The recognition that multiple factors are responsible for abnormal conditions, and that these factors can be systematized according to the concepts presented above, throws new light on a specific aspect of the relationship between the different entities and the environment when this tends to alter their characteristic organization. This response is concretized as the defense against the noxious. The analysis of this defense has been facilitated by emphasizing the relative independence of the entities forming the complex hierarchic organism, the dualistic patterns of response, and the critical role of the lipids as well as of proteins. Abnormal processes in an organism's defense system may be better understood when they are compared to those corresponding to normal physiological processes. For this reason, we start with this last aspect.

The direct intervention of a noxious agent upon a biological entity can be characterized by its tendency to induce heterogenization, through an alteration of the entity's constituents or the relationship between them. This, in turn, affects one or more of the constants that characterize the entity. The ensuing defense response is directed ultimately at restoring the altered constants to their normal values.

Involved in a first stage of defense are those very factors which normally maintain the constants, the factors which induce the oscillatory dynamic balance. As a first response, they become exaggerated. Such exaggeration, which takes place successively for the opposite phases, resolves many slight noxious interventions without clinical manifestations. Through a damping movement, the exaggerated oscillations soon return to normal. If the normal constants are reestablished, the phenomenon can be considered to be a physiological response.

But if the alterations induced by the noxious agent persist, an abnormal condition results. Indeed, in this case the exaggeration of oscillatory movement can be so great that an abnormality may result even from this exaggerated attempt of the entity to reestablish normalcy. In fact, offbalances are induced by just such changes which often represent, by themselves as will be seen later, one of the major immediate factors inducing the abnor malcy. As long as an abnormal condition is not resolved, the biological entity will try to utilize new means in order to reestablish the normal balance. If the constants disturbed by the noxious intervention are fundamental, or if the changes resulting from the defense mechanism itself are too great, death of the entity will result.

As expected, responses will differ according to the level to which an affected entity belongs. However, despite the many differences related to levels, a common and relatively simple pattern can be recognized when manifestations occurring at different levels as the result of the noxious intervention are compared and referred to the basic pathological concepts already noted.

Most of the information about this simple pattern was originally obtained by studying responses at the systemic level. Blood was particularly suitable because of its availability, its multiple constants and manifest capacity to conserve them, and particularly because of the facility with which noxious agents could be induced to act upon it.

The intervention of a noxious agent able to change the energetic balance of blood sets in motion immediately a group of successive processes which may or may not be clinically apparent, depending upon their intensity. They have been described as hemoclasia by Widal and hemo shock by many authors. Although widely investigated, the mechanism did not appear clear. From our studies, we have arrived at certain conclusions which we will briefly present here.