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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Fritjof Capra, bestselling author of The Tao of Physics and The Web of Life , here explores another frontier in the human significance of scientific ideas—applying complexity theory to large-scale social interaction.
In the s, complexity theory emerged as a powerful alternative to classic, linear thought. A forerunner of that revolution, Fritjof Capra now continues to e Fritjof Capra, bestselling author of The Tao of Physics and The Web of Life , here explores another frontier in the human significance of scientific ideas—applying complexity theory to large-scale social interaction. A forerunner of that revolution, Fritjof Capra now continues to expand the scope of that theory by establishing a framework in which we can understand and solve some of the most important issues of our time.
Capra posits that in order to sustain life, the principles underlying our social institutions must be consistent with the broader organization of nature.
Discussing pertinent contemporary issues ranging from the controversial practices of the World Trade Organization WTO to the Human Genome Project, he concludes with an authoritative, often provocative plan for designing ecologically sustainable communities and technologies as alternatives to the current economic globalization.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 20, A. Steven rated it it was amazing. I have used this as my primary text for a grad class I teach in systems theory. I find Capra's work, and this one specifically, very engaging and mind opening.
That being said, it is not for the faint of heart. As some of my students tell me, "There are big words in this book and I needed a dictionary to read it.
This is a must if you have any interest in human systems, sustainable environments or similar topics. Nov 13, Lenaya rated it it was amazing. This book tied together many of the thoughts and feelings that I was having about the interconnectedness of life. It will deepen your understanding of most things, by recognizing who it's all intertwined. It's beautiful to think about the way music, art, culture, food, industry, civilization and all of life creates so many patterns that is this world.
Very thought provoking and for me in particular it resonnated with my understanding of the connection of food, health and the environment. Mar 18, Laura rated it it was amazing Shelves: science , grad-school , thesis , systems-thinking. Most of my classmates found this one to be very dense. I found it mind-opening - like going down the rabbit hole, it led to new paths and new ideas. Capra looks at systems the human body, ecosystems, global economy from a systems perspective and has much to say about sustainability.
I think the world would be a better place if everyone read this book. Oct 02, Elinor Hurst rated it really liked it. A brilliant, inspiring book. Fritjof Capra has an impressive ability to synthesise scientific and philosophical thinking across a broad range of disciplines, and to explain concepts to the general reader which build up to an awe inspiring explanation of the natural world, and vision for a better, more sustainable and life affirming future for our species.
The new scientific concepts of the basis of life explained in his earlier book, "The Web of Life" are revisited here, and then drawn together A brilliant, inspiring book. The new scientific concepts of the basis of life explained in his earlier book, "The Web of Life" are revisited here, and then drawn together with economic and social analysis to produce a blueprint for change. I was particularly inspired by the concepts of shifting from a materials-based economy to a service-and-flow economy, and that of ecological clusters of industries.
Our economies need to model the way ecosystems work, to be sustainable. The importance of networks, and of supporting relationships rather than material acquisition, is another required shift in thinking. The global network that is the Internet is important here, and can greatly facilitate collaborations which support the economic and social transitions required.
This book has motivated me to read Paul Hawken's books on "The Ecology of Commerce" and "Natural Capitalism", and more of Amory and Hunter Lovins' work, to educate myself more around the economic and technological ideas Capra refers to.
It has given me hope for the future, to know that we have a blueprint of what's needed, albeit a challenging struggle politically to promote it. In this book I propose to extend the new understanding of life that has emerged from complexity theory to the social domain. To do so, I present a conceptual framework that integrates life's biological , cognitive and social dimensions.
My aim is not only to offer a unified view of life, mind and society, but also to develop a coherent, systemic approach to some of the critical issues of our time. Fritjof Capra does not escape my critique entirely, but his coherent, systematic approach is based upon an understanding of networks, of relationships between things being as fundamental as things themselves how dialectical of him really, though there is not a ounce of dialectics otherwise , of constant change and never a full knowledge of the whole, of humility in scientific inquiry, of anti-capitalism in the sense that we must substitute new values for that of profit above all that exists now and has brought us almost to to the brink of destruction.
He is also rigorous and smart, and my critiques of the sections on social science are offset by my appreciation that he actually read and grappled with Manuel Castells' three volumes on networks. I also like that he tries to bring together the material and the social -- the geographers are missing from his account, but I forgive him, as I too think this is key.
My extension of the systems approach to the social domain explicitly includes the material world. In the future, this strict division will no longer be possible, because the key challenge of this new century -- for social scientists, natural scientists and everyone else -- will be to build ecologically sustainable communities, designed in such a way that their technologies and social institutions -- their material and social structures -- do not interfere with nature's inherent ability to sustain life.
