In Biological sciences, ecological system is said to be one which sustains itself through mutual dependence of all its members and their cohabitation. The family I cohabit with my classmates as roommates is also such an instance of organic ecosystem. Thus instead of exclusively being based on hereditary filiations, family can also be founded on alliance and more specifically, ecological-economical alliance between completely distinct individuals who share no hereditary traits in common. Thus this specific paradigm of family which I attempt to explicate is a family which is an organic extension of participatory individuals who live on the basis of day to day sharing of resources through complementing each other by everyone’s specific function in this concerned ecosystem. Such is my family which is consisted of me and my classmates with whom I cohabit and share our apartment, space for living and resources for living. Thus this social bond within our ‘family’ is though not that of hereditary or filial, it is certainly ecological and organic and in this sense ‘Familial’. I want to discuss this paradigm of family and the social-organic-ecological bond which operates therein through three main and specific points i.e. Economical togetherness, common collective purpose and Emotional or mental dependence upon each other. Therefore, with these three aspects my family is just like an organic ecosystem.
One of my roommates stands for atmosphere as it manages the ecology economically so does she. She ordains roles to every other member for direct contribution of labour or economic management in the household. Economy is a fundamental aspect of an ecosystem and Family is founded on such economical-ecological management. To demonstrate this organic and ecological aspect of my family, I will begin with Havigerová’s article “Teacher’s Subjective Definition of family”, which says “Family is a co-operative unit; families shared the principle of division of labour” (2508). There are two sides of this economical togetherness, firstly managing the resources in an efficient economical way for all of us who partake in my family and secondly contributing to the economy of family by every member in their distinguishing ways. In my household we divide all the expenditures from water to electricity within us and contribute accordingly and this idea of economical sharing makes living easier for us without burdening one individual with heavy expenses for their livelihood. There is another side of this economical dimension to family, which is contributing directly to the economy of family by giving certain labours which can range from cleaning rooms, cleaning bathrooms to cooking foods. In all these cases we distribute the labours accordingly within us, if one of us is supposed to clean bathroom the others also need to contribute their labours by cooking food for everyone or doing other miscellaneous things. This way of sharing labour is necessary for the maintenance of the household and sharing the expenses are two indispensable dimensions for the economic management of our family. This clearly indicates that economy is one of the important aspects for the livelihood of an ecosystem. It is such as it indicates the essential organic aspect which lies there in the heart of the concept of family, which though something extra beyond every individual partaking in it, nevertheless appears as a collective organ which is in disposal of every individual in the system; family i.e. my reflection of family is thus an extra super-organ of the individual.
My second roommate is like water to the ecosystem that is my family. He helps every one of us in studying and figuring out our lessons and solves complicated academic problems. Following his allegory, my second point in elucidating my notion of family would be the other dimension which ties some individuals into a family unit, which is the collective common purpose per se. We know what ties a group of animals or species together and propels them to co-habit or bear a certain common destiny can be evolutionary purpose or purpose for survival. For humans this purpose can be diverse as well as complex. To give an instance, in my family with which I am concerning myself in this essay, has a common collective purpose in the sense that all members of our household are my class mates and we have a common academic purpose as well. We help each other in studying, solving enigmatic problems and helping out in preparation for exams to name a few. In this sense our common purpose lead us to empathize with each other’s problem and joining hand in hand to surpass each other’s limitation. This paradigm of my notion of family resonates with one of the paradigm articulated as “a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation” (Havigerová et al. 2508). In my family, I and other members share a common affiliation with each other that of being a student and having a common academic purpose which makes us ‘a group of people united by a common affiliation’. This commonality of affiliation is another organic aspect of my family ecosystem.
Now I will talk about my third roommate who plays the role of sun in the ecology. As sun holds together the common bond of all living kinds so does he. Thus the third aspect which justifies my topic of family as organic ecosystem is the emotional social bond discernible therein. The referred article says that “family members have emotional ties” (Havigerová et al. 2508). There can be no social system or human eco-system without emotional ties, emotional ties oblige each partaker to take certain emotional responsibilities for other family members. Now these emotional ties can be defined as a group counselling as ups and downs in one individual’s life in this ecosystem which I call family, concerns all the others. Thus one is always free to speak in my family about their perils, their frustrations and whenever else one demands emotional supports kin combating their life’s miseries. In a case of grief of one of our classmate and loss of her beloved one, we accompanied her in combating with her grief and melancholia. In this sense one’s problem, one’s trouble with life and mind affects the whole ecosystem of our family so much that the others cannot but lend their ears and emotional support to the person in grief. This mutual support is undoubtedly another dimension of collective life we try to embody in our family.
These three demonstrations are aimed at pointing out how my family and my notion of family is nothing less than an ecosystem, it is an ecosystem participated by different social bonds, which impact it deeply. Economy, collective purpose and emotional ties are such three parameters of this organic ecosystem we inhabit. The use of the word organic is almost literal in here, as any animal accomplishes certain functions on their environment by the usage of their organs i.e. to survive, to evolve not unlike to my notion of family which is just another organ but which does not exclusively belong to any particular agent or individual, rather it is a super organ. A family is thus an excess over individual i.e. a collective super organ from which all the members draw their vitality and livelihood in some manner or the other.