Good morning family. The weather is beautiful here this Tuesday morning as I write to you. I hope wherever and whenever you are in time, that this finds you well.
Tree-of-Life Pendant Tutorial – CamilleSharon – if you want to learn how to make these for yourself, I first learned how from Camille!
This morning I woke up thinking about the subject of Property and Ownership. It came to me that Birth and Death are the great equalizer when it comes to the parceling out of Mother Earth and her resources. We all are born with nothing and we leave with nothing. Human beings, including myself, are easily deluded to think that we own the Earth and it’s resources.
I was taught by my parents that when you borrow something that when you are finished with it you should give it back in as good as or better condition than when it was first loaned to you. I am trying to make good on my part of this lesson!
I found this on the Daily Good website to share today:
Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else. –Leonardo da Vinci
Fritjof Capra: We’re All In This Together
Modern science is realizing that the world is a living network – with profound implications, says Fritjof Capra.
One Earth, One Humanity, One Future, the theme of the recent gathering to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Resurgence, is one that has been conveyed by poets, philosophers and spiritual teachers throughout the ages. One of its most beautiful expressions is found in the celebrated speech attributed to Chief Seattle of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes of what is now the state of Washington in the north-west of the USA:
This we know: all things are connected like the blood that unites one family… Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
The same idea is at the very core of the Earth Charter, that remarkable declaration of 16 fundamental principles to build a just, sustainable and peaceful world. The Preamble of the Earth Charter states:
We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future… We must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.
The time-honored notions of the web of life and the Earth community, or community of life, are fully consistent with a new conception of life that has emerged in science over the last 30 years. In my recent book The Systems View of Life, co-authored with Pier Luigi Luisi, I offer a grand synthesis of this new scientific understanding of life.
A new conception of life
At the forefront of contemporary science, the universe is no longer seen as a machine composed of elementary building blocks. We have discovered that the material world is a network of inseparable patterns of relationships; that the planet as a whole is a living, self-regulating system. The view of the human body as a machine and of the mind as a separate entity is being replaced by one that sees not only the brain, but also the immune system, the bodily tissues, and even each cell as a living, cognitive system. Evolution is no longer seen as a competitive struggle for existence, but rather as a cooperative dance in which creativity and the constant emergence of novelty are the driving forces. And with the new emphasis on complexity, networks, and patterns of organization, a new science of qualities is slowly emerging.
I call this new science ‘the systems view of life’ because it involves a new kind of thinking – thinking in terms of relationships, patterns and context. In science, this way of thinking is known as ‘systems thinking’, or ‘systemic thinking’. Thinking in terms of relationships is crucial for ecology, because ecology – derived from the Greek oikos, meaning ‘household’ – is the science of the relationships among various members of the Earth Household.
To present the systems view of life properly would take a whole course. In fact, I am now teaching such a course online in a series of 12 lectures. I call it ‘Capra Course’. Here I can give you only a few highlights.
One of the most important insights of the systemic understanding of life is the recognition that networks are the basic pattern of organization of all living systems. Ecosystems are understood in terms of food webs (i.e. networks of organisms); organisms are networks of cells, organs and organ systems; and cells are networks of molecules. The network is a pattern that is common to all life. Wherever we see life, we see networks. Indeed, at the very heart of the change of paradigm from the mechanistic to the systemic view of life we find a fundamental change of metaphor: from seeing the world as a machine to understanding it as a network.
Closer examination of these living networks has shown that their key characteristic is that they are self-generating. In a cell, for example, all the biological structures – the proteins, the enzymes, the DNA, the cell membrane, and so on – are continually produced, repaired and regenerated by the cellular network. Similarly, at the level of a multicellular organism, the bodily cells are continually regenerated and recycled by the organism’s metabolic network. Living networks continually create or recreate themselves by transforming or replacing their components. In this way they undergo continual structural changes while preserving their web-like patterns of organization. This coexistence of stability and change is indeed one of the key characteristics of life.
Life in the social realm can also be understood in terms of networks, but here we are not dealing with chemical processes: we are dealing with processes of communication. Social networks, as you know, are networks of communications. Like biological networks, they are self-generating, but what they generate is mostly non-material. Each communication creates thoughts and meaning, which give rise to further communications, and thus the entire network generates itself.
Mind and consciousness
One of the most important, and most radical, philosophical implications of the systems view of life is a new conception of the nature of mind and consciousness, which finally overcomes the Cartesian division between mind and matter that has haunted philosophers and scientists for centuries.
In the 17th century, René Descartes based his view on the fundamental division between two independent and separate realms – that of mind, which he called the ‘thinking thing’ (res cogitans), and that of matter, the ‘extended thing’ (res extensa).
