Fritjof Capra: The Theory of Living Systems.
By James deSantis
In 1995, my father introduced me to the book "The 5th Discipline: The Art and Practise of the Learning Organization" by Dr. Peter Senge. Senge describes the Learning Organization as made up of the following disciplines: personal mastery, shared vision, mental models, team learning and systems thinking. Systems thinking is the most important as it underlies and links all the other disciplines. Systems thinking is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static "snapshots"(1). It identifies all phenomena in terms of its integrated whole rather than each of its parts. I was extremely interested in this concept and as I did more research I came across the works of Fritjof Capra. While Senge's systems thinking concepts developed from his interests in engineering and management science, Capra's systems thinking evolved from his relentless search for a new philosophy of life which could be explained scientifically and which was ingrained in the larger human context of Deep Ecology where humans are not separated from Nature and where humans are just a particular strand of the web of life(2) .
|Brief Biography of Fritjof Capra|
|Fritjof Capra was born in Vienna, Austria on February 1, 1939. He attended the University of Vienna where he studied with Werner Heisenberg and later acquired his Ph.D. in 1966. He taught and researched theoretical high-energy physics at Orsay in Paris from 1966-1968, the University of California in Santa Cruz from 1968-1970, Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre, and at the Imperial College in London. He has published many technical papers and lectured extensively on the philosophical implications of modern science. His most notable works include The Tao of Physics (1975), The Turning Point (1982), screenwriter for the movie MINDWALK (1991), and his most recent book The Web of Life (1997). Capra is also a visiting lecturer at Schumacher College in England. He is currently a Director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, which is dedicated to nurturing new ecological visions and applying them to current social, economic and environmental problems.|
|From Modern Science to System Theory of Life|
|According to Capra, early modern science began with the development of
|The 5th Discipline: The Art and Practise of the Learning Organization, by Peter Senge, Currency Doubleday, page 69 (1990)|
|The Web of Life, by Fritjof Capra, Anchor Books, pages 6 - 7 (1996)|
|Order Out of Chaos, by Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Bantam Books, page 2 (1984)|
|The Turning Point, by Fritjof Capra, Bantam New Age Books, page 235 (1982)|
|The Turning Point, by Fritjof Capra, Bantam New Age Books, page 265 (1982)|
|Among the main contributors to this theory are the chemists Ilya Prigogine and Manfred Eigen; the biologists Conrad Waddington, Paul Weiss, Lynn Margulis, and James Lovelock; writer Dorion Sagan; the anthropologist Gregory Bateson; the neuroscientists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela; the systems theorists Erich Jantsch and Ervin Laszlo.|
|The Web of Life, by Fritjof Capra, Anchor Books, page 28 (1996)|
|Need of Transformational Changes in Saskatchewan: The Learning Organization, and Knowledge Economy,by Mario deSantis, September 20, 1998 http://www.ftlcomm.com/ensign/desantis10/desantis10.html|