Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Systems View of Life - Fritjof Capra

"In this first lecture of the course, I would like to give you an outline of the new understanding of life that is now emerging at the forefront of science. As I mentioned before, it is a conception of life based on systemic thinking and some of the new concepts and mathematical techniques of complexity theory. It allows us for the first time to integrate the biological, cognitive, and social dimensions of life" - Fritjof Capra.

Systemic Wisdom

Page 390 in "The Turning Point"
Fritjof Capra:

The recognition of the non-linear nature of all systems dynamics is the very essence of ecological awareness, the essence of "systemic wisdom", as Bateson called it (1972, page 434). This kind of wisdom is characteristic of traditional non literature cultures but has been sadly neglected in our over rational and mechanised society.

Systemic wisdom is based on a profound respect for the wisdom of nature, which is totally consistent with the insights of modern ecology.

One natural environment consists of ecosystems inhabited by countless organisms which have co-evolved over billions of years, continuously using and recycling the same molecules of soil, water and air. The organising principles of these principles must be considered superior to those of human technologies bases on recent inventions, and, very often, on short term linear projections.

The respect for nature's wisdom is further supported by the insight that the dynamics of self organisation in ecosystems is basically the same as in human organisms, which forces us to realise that our natural environment is not only alive but also mindful. The mindfulness of ecosystems, as opposed to many human institutions, manifests itself in the pervasive tendency to establish cooperative relationships that facilitate the harmonius integration of systems components at all levels of organization.

Intro Part1 Part2 Part3 Part4 Index

The Systems View of Life

Chapter 8 of The Turning Point

by Fritjof Capra (1982)

Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia - the Southern Winter of 1996