Following Descartes, scientists and philosophers continued to think of the mind as some intangible entity and were unable to imagine how this ‘thinking thing’ is related to the body. The decisive advance of the systems view of life has been to abandon the Cartesian view of mind as a ‘thing’, and to realize that mind and consciousness are not things, but processes.
This novel concept of mind was developed during the 1960s by the anthropologist Gregory Bateson, who used the term ‘mental process’, and independently by the biologist Humberto Maturana. Their central insight is the identification of cognition, the process of knowing, with the process of life. Cognition, according to Maturana, is the activity involved in the self-generation and self-perpetuation of living networks. In other words, cognition is the very process of life. The self-organizing activity of living systems, at all levels of life, is mental activity. The interactions of a living organism – plant, animal or human – with its environment are cognitive interactions. Thus life and cognition are inseparably connected. Mind – or, more accurately, mental activity – is immanent in matter at all levels of life. For the first time, we have a scientific theory that unifies mind, matter and life.
Systemic problems – systemic solutions
I want to emphasize that my synthesis of the systems view of life is not only theory, but that it has very concrete applications. In the last part of our book, titled Sustaining the Web of Life, we discuss the critical importance of the systems view of life for dealing with the problems of our multifaceted global crisis.
Today, it is becoming more and more evident that none of these problems – energy, environment, climate change, economic inequality, violence and war – can be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent. As Pope Francis puts it in his remarkable encyclical Laudato si’, our common home is falling into serious disrepair… [This is] evident in large-scale natural disasters as well as social and even financial crises, for the world’s problems cannot be analyzed or explained in isolation… It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected.
These systemic problems require corresponding systemic solutions – solutions that do not solve any problem in isolation, but deal with it within the context of other related problems. Systemic solutions, therefore, tend to solve several problems simultaneously, whereas systemic problems have harmful consequences in several different areas.
Let me take agriculture as an example. If we changed from our chemical, large-scale industrial agriculture to organic, community-oriented, sustainable farming, this would contribute significantly to solving three of our biggest problems:
- It would greatly reduce our energy dependence, because we are now using one fifth of our fossil fuels to grow and process food.
- The healthy, organically grown food would hugely improve public health, because many chronic diseases – heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and so on – are linked to our diet.
- Organic farming would contribute significantly to alleviating climate change, because an organic soil is a carbon-rich soil, which means that it draws CO2 from the atmosphere and locks it up in organic matter.
This is just one example of a systemic solution. Over the last few decades, the research institutes and centers of learning of the global civil society have developed and proposed hundreds of such systemic solutions all over the world. Resurgence has been at the forefront of documenting and discussing these solutions for the last 50 years with the unique blend of science, art, philosophy, spirituality and activism that has become its hallmark. Happy anniversary, Resurgence!
This article is based on a paper prepared for the One Earth, One Humanity, One Future conference at Worcester College, Oxford in September 2016.
Syndicated from Resurgence.org. Fritjof Capra, physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of the Centre for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California. He is a Fellow of Schumacher College and a member of the Council of Earth Charter International. His books include The Tao of Physics (1975), The Web of Life (1996), and The Hidden Connections (2002). He is co-author, with Pier Luigi Luisi, of the multidisciplinary textbook The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (Cambridge University Press, 2014), on which his new online course is based. www.capracourse.net
In March of last year I had written about my theory of each of use being our own Universe.
“Each of us is a part of the multi-verse. You are your own Universe. When you go somewhere without your significant others, you have forged out into your own individual experience…your own parallel dimension. The only way your loved ones know what happened is how you relate it to them, not their own experience. While you’ve been away, they have been in their own dimension. In just one day, one single person can create multiple parallel universes. The multi-verse is not some abstract construct…it is every moment of every day…it is NOW.”
So I was pretty interested when I saw this theory published yesterday! Perspective (and I would add Perception) is a powerful thing isn’t it?
Researchers find “substantial evidence” that the universe may be a hologram
By Shawn Knight on Jan 31, 2017, 9:00 AM
Researchers from the University of Southampton in collaboration with colleagues in Canada and Italy argue in a new paper that our lives – everything we see, feel and hear as well as our perception of time – may actually be a hologram originating from a flat, two-dimensional field.
University of Southampton Mathematical Sciences Professor Kostas Skenderis said the idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms, like those found on credit cards, in which a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface.
Another way of thinking about it is with a 3D film in a theater. While what you’re watching in such a setting isn’t a hologram, the pictures are perceived as having height, width and depth when in actuality, it all comes from a flat 2D screen. The difference in our 3D universe, they note, is that we can touch objects and the “projector” is “real” from our perspective.