On the principle of substance stability

G.P. Gladyshev

International Academy of Creative Endeavors (science-culture); Russian Academy of Sciences, N.N. Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics, 117997, Moscow, Kosygin str. 4; E-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра. or Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

The principle of substance stability describes the tendency of natural systems to seek local and general equilibria at all temporal and structural levels of organization of matter. This principle allows us from the position of hierarchical thermodynamics identify the causes of aging and many diseases.

Keywords: thermodynamics, principle of substance stability, evolution, aging, cancer, sociology

The principle of substance stability establishes a predominant direction of stable and unstable atomic and molecular movements between hierarchies. The principle of substance stability was formulated by the author in 1977.

In concise form, the "principle of substance stability" states that:

"During the formation or self-assembly of the most thermodynamically stable structures at the highest hierarchical level (j), e.g., the supramolecular level, Nature, in accordance with the second law, spontaneously uses predominantly the least thermodynamically stable structures available from a given local part of the biological system, belonging to a lower level, i.e. molecular level (j-1), and incorporates these unstable structures into next higher level, i.e. supramolecular level (j)."

In short, the principle of substance stability argues that each subsystem of the biosphere evolves according to its thermodynamic tendency to seek a free energy minimum during each evolution cycle. The principle applied to molecular and supramolecular structures was named “the principle of the stability of a chemical substance”. Subsequently this principle was applied by the author to various hierarchies as a part of the theory of the evolution of life. This principle is also known as: the principle of stability of matter, the principle of substance stability, the feedback principle.

As an illustration, in the course of ontogenesis and phylogenies the supramolecular structures of tissues, i.e., a higher level of structure j, as compared to the molecular level j-1, accumulate relatively unstable molecules or substances with a relatively high chemical energy capacity; for example, triglycerides, which force water out of these tissues. Similar phenomena occur in equilibrium molecular chromatographic columns; specifically, hydrophobic cells and columns. All chemists know about it. These columns accumulate substance with a high energy capacity. These facts do not surprise us, although open heterogeneous adsorbent (absorbent) – adsorbate systems, approaching supramolecular equilibria, on the whole, move away from chemical equilibrium with the environment.  

There are some facts that call for application of the principle of substance stability to the hierarchy of cells. Thus, tumor cells have a lower ability for aggregation. As a result, they easily move in the body, which leads to the appearance of metastases. The cell membranes of tumor cells are, apparently, formed from supramolecular structures of increased stability. Hence, the supramolecular stability of cell aggregates formed with the participation of tumor cells should be lowered according to the principle in question. In order to increase the adhesive ability of the cells, the structure of membranes should be “diluted” and made less thermodynamically stable. Hence, it is clear why experimental anticancer diets propose the use of plant oils, fats of animals from cold seas, and other products containing residues of unsaturated low-melting-point fatty acids. The anti-tumor effect of aspirin can also be explained on the basis of such statements. These ideas agree with the recommendations made using the thermodynamic theory of aging. The principle of substance stability allows us to understand the effect of the influence of some chemical substances on the supramolecular structures of nucleic acids. As a result of the action of such substances, “sleeping” ancient genes, accumulated during the evolution of living beings, can awaken. These genes can stimulate some types of cancer.                                                 

A well-known fact in the sphere of sociology concerning family ties illustrates the relationship between the principle of substance stability and a social hierarchy. Here, we have in mind the substance, i.e. elemental structures, of any “inside” social hierarchy being here defined as an understructure hierarchy; e.g., a hierarchy of organisms, groups of organisms, etc. For example, the stronger the love and mutual understanding between a couple, i.e. the understructure hierarchy, the less time they spend “outside” the family, i.e. the “overstructure hierarchy”. Such spouses do not have the desire, power, or time for this. Here we see, surprisingly, that hierarchical thermodynamics applies aptly to human life situations.

Furthermore, the principle of substance stability corresponds with the well-known rules of maintenance of stability of parties, unions, states, and nations. One can comprehend in this way the age-old social management methods as “divide and rule.”  The composition variation of chemical elements (atoms) during biological evolution and aging of living beings corresponds to “the principle of substance stability”.



From a general point of view, we can make the statement. We can assume that the principle of substance stability is asymmetric. It sets the time axis for the development of hierarchical structures in the universe. The asymmetry of principle is similar to "the asymmetric action" of the second law, which also sets the time axis of evolution. It follows that the principle of substance stability respect to the pairing of complementary nucleobases requires the known chirality of ribose and deoxyribose in chains of nucleonic acids.





 1. Gladyshev, Georgi, P. (1978). On the Thermodynamics of Biological Evolution . Journal of Theoretical Biology,75, Issue 4, 425-441.

2. Gladyshev, Georgi. (2007). Leonhard Euler's Methods and Ideas Live in the Thermodynamic Hierarchical Theory of Biological Evolution. International Journal of Applied Mathematics & Statistics, 11,  No. V07; http://www.ceser.in/ceserp/index.php/ijamas/article/view/1014

 3. Thims, Libb, Molecular evolution table*

* The author (G.P. Gladyshev) believes that living beings and bodies of nonliving matter cannot be considered as molecules. http://www.eoht.info/page/Molecular+evolution+table

4. Gladyshev, Georgi, P. (2006). The Principle of Substance Stability Is  Applicable to All Levels of Organization of Living Matter , Int. J. Mol. Sci., 7, 98-110 (PDF format, 130 K).

5. Gladyshev, Georgi. Biological evolution, development and aging of living beings. http://gladyshevevolution.wordpress.com/article/thermodynamic-theory-of-evolution-of-169m15f5ytneq-3/  

6. Gladyshev G.P. What is life? Bio-physical perspectives. 


7.  Gladyshev G.P. (2012).Thermodynamic theory of evolution and aging. Advances in Gerontology,  25.   Nu. 3. 373-385. http://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=17953877 www.gerontology.ru/PDF_YG/AG_2012-25-03.pdf  http://npcriz.ru/files/ag_2012_3/  

 8. Gladyshev, Georgi. (2011). New information: Some articles that describe details of the thermodynamic theory of biological evolution and aging. gladyshevevolution http://gladyshevevolution.wordpress.com/ 


See also: http://www.eoht.info/page/Principle+of+substance+stability