Although the biomatrix is one continuous whole, one can nevertheless identify different spheres or sub-webs: the naturosphere, psycho-sociosphere and technosphere.
The naturosphere refers to the universe and its sub-systems, including our planet, ecological systems (e.g. soil, water, air, plants, animals, micro-organisms), physiological systems (e.g. functions of the organism), biological systems (e.g. cells) and physical systems (e.g. atoms, particles).
The psycho-sociosphere is theweb of psychological systems (e.g. thinking, feeling) and social systems (e.g. cultural, economic and political) of humans and other sentient beings (e.g. animals).
The technosphere is the web of technological systems (e.g. classes of technological artefacts and functions). Depending on the definition of technology, it can also be extended to include other forms of life (e.g. the web of the spider, cells evolving new enzymes).
The systems within the three sub-webs share the generic organising principles of the biomatrix. However, they also differ in some aspects of their functioning. Nature’s systems have evolved relatively fixed and law-like functioning (i.e. the laws of nature). Likewise, technological systems have fixed functioning once they are produced. There is, however, freedom concerning the (re)designs of new technological systems. By comparison, the systems of the psycho-sociosphere have a greater degree of freedom (i.e. free will) and hence no fixed and pre-determined functioning, even if some universally observable patterns of functioning have evolved (e.g. language, family structures, institutions or governance systems). These can however be changed (e.g. through redesign).
The distinction between the three spheres is one of perspective, analogous to shining different coloured lights on an object which reflects different parts that react to the light. Ultimately, there is only nature.
Systems of the psycho-sociosphere arise from and are limited by the functioning of the naturosphere. Exceeding limits gives rise to problems (e.g. disease, climate change). Technological development can extend some limits. Sustainable development implies staying within limits
relevance for the change manager
Systems with fixed functioning require different methodologies of analysis, design and problem (dis)solving than systems with greater freedom.