Quotes from The Hidden Connection, Fritjof Capra. 1. The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living by Fritjof Capra (click on title for book link;. SUMMARY – The Hidden Connections, Fritjof Capra, Chapters Page 1. The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living. Fritjof Capra, 1. Fritjof Capra. The Hidden Connections. A Science For Sustainable Living. 4 Life and Leadership in Organizations. In recent years, the nature of human.
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The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living Fritjof Capra, bestselling author of The Tao of Physics and The Web of Life, here explores another. Fritjof Capra, bestselling author of The Tao of Physics and The Web of Life, here explores another frontier in the human significance of scientific. A Book Analysis of "The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living" by Fritjof Capra - Stephen Gumboh - Literature Review - American Studies.
The following three quotations are examples of such early comparisons. The general notions about human understanding Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place. Robert Oppenheimer For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory Niels Bohr The great scientific contribution in theoretical physics that has come from Japan since the last war may be an indication of a certain relationship between philosophical ideas in the tradition of the Far East and the philosophical substance of quantum theory.
Werner Heisenberg During the s, there was a strong interest in Eastern spiritual traditions in Europe and North America, and many scholarly books on Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism were published by Eastern and Western authors.
At that time, the parallels between these Eastern traditions and modern physics were discussed more frequently see, e. My main thesis in this book is that the approaches of physicists and mystics, even though they seem at first quite different, share some important characteristics. To begin with, their method is thoroughly empirical.
Physicists derive their knowledge from experiments; mystics from meditative insights. Both are observations, and in both fields these observations are acknowledged as the only source of knowledge.
The objects of observation are of course very different in the two cases. Mystics look within and explore their consciousness at various levels, including the physical phenomena associated with the mind's embodiment. Physicists, by contrast, begin their inquiry into the essential nature of things by studying the material world. Exploring ever deeper realms of matter, they become aware of the essential unity of all natural phenomena. More than that, they also realize that they themselves and their consciousness are an integral part of this unity.
Thus mystics and physicists arrive at the same conclusion; one discipline starting from the inner realm, the other from the outer world. The harmony between their views confirms the ancient Indian wisdom that brahman, the ultimate reality without, is identical to atman, the reality within. A further important similarity between the ways of the physicist and the mystic is the fact that their observations take place in realms that are inaccessible to the ordinary senses.
In modern physics, these are the realms of the atomic and subatomic world; in mysticism, they are non-ordinary states of consciousness in which the everyday sensory world is transcended. Twentieth-century physics was the first discipline in which scientists experienced dramatic changes of their basic concepts and ideas - a paradigm shift from the mechanistic worldview of Descartes and Newton to a holistic and systemic conception of reality.
Subsequently, the same change of paradigms occurred in the life sciences with the gradual emergence of the systems view of life. It should therefore not come as a surprise that the similarities between the worldviews of physicists and Eastern mystics are relevant not only to physics but to science as a whole. After the publication of The Tao of Physics in , numerous books appeared in which physicists and other scientists presented similar explorations of the parallels between physics and mysticism e.
Other authors extended their inquiries beyond physics, finding similarities between Eastern thought and certain ideas about free will; death and birth; and the nature of life, mind, consciousness, and evolution see Mansfield, Moreover, the same kinds of parallels have been drawn also to Western mystical traditions see Capra and Steindl-Rast, Deep ecology and spirituality The extensive explorations of the relationships between science and spirituality over the past four decades have made it evident that the sense of oneness, which is the key characteristic of spiritual experience, is fully confirmed by the understanding of reality in contemporary science.
Hence, there are numerous similarities between the worldviews of mystics and spiritual teachers - both Eastern and Western - and the systemic conception of nature that is now being developed in several scientific disciplines. The awareness of being connected with all of nature is particularly strong in ecology. Connectedness, relationship, and interdependence are fundamental concepts of ecology; and connectedness, relationship, and belonging are also the essence of spiritual experience.
Hence, ecology - and in particular the school of deep ecology, founded by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess in the s see Devall and Sessions, - can be an ideal bridge between science and spirituality.
The defining characteristic of deep ecology is a shift from anthropocentric to ecocentric values. It is a worldview that acknowledges the inherent value of non-human life, recognizing that all living beings are members of ecological communities, bound together in networks of interdependencies. When we look at the world around us, we find that we are not thrown into chaos and randomness but are part of a great order, a grand symphony of life.
Every molecule in our body was once a part of previous bodies - living or nonliving - and will be a part of future bodies. In this sense, our body will not die but will live on, again and again, because life lives on. And since our mind, too, is embodied, our concepts and metaphors are embedded in the web of life together with our bodies and brains. Indeed, we belong to the universe, and this experience of belonging can make our lives profoundly meaningful.