Of course, if we destroy ourselves, I have every confidence that life will continue to emerge and flourish. Life is pretty amazing. The first section of this book is on life itself, with some thought-provoking concepts, like autopoiesis - 'self-making'. Capra writes that on a cellular level, life is present where there is both physical boundary and a metabolic network. Living systems as autopoietic networks 'means that the phenomenon of life has to be understood as a property of the system as a whole'.
I love, love , how that has all been turned on its head, with little fixed at all: A key insight of the new understanding of life has been that biological forms and functions are not simply determined by a genetic blueprint but are emergent properties of the entire epigenetic network.
It is technically known as self-organization and is often referred to simply as 'emergence'. It is something we know today, without being able to well conceive of what it must have felt like.
Perhaps my favourite thing in the whole book was this amazing quote from Werner Heisenberg, on the cost of emergence, and how it is in fact greater than any one man but emerges from collective work and thinking: I remember discussions with Bohr which went through many hours till very late at night and ended almost in despair; and when at the end of the discussion I went alone for a walk in the neighboring park I repeated to myself again and again the question: Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments?
Allowing that the world might be greater, wilder than we had ever imagined it. It is the findings of quantum physics, in some ways, that have opened up every other field. They have shown the world is not as we thought it was, that by the very act of studying it we enter into a relationship with it and thereby change or fix its behaviour.
In the very simplest of ways, biology reminds us that it is in the relationships between one thing and another that some of their properties are determined: When carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms bond in a certain way to form sugar, the resulting compound has a sweet taste. The sweetness resides neither in the C, nor in the O, nor in the H, it resides in the patterns that emerges from their interaction.
It is an emergent property. Moreover, strictly speaking, the sweetness is not a property of the chemical bonds.
It is a sensory experience that arises when the sugar molecules interact with the chemistry of our taste buds No Voloshinov though, to further complicate things with the ways that meanings are further contested. Ah well. I also like being reminded of the wonder and unimaginable timescale of our emergence.
This major signpost in the origin of life established itself perhaps 3. 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.
Power was the most interesting, so much has been written on power, Capra's choices of definition and source are quite fascinating: One of the most striking characteristics of social reality is the phenomenon of power. In the words of economist John Kenneth Galbraith, 'The exercise of power, the submission of some to the will of others, is inevitable in modern society; nothing whatever is accomplished without it Power can be socially malign; it is also socially essential.
Because of our ability to affirm preferences and make choices accordingly, conflicts of interest will appear in any human community, and power is the means by which these conflicts are resolved.
In other words, true authority consists in empowering others to act. There's a key liberal in that list I am forgetting, but the list of people writing about power is in truth a very long one. Though few would deny the truth of this: Thus, power plays a central role in the emergence of social structures.
The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living
Look Inside. Fritjof Capra, bestselling author of The Tao of Physics and The Web of Life , here explores another frontier in the human significance of scientific ideas—applying complexity theory to large-scale social interaction. In the s, complexity theory emerged as a powerful alternative to classic, linear thought. A forerunner of that revolution, Fritjof Capra now continues to expand the scope of that theory by establishing a framework in which we can understand and solve some of the most important issues of our time. Capra posits that in order to sustain life, the principles underlying our social institutions must be consistent with the broader organization of nature. Discussing pertinent contemporary issues ranging from the controversial practices of the World Trade Organization WTO to the Human Genome Project, he concludes with an authoritative, often provocative plan for designing ecologically sustainable communities and technologies as alternatives to the current economic globalization. The author has courageously put together a real tract for our times.
Articulates the relationship between design and emergence in the context of learning organizations. Fascinating text. Fritjof Capra. A fierce attack on globalism - and a manifesto for change - by one of the world's leading scientific writers. Recent scientific discoveries indicate that all life - from the most primitive cells, up to human societies, corporations and nation-states, even the global economy - is organised along the same basic patterns and principles: those of the network. However, the new global economy differs in important aspects from the networks of life: whereas everything in a living network has a function, globalism ignores all that cannot give it an immediate profit, creating great armies of the excluded. The global financial network also relies on advanced information technologies - it is shaped by machines, and the resulting economic, social and cultural environment is not life-enhancing but life-degrading, in both a social and an ecological sense.
The Hidden Connections
We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. In general, the book is extremely interesting as Capra was able to wave the concept of the network system throughout the whole of this book in a fascinating manner. The tools used to analyse complex problems are powerful particularly in exposing the structures and activities of global capitalism.
Sure, we all want to save the planet. But there are a lot of things I haven't been getting lately - such as, why are there big eco-riots every time there is an international trade summit in town? Why get so worked up over meetings of faceless suits? And what about the hysteria over genetically modified food? Well, here is a book to bring you up sharp on that. Hidden Connections offers a penetrating analysis of what it means to be a system - an ecological system, a social system, an economic system, any kind of system. In doing so, it gets down to the bones of what is happening in the world right now.