Fritjof Capra, 2002, Harper Collins Preface
The purpose of the book is to present a conceptual framework that integrates life’s biological, cognitive and social dimensions – to offer a unified view of life, mind and society and a coherent, systemic approach to some of the critical issues of our time. Beliefs/focus of the book – that the philosophical school of deep ecology which does not separate humans from nature (i.e. that humans and their social life evolved out of the biological world) and that recognises the intrinsic values of all human beings is an ideal philosophical and spiritual context for the new scientific paradigm. Capra’s focus is on the processes and patterns of organisation of living systems: on the hidden connections between phenomena that his extension of the systems approach to the social domain explicitly includes the material world because ”…the key challenges of the 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 systems – their material and social structures – do not interfere with nature’s inherent ability to sustain life.” That “the design principles of our future social institutions must be consistent with the principles of organisation that nature has evolved to sustain the web of life.”
Chapter One –The Nature of Life
What are the defining characteristics of living systems? To identify these Capra looks at the simplest system that displays these characteristics - a bacterial cell. Ecological perspective - Morowitz “Sustained life is a property of an ecological system rather than a single organism or species” No individual organism can exist in isolation. all cells include proteins and nucleic acids ( DNA& RNA) which a) form part of the cell structure and b) are enzymes which catalyse the metabolic processes and the enzymes in turn are... [continues]
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