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The Systems View of Life The Systems View of Life by Fritjof Capra
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“Care flows naturally if the “self” is widened and deepened so that protection of free Nature is felt and conceived as protection of ourselves…Just as we need no morals to make us breathe…[so] if your “self” in the wide sense embraces another being, you need no moral exhortation to show care…You care for yourself without feeling any moral pressure to do it.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“As the twenty-first century unfolds, it is becoming more and more evident that the major problems of our time – energy, the environment, climate change, food security, financial security – cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent. Ultimately, these problems must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception. It derives from the fact that most people in our modern society, and especially our large social institutions, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with our overpopulated, globally interconnected world.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“There are solutions to the major problems of our time; some of them even simple. But they require a radical shift in our perceptions, our thinking, our values. And, indeed, we are now at the beginning of such a fundamental change of worldview in science and society, a change of paradigms as radical as the Copernican revolution. Unfortunately, this realization has not yet dawned on most of our political leaders, who are unable to “connect the dots,” to use a popular phrase.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“Systems thinking is “contextual,” which is the opposite of analytical thinking. Analysis means taking something apart in order to understand it; systems thinking means putting it into the context of a larger whole.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“Albert Einstein, for one, repeatedly expressed these feelings, as in the following celebrated passage (Einstein, 1949, p. 5): The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science…the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvellous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“Whenever we look at life, we look at networks.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life
“Communication, according to Maturana, is not primarily a transmission of information, but rather a coordination of behavior between living organisms.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“The double role of living systems as parts and wholes requires the interplay of two opposite tendencies: an integrative tendency to function as part of a larger whole, and a self-assertive, or self-organizing tendency to preserve individual autonomy (see Chapter 7).”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“… human needs are finite, but human greed is not …”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life
“The principles of classical management theory have become so deeply ingrained in the ways managers think about organizations that for most of them the design of formal structures, linked by clear lines of communication, coordination, and control, has become almost second nature. This largely unconscious embrace of the mechanistic approach to management has now become one of the main obstacles to organizational change.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“Throughout the living world, we find living systems nesting within other living systems.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life
“taught us to be aware of ourselves as isolated egos existing “inside” our bodies; it has led us to set a higher value on mental than manual work; it has enabled huge industries to sell products – especially to women – that would make us owners of the “ideal body”; it has kept doctors from seriously considering the psychological dimensions of illness, and psychotherapists from dealing with their patients’ bodies.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“The conceptual problem at the center of contemporary healthcare is the confusion between disease processes and disease origins. Instead of asking why an illness occurs and trying to remove the conditions that led to it, medical researchers try to understand the mechanisms through which the disease operates, so that they can then interfere with them. These mechanisms, rather than the true origins, are seen as the causes of disease in current medical thinking. In the process of reducing illness to disease, the attention of physicians has moved away from the patient as a whole person. By concentrating on smaller and smaller fragments of the body – shifting its perspective from the study of bodily organs and their functions to that of cells and, finally, to the study of molecules – modern medicine often loses sight of the human being, and having reduced health to mechanical functioning, it is no longer able to deal with the phenomenon of healing. Over the past four decades, the dissatisfaction with the mechanistic approach to health and healthcare has grown rapidly both among healthcare professionals and the general public. At the same time, the emerging systems view of life has given rise to a corresponding systems view of health, as we discuss in Chapter 15, while health consciousness among the general population has increased dramatically in many countries. The”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“Intersections of lines, for example, remain intersections, and the hole in a torus (doughnut) cannot be transformed away. Thus a doughnut may be transformed topologically into a coffee cup (the hole turning into a handle) but never into a pancake. Topology, then, is really a mathematics of relationships, of unchangeable, or “invariant,” patterns.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“Since human needs are finite, but human greed is not, economic growth can usually be maintained through artificial creation of needs by means of advertising. The goods that are produced and sold in this way are often unneeded, and thus are essentially waste. The pollution and depletion of natural resources generated by this enormous waste of unnecessary goods is exacerbated by the waste of energy and materials in inefficient production processes. Indeed, as we discuss in Chapter 17, the”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“Since”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“There is another way in which Arne Naess characterized deep ecology. “The essence of deep ecology,” he wrote, “is to ask deeper questions” (quoted by Devall and Sessions, 1985, p. 74). This is also the essence of a paradigm shift. We need to be prepared to question every single aspect of the old paradigm. Eventually, we will not need to abandon all our old concepts and ideas, but before we know that, we need to be willing to question everything. So, deep ecology asks profound questions about the very foundations of our modern, scientific, industrial, growth-oriented, materialistic worldview and way of life. It questions this entire paradigm from an ecological perspective: from the perspective of our relationships to one another, to future generations, and to the web of life of which we are part.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“… all living systems are complex - i.e., highly nonlinear - networks …”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life
“Religion is the organized attempt to understand spiritual experience, to interpret it with words and concepts, and to use this interpretation as the source of moral guidelines for the religious community.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision
“Whenever we look a life, we look at networks.”
Fritjof Capra, The Systems View of Life