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Unity expressed as a holding hands in a 3d graphic

From Anglo-French unite (c.1200), from Latin unitatem (nom. unitas) "oneness, sameness, agreement," from unus "one". Unity is defined as the state of being undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting. It is the smallest whole numeral representation. It has the quality of being united into one. Unity can denote a combining of all the parts, elements and individuals into an effective whole. It is appliable to people and objects forming whole notions of any concept. It implies oneness when there is a certain usual division.

Cellular unity

With regard to any given life system parameter, an organism may be a conformer or a regulator. Regulators try to maintain the parameter at a constant level over possibly wide ambient environmental variations. On the other hand, conformers allow the environment to determine the parameter. For instance, endothermic animals maintain a constant body temperature, while exothermic (both ectotherm and poikilotherm) animals exhibit wide body temperature variation. Examples of endothermic animals include mammals and birds, examples of exothermic animals include reptiles and some sea animals.

Conformers may still have behavioral adaptation allowing them to exert some control over a given parameter. For instance, reptiles often rest on sun-heated rock in the morning to raise their body temperature. Vice versa, regulators are usually responsive to external circumstances: if the same sun-baked boulder happens to host a ground squirrel, its metabolism will adjust to the lesser need for internal heat production.

An advantage of homeostatic regulation is that it allows an organism to function effectively in a broad range of environmental conditions. For example, ectotherms tend to become sluggish at low temperatures, whereas a co-located endotherm may be fully active. That thermal stability comes at a price since an automatic regulation system requires additional energy. One reason snakes may eat only once a week is that they use much less energy to maintain homeostasis.

Spiritual unity

Three core assertions of the Bahá'í Faith, sometimes termed the "three onenesses", are central in the teachings of the religion. They are the Oneness of God, the Oneness of Religion and the Oneness of Humanity. They are also referred to as the unity of God, unity of religion, and unity of mankind. The Bahá'í writings state that there is a single, all powerful god, revealing his message through a series of divine messengers or educators, regarding them as one progressively revealed religion, to one single humanity, who all possess a rational soul and only differ according to colour and culture. This idea is fundamental not only to explaining Bahá'í beliefs, but explaining the attitude Bahá'ís have towards other religions, which they regard as divinely inspired. The acceptance of every race and culture in the world has brought Bahá'í demographics an incredible diversity, becoming the second most widespread faith in the world, and translating its literature into over 800 languages.

In Kabbalah, unity amongst people is a method for achieving spirituality. Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag stated in his article, "Unity of Friends," that “the important thing that stands before you today is the unity of friends. Toil in that more and more, for it can compensate for all the faults.” His son, Kabbalist Baruch Ashlag, also emphasized a method among friends that involved unity to reach the spiritual. In previous generations Kabbalists such as Rav Abraham Kook argued that the affirmation of God aspires to reveal unity in the world as it is the basis of all spiritual knowledge and one the highest notions which mankind can perceive.

Sense of community

Sense of community (or psychological sense of community) is a concept in social psychology (or more narrowly, in community psychology), as well as in several other research disciplines, such as urban sociology, which focuses on the experience of community rather than its structure, formation, setting, or other features. Sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, and others have theorized about and carried out empirical research on community, but the psychological approach asks questions about the individual's perception, understanding, attitudes, feelings, etc. about community and his or her relationship to it and to others' participation – indeed to the complete, multifaceted community experience.

In his seminal 1974 book, psychologist Seymour B. Sarason proposed that Psychological Sense of Community become the conceptual center for the psychology of community, asserting that it "is one of the major bases for self-definition." By 1986 it was regarded as a central overarching concept for Community Psychology (Sarason, 1986; Chavis & Pretty, 1999).

Among theories of Sense of Community proposed by psychologists, McMillan & Chavis's (1986) is by far the most influential, and is the starting point for most of the recent research in the field. It is discussed in detail below.

In physics and chemistry

A heterogeneous mixture is a mixture of two or more compounds. Examples are: mixtures of sand and water or sand and iron filings, a conglomerate rock, water and oil, a salad, trail mix, and concrete (not cement). During the sampling of heterogeneous mixtures of particles, the variance of the sampling error is generally non-zero. Gy's sampling theory quantitatively defines the heterogeneity of a particle as:

h_i = \frac{(c_i - c_\text{batch})m_i}{c_\text{batch} m_\text{aver}} .

where h_i, c_i, c_\text{batch}, m_i, and m_\text{aver} are respectively: the heterogeneity of the ith particle of the population, the mass concentration of the property of interest in the ith particle of the population, the mass concentration of the property of interest in the population, the mass of the ith particle in the population, and the average mass of a particle in the population.

In chemical kinetics, a heterogeneous reaction is one that takes place at the interface of two or more phases, i.e. between a solid and a gas, a liquid and a gas, or a solid and a liquid. In heterogeneous catalysis the catalyst is in a different phase from the substrate.

Ecological homeostasis

Ecological homeostasis is found in a climax community of maximum permitted biodiversity, given the prevailing ecological conditions.

An early 19th Century image of Krakatoa

An example of disturbed ecosystems or sub-climax biological communities was the island of Krakatoamarker after its major eruption in 1883: the established stable homeostasis of the previous forest climax ecosystem was destroyed and all life eliminated from the island. In the years after the eruption, Krakatoa went through a sequence of ecological changes in which successive groups of new plant or animal species followed one another, leading to increasing biodiversity and eventually culminating in a re-established climax community. This ecological succession on Krakatoa occurred in a number of stages; a sere is defined as "a stage in a sequence of events by which succession occurs". The complete chain of seres leading to a climax is called a prisere. In the case of Krakatoa, the island reached its climax community, with eight hundred different recorded species, in 1983, one hundred years after the eruption that cleared all life off the island. Evidence confirms that this number has been homeostatic for some time, with the introduction of new species rapidly leading to elimination of old ones.

The evidence of Krakatoa, and other disturbed or virgin ecosystems, shows that the initial colonization by pioneer or R strategy species occurs through positive feedback reproduction strategies, wherein species are weeds, producing huge numbers of possible offspring, but investing little in the success of any one. Rapid boom and bust plague or pest cycles are observed with such species. As an ecosystem starts to approach climax, these species get replaced by more sophisticated climax species, which, through negative feedback, adapt themselves to specific environmental conditions. These species, closely controlled by carrying capacity, follow K strategies, wherein species produce fewer numbers of potential offspring, but invest more heavily in securing the reproductive success of each one to the micro-environmental conditions of its specific ecological niche.

Consensus decision-making

Consensus decision-making is a group decision making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also the resolution or mitigation of minority objections. Consensus is usually defined as meaning both general agreement, and the process of getting to such agreement. Consensus decision-making is thus concerned primarily with that process.

While not as common as other decision-making procedures, such as the parliamentary procedure explained in Robert's Rules of Order, consensus is used by a wide variety of groups. Religious denominations such as the Quakers, economic policy bodies including the Dutch Polder Model and historical Hanseatic League, anarchist organizations such as Food Not Bombs and various infoshops, many non-governmental organizations, online forums and projects such as Wikipedia, and even entire nations such as the Haudenosaunee use consensus decision-making.


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