, an aphorism often called the First Law of Geography and of ecology. Such linkages are not always direct and unmediated, but many ESS, represented as networks of interacting components, attain or approach full, direct connectivity among components. The question is how and why this happens at the system or network scale. The crowded landscape concept dictates that linkages and connections among ESS components are inevitable. The connection selection concept holds that the linkages among components are advantageous to the network and are selected for and thereby preserved and enhanced. These network advantages are illustrated via algebraic graph theory.  For a given number of components in an ESS, as the number of links or connections increases, spectral radius, graph energy, and algebraic connectivity increase. While the advantages (if any) of increased complexity are unclear, higher spectral radii are directly correlated with higher graph energy. The greater E(g)is associated with more intense feedback in the system, and tighter coupling among components. This in turn reflects advantageous properties of more intense cycling of water, nutrients, and minerals, as well as multiple potential degrees of freedom for individual components to respond to changes. The increase of algebraic connectivity reflects a greater ability or tendency for the network to respond in concert to changes. 

Do a online search for images related to "everything is related to everything else," and you will find a lot of inspirational posters with quotes from famous people. This is one of them.