While doing some browsing I came across a book that looks like it might be interesting. Has anyone heard of it? It's called The Rainbow And The Worm: The Physics of Organisms by Mae-Wan Ho.
I found the book interesting and the author's approach appealing. I haven't read the Fifth Option or other such books - so my take my opinion fwiw. It is a dense read with math. Her system model is in line with 4th Way cosmology imo.
She approaches living systems from both thermodynamic, electromagnetic and quantum perspectives. Her model of a living system (she mentions both organisms and the earth) is one of "organized heterogenity and dynamism" which makes bulk thermodynamical approaches unsuitable for studying such systems. Spatial organization wise, various processes in a living organism encompass a scale varying over 10 orders of magnitude - from 0.1 nano meters for interactions between molecules to meters for movement patterns in large animals. Temporally, resonant energy transfer processes occur in the scale of ~10 femto seconds while circannual rhythms take 1 year. Living systems are like nested russian dolls - or coupled energy flow cycles - with no sharp demarcation of a system boundary. This corresponds to the cosmoses in 4th Way.
In her thermodynamic considerations of living systems, she stresses on the importance of energy storage under energy flow rather than just energy flow or energy dissipation. Stored energy builds up structures which in turn affect energy flows. Taking an analogy, smooth flow of water in a lake can be seen as energy flow. Formation of eddies would be some organized structures which store energy and affect the flow of water (energy) around it. The eddies arise and stay for some time before dissipating - representing what we understand as life cycles. Greater the complexity and coherence of the structure, longer it takes to dissipate. This formulation corresponds to the concept of "bodies" in 4th Way with higher being bodies having higher coherence (energy) and longer life spans.
Mae Wan Ho states that her thermodynamic model of organized complexity depends upon the space-time structure and its heterogenity (unlike thermodynamic analyses which ignore space-time). This allows for free variation of microscopic states within macroscopic constraints. She formulates her thermodynamic model thus
The organism can be regarded, in effect, as a closed, self-sufficient energetic domain of cyclic non-dissipative processes coupled to irreversible dissipative processes. In the formalism of conventional thermodynamics, the life cycle, or more precisely, the living system in dynamic equilibrium, consists of all cyclic processes for which the net entropy change is zero, coupled to dissipative processes necessary to keep it going, for which the net entropy change is greater than zero.
In other words, there is an internal entropy compensation as well as coherent energy conservation due to the predominance of coupled cyclic processes and the nested space-time organisation of the processes. That means the system maintains its organisation (or negative-entropy state) while it is metabolising and transforming energy.
On a relatively higher macro scale, Mae Wan Ho likens our current state of the world with its practices of competitive growth as an open spiral swallowing up resources and exporting massive amounts of entropy without any closure (STS) . In contrast, the sustainable ecosystem would look like the zero-entropy model with dynamically closed cycle which would promote sustainable organic growth (STO?). Picture a series of embedded closed loops (eddies or closed zero entropy structures) on an open flowing stream as an energetic representative of a sustainable eco-system.