Bibliography Bohr, N. Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge. Capra, F. The Tao of Physics. Boston: Shambhala. The Turning Point. The Web of Life. The Hidden Connections. New York: Doubleday.
Luisi Steindl-Rast with Thomas Matus. Belonging to the Universe. San Francisco: Harper. Davies, P.
God and the New Physics. Devall, B. Deep Ecology. Einstein, A. The World as I See It.
New York: Philosophical Library. Heisenberg, W. Physics and Philosophy.
New York: Harper Torchbooks. Hume, R. The Thirteen Principal Upanishads. New York: Oxford University Press. LeShawn, L. We are the living embodiment of a pattern he says, but he doesn't tell us how that pattern is created.
We know about the cybernetic interaction with the environment, but how did life get this capacity? If life is a community of self-inerested entities genes, molecules, cells, we presume that there's cooperation for mutual benefit but that just begs the question: Why do self-interested entities "care" about themselves?
Do self-interested communities within our bodies prune back each other and thereby promote the collective interest of the whole? Is it in this sense that the whole regulates and is different from its parts? We might understand the integration and community part of life from what Capra describes, but he dismisses the role of competition and combat.
That omission makes his vision more aspirational than real. I learned a great deal about cybernetics, learned to view evolution from a different perspective, and see how all of "life" can be broken down into cohesive sequence of chemical unfoldings.
The distinctive feature of the new theories is a new mathematical language that allowed scientists for the first time to handle the enormous complexity of living systems mathematically.
We need to realize that even the simplest living system, a bacterial cell, is a highly complex network involving literally thousands of interdependent chemical reactions. During the s, a new set of concepts and techniques for dealing with that enormous complexity was developed, which is beginning to form a coherent mathematical framework. Chaos theory and fractal geometry are important branches of this new mathematics of complexity.
The crucial characteristic of the new mathematics is that it is a nonlinear mathematics. In science, until recently, we were always taught to avoid nonlinear equations, because they are very difficult to solve.
For example, the smooth flow of water in a river, in which there are no obstacles, is described by a linear equation. But when there is a rock in the river the water begins to swirl; it becomes turbulent. There are eddies; there are all kinds of vortices; and this complex motion is described by nonlinear equations.
The movement of water becomes so complicated that it seems quite chaotic. In the s, scientists for the first time had powerful high-speed computers that could help them tackle and solve nonlinear equations. In doing so, they devised a number of techniques, a new kind of mathematical language that revealed very surprising patterns underneath the seemingly chaotic behavior of nonlinear systems, an underlying order beneath the seeming chaos. Indeed, chaos theory is really a theory of order, but of a new kind of order that is revealed by this new mathematics.
This is very important for a theory of living systems, because the networks that are the basic pattern of all living systems are also very complex. To describe these networks mathematically, you need nonlinear equations and techniques, and since the s we have these techniques at our disposal. During the the s, the strong interest in nonlinear phenomena generated a whole series of new and powerful theories that describe various aspects of living systems.
These theories, which I discuss in some detail in the book, form the components of my own synthesis of the new conception of life. I have come to believe that the key to a comprehensive theory of living systems lies in the synthesis of two approaches that have been in competition throughout our scientific history - the study of pattern or form, order, quality and the study of structure or substance, matter, quantity.
The structure approach asks, "What is it made of?
What are the fundamental constituents? To show you how the pattern approach and the structure approach can be integrated, let me now define these two terms more precisely. The pattern of organization of any system, living or nonliving, is the configuration of relationships among the system's components that determines the system's essential characteristics.
In other words, certain relationships must be present for something to be recognized as - say - a chair, a bicycle, or a tree. That configuration of relationships that gives a system its essential characteristics is what I mean by its pattern of organization. The structure of a system is the physical embodiment of its pattern of organization. Whereas the description of the pattern of organization involves an abstract mapping of relationships, the description of the structure involves describing the system's actual physical components - their shapes, chemical compositions, and so on.
Now, in a living system, there is a ceaseless flux of matter; there is growth, development, and evolution. From the very beginning of biology, the understanding of living structure has been inseparable from the understanding of metabolic and developmental processes.
This striking property of living systems suggests process as a third criterion for a comprehensive description of the nature of life. The process of life is the activity involved in the continual embodiment of the system's pattern of organization.
Thus the process criterion is the link between pattern and structure. The process criterion completes the conceptual framework of my synthesis of the emerging theory of living systems.
All three criteria are totally interdependent.