The phrase “form follows function” is a principle associated with modern architecture and industrial design. It centers on the idea that the shape of anything designed should be centered on its intended function or purpose. Form and function are certainly intertwined. We cannot use a holey bucket to carry water. Form enables function or purpose. If we use this as a lens through which to look at ourselves some interesting thoughts come out. Because of this, we can infer our function as biological creatures through our form.
Cells are sometimes called the basic unit of biological life. When working properly, they consist of a community of interdependent structures which function as a unified whole. Although parts within the cellular system perform different tasks, they share a unified purpose toward nourishing the whole system as a community. This principle of shared purpose in the context of a community of mutual dependence for nourishment does not stop at the boundary of the cell. In human biology cells must cooperate with each other to compose organs. Organs must also demonstrate this mutually nourishing cooperative relationship in the context of body community. We also see this in the shared relationships between many other biological life forms such as bacteria, plants and the environment as a whole body of life. Without this web of relationships with other biological life forms and the environment our biological form breaks down.
We depend on each other to work together as a community for life. This is the community principle. It is our nature, and finding our place as a nourishing contributor in the context of our local community, and as a species in the context of the whole body of life, is our purpose. This is what nature speaks to us through its structure.
Pretty nourishing thought… huh?