The Principle of Life

Second, revised and enlarged edition
(Gondolat, 1978)


Podstawy zycia

(Powszechna, Warsaw, 1986)


„A postscript which is practical to be read as a foreword,

since it was intended first to be a foreword, but the author did not want to disturb the formal-atmospherical unity of the previous edition, this is why it came to the end of the book as a postscript. The author wants to explain and excuse himself, and this is expediently done at the beginning, and not afterwards. May be that it is superfluous, but the author wanted to write a good book, and he was forced at certain places to compromise, concerning the space available, what he has to say and the diversity of the presumed readers. This is why he felt it necessary to ask for the patience of readers for several sentences.

The book is divided into three main parts. The first part  is a brief account on the changes about the concept of life in the course of time given in a logical, surveying way. Disregarding some minor improvements, it got into this edition in an unchanged form.    

The second part wants to provide a short, sketchy picture on the bases of the functions of todays living systems, built mainly on the results of molecular biology. This part is made especially for readers not skilled in biology. The author felt a big temptation to complement  this part with the newest, up-to-date data which have appeared since the first edition, but instead this, he rather shortened the text, and left only the most basic data in the book, as those left out do not belong to the essence of this book.

Finally, the third part is the real essence of this book. This is totally rewritten in this edition, because it was absolutely necessary. It wants to provide, if not a full, but logically closed system of theory concerning the essence and nature of life, together with its consequences. At writing the first edition, the theory lived its infant age, it was only a seedling, to the development of which the conditions were given just by the first edition of this book. The theory has grown since then to a branchy tree, thus it is worthy to outline in this second book not only the seedling, but also the grown up tree. 

The author wanted this book to be understandable for every interested reader, therefore the equations requiring higher education in mathematics were omitted, which could happen naturally at the cost of exactness. Thus these equations, at least the most important ones, are listed shortly in the appendix. 

It is a great pleasure for the author, if his book is a success, and read by numerous readers. From this book, surely immodestly, the author expects more. He expects that the readers get enlightened: the functioning of living systems, the nature of life can be understood, can be described by exact scientific means, it is projectable and organisable. And if the book contributed to the turning towards the scientific research of exact theoretical biology of some young scientists, the author would feel that his work was not useless.

Budapest, July 2, 1976                                                  Tibor Gánti"