The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision *by Physicist Fritjof Capra, Ph.d* 510 pp. (2014) www.amazon.com/dp/1107011361/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_7gwgvb0XGTXC4
• Identification of cognition (knowledge) with Life-itself. Cognition is the phenomena of self-generation/perpetuation of living-networks (Autopoesis). Interactions of a living-organism with her environment are cognitive-actions. Cognition (Consciousness+Awareness) is immanent+inherent (ever-present + pervasive) and transcendent (eternal + transparent) in (solid + ephemeral) matter+spirit (reality: pan-physical+psychic) at all levels, quadrants, vectors, and spheres of Life.
• The brain is not the only structure through which the process of cognition operates, the entire structure of the organism participates in the process of cognition. The first scientific theory which overcomes the Cartesian-split (duality) of mind and matter which are now seen as two complementary-aspects of life which are inseparably-connected.
• Physics, together with chemistry, is essential to understand the behaviour of the molecules in living-cells, but it is not sufficient to describe their self-organising patterns and processes. At the level of living-systems, physics has thus lost its role as the science providing the most fundamental-description of Reality. This is still not generally recognised today. (p.15)
…Deep ecological awareness of the fundamental-interdependence of all phenomena and of the fact that, as individuals and societies, we are embedded in, and dependent upon, the cyclical-processes of Nature. Since this awareness, ultimately, is grounded in spiritual-awareness, it is evident that ecoliteracy has a basic spiritual-dimension. (p. 291)
• Cognition (Consciousness+Awareness), then, is not a representation of an independent existing world, but rather a continual bringing forth (recreation) (and going-away (dissipation) of a world through the process of Living. (p. 256)
• Gregory Bateson introduces his new concept of mental-processes for the first time in 1969 in Hawaii… Gregory Bateson’s whole-thinking is in terms of patterns and relationships. Bateson developed his criteria of mental-processes intuitively from his keen-observation of the living World. When he looked at the living-world, he saw its organizing activity as being essentially mental. Gregory finds that the phenomenon of mind was inseparably connected with the phenomenon of Life. (p.253)
• The phenomenon of Language does not occur in the brain but in a continual flow of coordinations of Behaviour. As humans, we exist in language and we continually weave the linguistic-web in which we are embedded (and both find, create, as well as lose and destroy meaning through languaging, imaging, stillness, and motion). We coordinate our behaviour in language, and together in language we bring fourth our World.
‘The world everyone sees,’ writes Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, ‘is not the world but ‘A’ world, which we bring forth with others.’ (p. 271 cf. (ibid. Autopoeisis and Cognition, 1980))
• Goethe was among the first to use the term ‘morphology’ for the study of biological form from a dynamic, developmental point of view. Goethe conceived of form as a pattern of relationships within an organised-whole – a conception which is at the forefront of Systems thinking today. (p. 9)
• Before he did his work with barnacles, Charles Darwin had believed that variation is the exception in nature, occurring only in times of crisis. His barnacle work changed that. Here he found that there are no unvarying-forms, and that barnacle species are, ‘eminently variable’. What made the work of classification so difficult was that ‘Every part “of every species” is prone to change; the closer he looked, the more stability seemed an illusion’. Barnacles, he told Hooker, are infinitely-variable; and in the context of his theory of what he called ‘the transmutation of species’, he went further to see variations as incipient-species.
‘There is a switch in gestalt here, like the reversing-cube: in one perspective the phenomenon appears as the variations of a species, whereas in another perspective the very same phenomenon appears as the initial stages of new species. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Charles Darwin both encounter the organism’s ‘potency to be otherwise’ which is the self-differencing dynamic of life. Whereas Goethe sees this unceasing variation phenomenologically, so that he understood it as the expression of life-itself, Darwin wanted to explain-it (in this regard he thought more like a physicist). He eventually ‘found’ an explanation in the key to the success of Victorian-capitalism: the division of labour (and property).’ (Henri Bortoft, Taking Appearance Seriously, 2012)
– Physicist Fritjof Capra, Ph.d is author, The Tao of Physics