Inspiring ideas for troubling times-1) Fritjof Capra on Systems Thinking, 2) Stuart Kauffman, Reinventing the SacredWritten on May 16th, 2020
In these unsettling times, I turned to the archives for inspiring ideas about the meaning of life. First, my 2009 conversation with physicist FRITJOF CAPRA about one of my favorite books, The Turning Point. Written in 1981, it looks at many domains of human activity, and makes clear that we need to move toward a systems view of reality that sees everything as dynamic and interdependent. True to those themes, in the second half you’ll hear my 2008 conversation with MacArthur award-winning biologist STUART KAUFFMAN about his provocative book, Reinventing the Sacred, in which he offers an inspiring image of God as the ceaseless creativity of the universe and of life itself.
Free Forum Q&A – SYSTEMS THINKING (1) FRITJOF CAPRA, author of several books including The Tao of Physics; The Turning Point & (2) NORA BATESON, director AN ECOLOGY OF MIND doc re: her late father, Gregory BatesonWritten on May 7th, 2015
(1) FRITJOF CAPRA – Originally aired April 2009
(2) NORA BATESON – Originally aired July 2012
Both interviews this week explore systems thinking – one of the key ingredients of a world that just might work.
First. I speak with FRITJOF CAPRA, who wrote a book in 1981 that greatly influenced my view not only of science, medicine, agriculture, energy, and even politics – it influenced my view of reality. That book was THE TURNING POINT, and its message is as profound and revolutionary today. “We live today in a globally interconnected world, in which biological, psychological, social, and environmental phenomena are all interdependent. To describe this world appropriately we need an ecological perspective which the Cartesian world view does not offer. What we need, then, is a new ‘paradigm’ – a new vision of reality; a fundamental change in our thoughts, perceptions, and values.” Capra wrote those words in its preface.
In the second half my guest will be NORA BATESON, and we’ll talk about AN ECOLOGY OF MIND, the wonderful documentary she’s made about her father, the late anthropologist GREGORY BATESON. Her documentary is subtitled A Daughter’s Portrait of Gregory Bateson. It tells of the unique anthropologist, philosopher, author, naturalist, and systems theorist, who was ahead of his time in seeing reality as made up not of things or even of ideas, but of relationships. The film features interviews with California Governor Jerry Brown, physicist and systems theorist Fritjof Capra, Whole Earth Catalogue publisher Stewart Brand, cultural philosopher and poet William Irwin Thompson; and Nora’s sister, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson. Nora’s film will introduce Bateson to a new generation and remind many of us of the impact her father had on the way a lot of people perceived the world.
“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.” Those are the words of the late Gregory Bateson – and I couldn’t agree more.
FRITJOF CAPRA is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, which promotes ecology and systems thinking in primary and secondary education, and he's is on the faculty of Schumacher College, an international center for ecological studies in England
CAPRA is the author also of The Tao of Physics, coauthor of Green Politics and coeditor of Steering Business Toward Sustainability. His most recent book is The Science of Leonardo.
I read a book a quarter century ago that greatly influenced my view not only of science, medicine, agriculture, energy, and even politics - it influenced my view of my worldview. That book was THE TURNING POINT by physicist Fritjof Capra. He's got a new book THE SCIENCE OF LEONARDO in which he holds that DaVinci saw the world with a lens that other scientists have only discovered in the last 100 years - and which society has yet to fully grasp.