Learning from Leonardo

 

Learning from LeonardoDecoding the Notebooks of a Genius, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2013

Learning from Leonardo is a fascinating read and unveils much of Leonardo’s unique personality, and especially the nature of his scientific and human genius. It seems conceptually be the second volume of Capra’s earlier book on Leonard’s science. I have a feel that these two books about Leonardo could in the future be considered as the most important works of Fritjof Capra, and they are certainly his highest achievements given the difficult nature of the subject, and the difficulties with translating and perusing an immense amount of data, which to this day will and remains inaccessible to most humans on the globe. One probably needs to be a genius oneself to really penetrate into the universe of Leonardo. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Science of Leonardo

 

The Science of LeonardoInside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance, New York: Anchor Books, 2008, First published with Doubleday, 2007

Fritjof Capra notes in his elucidating study on Leonardo, The Science of Leonardo (2007/2008), that the great polymath of the Renaissance was contrary to common belief not a mechanistic thinker, as were later, for example, Francis Bacon or Galileo Galilei, despite the fact that he was one of the first great inventors of modern machines, and actually very interested in machines all his life through. But he did not, as later Cartesian science and philosophers such as La Mettrie or Baron d’Holbach, consider the human body as a machine. Continue reading

Steering Business Toward Sustainability

 

Fritjof Capra
Fritjof Capra

Edited with Wolfgang Pauli, New York: United Nations University Press, 1995

Steering Business Toward Sustainability is a book of high practical value for leaders and organizations who are conscious of the need for deep ecology and the challenge we presently face to update most of our basic business routines and procedures in order to build sustainable organizations.

Quite simply, our business practices are destroying life on earth. Given current corporate practices, not one wildlife reserve, wilderness, or indigenous culture will survive the global market economy. /1

Continue reading

The Hidden Connections

 

The Hidden ConnectionsA Science for Sustainable Living, New York: Anchor Books, 2004

The Hidden Connections is perhaps the most lucid of Capra’s books. This being said, I could well imagine that if you begin reading Capra with the present book, without reading his previous books first, you might get stuck somewhere in the midst of it—simply because you lack out on essential information that is contained in Capra’s earlier books.

At the very onset of The Hidden Connections, Capra reveals an important detail about himself and his unusual development as a scientist:

My extension of the systems approach to the social domain explicitly includes the material world. This is unusual, because traditionally social scientists have not been very interested in the world of matter. Our academic disciplines have been organized in such a way that the natural sciences deal with material structures while the social sciences deal with social structures, which are understood to be, essentially, rules of behavior. 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 everybody 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./xix

Continue reading

The Web of Life

 

The Web of LifeA New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, New York: Anchor Books, 1997

The Web of Life is the book in which Fritjof Capra defined his approach to ecology, thereby making ecology, or deep ecology, a concept that is part of a new science paradigm, powerfully introduced and promoted by one of the most important science theorists of our times.

What is deep ecology and why do we need it? Capra writes:

Whereas the old paradigm is based on anthropocentric (human-centered) values, deep ecology is grounded in ecocentric (earth-centered) values. It is a worldview that acknowledges the inherent value of nonhuman life./11

Such a deep ecological ethics is urgently needed today, and especially in science, since most of what scientists do is not life-furthering and life-preserving but life-destroying. With physicists designing weapon systems that threaten to wipe out life on the planet, with chemists contaminating the global environment, with biologists releasing new and unknown types of microorganisms without knowing the consequences, with psychologists and other scientists torturing animals in the name of scientific progress—with all these activities going on, it seems most urgent to introduce ‘ecoethical’ standards into science./Id.

Continue reading

Uncommon Wisdom

 

Uncommon WisdomConversations with Remarkable People, New York: Bantam Books, 1989

Uncommon Wisdom, by Fritjof Capra, is not strictly speaking a science book, but it elucidates much about the scientist Fritjof Capra and the method of his special approach to knowledge gathering by exchanging views with others, so as to achieve at a multi-vectorial perspective.

It is a very readable and from the human point of view highly interesting book, for it shows with many examples that we arrive at a mature judgment of any problem only by exchanging with others, and if the field of study is outside our professional expertise, by consulting with the best experts in the field. Continue reading

The Turning Point

 

The Turning PointScience, Society and the Rising Culture, New York: Simon & Schuster (Flamingo), 1987, Author copyright 1982

The Turning Point, by Fritjof Capra, is a logical follow-up to his Tao of Physics, and equally important. This book was a turning point also in the author’s life. In my personal view, and contrary to what most critics say, it is lesser the Tao of Physics that is the real strike of genius, but the present book because of the extrapolation of the holistic concepts developed in the Tao upon the whole value system of postmodern international culture, thereby suggesting our culture adopting and developing new values.

Only a thinker who is both logically precise, very knowledgeable about science history, and who has a metarational and integrated perception of life and the universe could do such a giant work. Continue reading