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THE WEB OF LIFE. © Fritjof Capra Anchor Books,. Random House Publishers. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Page Capra, Fritjof - The Web of Life - Free download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free. The web of life: A new understanding of living systems by Fritjof Capra. Jeremy C. Ahouse. Corresponding Author. Howard Hughes Medical.

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the web of life by fritjof capra (pdf). Fritjof Capra is one of the leading scientists in the growing field of systems theory. His research is fundamental to the holistic. The Web of Life. Fritjof Capra. Schrodinger Lecture, Dublin, September 9th Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of. THE WEB OF LIFE. PART I. CHAPTER I. The young surgeon examined the man as he lay on the hospital chair in which ward attendants had left him. The.

What a beautiful old world it was in which I spent those months!

Capra, Fritjof - The Web of Life

It moved slowly, to a different rhythm from anything that one had known. It was a world in which a great thought or intense emotion was held as the true achievement, distinguishing the day as no deed could. It was a world in which men in loin-cloths, seated on door-sills in dusty lanes, said things about Shakespeare and Shelley that some of us would go far to hear.

It was full of gravity, simplicity, and the solid and enduring reality of great character and will. From all round the neighbourhood at sunset would come the sound of gongs and bells in the family-chapel of each house, announcing Evensong.

At that same hour might the carpenter be seen censing his tools, or the schoolboy, perhaps, his inkstand and pen, as if thanking these humble creatures of the day's service; and women on their way to worship would stop wherever a glimpse of the Ganges was possible, or before a bo-tree or tulsi-plant, to salute it, joining their hands and bowing the head.

More and more, as the spirit of Hindu culture became the music of life, did this hour and that of sunrise grow to be the events of my day. One learns in India to believe in what Maeterlinck calls "the great active silence," and in such moments consciousness, descending like a plummet into the deeps of personality, and leaving even thought behind, seems to come upon the unmeasured and immeasurable.

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The centre of gravity is shifted. The seen reveals itself as what India declares it, merely the wreckage of the Unseen, cast up on the shores of Time and Space.

Nothing that happens within the activity of daylight can offer a counter-attraction to this experience. But then, as we must not forget, the Indian day is pitched in its key.


Tasks are few, and are to be performed with dignity and earnestness. Everything has its aureole of associations. Eating and bathing--with us chiefly selfish operations--are here great sacramental acts, guarded at all points by social honour and the passion of purity.

From sunrise to sunset the life of the nation moves on, and the hum of labour and the clink of tools rise up, as in some vast monastery, accompanied by the chanting of prayers and the atmosphere of recollectedness. The change itself from daylight to darkness is incredibly swift. In science, until recently, we were always taught to avoid nonlinear equations, because they are very difficult to solve. For example, the smooth flow of water in a river, in which there are no obstacles, is described by a linear equation.

But when there is a rock in the river the water begins to swirl; it becomes turbulent.

There are eddies; there are all kinds of vortices; and this complex motion is described by nonlinear equations. The movement of water becomes so complicated that it seems quite chaotic. In the s, scientists for the first time had powerful high-speed computers that could help them tackle and solve nonlinear equations.

In doing so, they devised a number of techniques, a new kind of mathematical language that revealed very surprising patterns underneath the seemingly chaotic behavior of nonlinear systems, an underlying order beneath the seeming chaos. Indeed, chaos theory is really a theory of order, but of a new kind of order that is revealed by this new mathematics. This is very important for a theory of living systems, because the networks that are the basic pattern of all living systems are also very complex.

To describe these networks mathematically, you need nonlinear equations and techniques, and since the s we have these techniques at our disposal. During the the s, the strong interest in nonlinear phenomena generated a whole series of new and powerful theories that describe various aspects of living systems.

These theories, which I discuss in some detail in the book, form the components of my own synthesis of the new conception of life. I have come to believe that the key to a comprehensive theory of living systems lies in the synthesis of two approaches that have been in competition throughout our scientific history - the study of pattern or form, order, quality and the study of structure or substance, matter, quantity. The structure approach asks, "What is it made of? What are the fundamental constituents?

To show you how the pattern approach and the structure approach can be integrated, let me now define these two terms more precisely. The pattern of organization of any system, living or nonliving, is the configuration of relationships among the system's components that determines the system's essential characteristics. In other words, certain relationships must be present for something to be recognized as - say - a chair, a bicycle, or a tree.

That configuration of relationships that gives a system its essential characteristics is what I mean by its pattern of organization.

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The structure of a system is the physical embodiment of its pattern of organization. Whereas the description of the pattern of organization involves an abstract mapping of relationships, the description of the structure involves describing the system's actual physical components - their shapes, chemical compositions, and so on.

Now, in a living system, there is a ceaseless flux of matter; there is growth, development, and evolution. From the very beginning of biology, the understanding of living structure has been inseparable from the understanding of metabolic and developmental processes.

This striking property of living systems suggests process as a third criterion for a comprehensive description of the nature of life. The process of life is the activity involved in the continual embodiment of the system's pattern of organization.

Thus the process criterion is the link between pattern and structure. The process criterion completes the conceptual framework of my synthesis of the emerging theory of living systems.

All three criteria are totally interdependent. The pattern of organization can only be recognized if it is embodied in a physical structure, and in living systems this embodiment is an ongoing process.

One could say that the three criteria - pattern, structure, and process - are three different but inseparable perspectives on the phenomenon of life. They form the three conceptual dimensions of my synthesis.

What this means is that, in order to define a living system, we have to answer three questions: What is its structure? What is its pattern of organization? What is the process of life? Let me now answer these questions in that order. The structure of a living system has been described in detail by Ilya Prigogine in his theory of dissipative structures. Prigogine recognized that living systems are able to maintain their life processes under conditions of non-equilibrium.

A living organism is characterized by continual flow and change in its metabolism, involving thousands of chemical reactions. Chemical and thermal equilibrium exists when all these processes come to a halt. In other words, an organism in equilibrium is a dead organism. Living organisms continually maintain themselves in a state far from equilibrium, which is the state of life.

Although very different from equilibrium, this state is nevertheless stable: the same overall structure is maintained in spite of the ongoing flow and change of components. Prigogine called these systems "dissipative structures" to emphasize the close interplay between structure on the one hand, and flow and change or dissipation on the other.

According to Prigogine's theory, dissipative structures not only maintain themselves in a stable state far from equilibrium, but may even evolve. When the flow of energy and matter through them increases, they may go through points of instability and transform themselves into new structures of increased complexity.

This spontaneous emergence of new structures and new forms of behavior, which has become known as self- organization, is the basis of the phenomena of learning, development, and evolution. Let me now turn to the second perspective on the nature of life, the pattern perspective.

The pattern of organization of a living system is a network of relationships in which the function of each component is to transform and replace other components of the network. This pattern has been called "autopoiesis" by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. So autopoiesis means "seelf-making.According to Prigogine's theory, dissipative structures not only maintain themselves in a stable state far from equilibrium, but may even evolve.

the web of life by fritjof capra (pdf)

The central insight of the Santiago theory is the identification of cognition, the process of knowing, with the process of life. In other words, cognition is the very process of life. Let me give you a brief historical perspective on the tradition of systems thinking. In fact, in my exchanges with the Swiss mathematician Peter Meyer who was the collaborator of Terence McKenna for the realization of the Timewave Zero calculus as a part of Novelty Theory, I learnt that time is a fractal.

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