The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Cultureby Fritjof Capra
While physicists were busy revolutionizing our outlook on the fundamentals of the universe, the mechanistic paradigm of the past had already taken hold on the methods of every other field. Our biologists had taken a mechanistic view of life. From a biology textbook quoted by Capra, "One of the acid tests of understanding an object is the ability to put it together
While physicists were busy revolutionizing our outlook on the fundamentals of the universe, the mechanistic paradigm of the past had already taken hold on the methods of every other field. Our biologists had taken a mechanistic view of life. From a biology textbook quoted by Capra, "One of the acid tests of understanding an object is the ability to put it together from its component parts. " (Capra p. 102) An approach that ironically is quite opposed to the study of life. We've now realized that the mapping of the human genome has yielded many beautiful computer models but little else. The biomedical model which concentrates on the mechanisms of smaller and smaller fragments of the body has yielded an approach that views disease as, "the malfunctioning of biological organisms which are studied from the point of view of cellular and molecular biology; the doctor's role is to intervene, either physically or chemically, to correct the malfunctioning of a specific mechanism." (p.123) The ingestion of many chemicals and execution of complicated surgeries has resulted in ever rising health care costs, and while saving many lives has primarily served as an excuse for lifestyles that run counter to human nature. "We prefer to talk about our children's hyperactivity or learning disability rather than examine the inadequacy of our schools; we prefer to be told that we suffer from hypertension rather than change our over-competitive business world; we accept ever increasing rates of cancer rather than investigate how the chemical industry poisons our food to increase its profits." (p.163)
- Random House Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
I read this because Capra's earlier book, The Tao of Physics, is pretty famous. But this follow-up is lame. The author's main argument seems to be that since Newtonian physics has been superseded by the more complex quantum and relativity theories, we should discard our 'Newtonian' ideas about medicine, the development of science, social organization and so on, and replace them. What to replace them with is not usually specified, but you get the idea it is something holistic and generally touchy-feely. When this book gives evidence for its arguments it is worth reading; but too much of the time it seems to rely on handwaving.
I think Fritjof Capra is making some very important observations in this book. Through his observations, the author states that Western Civilization is gradually approaching the climax of a major turning point in its evolution. He suggests that the cause of this is in our consciousness, a certain way we are seeing and understanding our experiences. This is leading to many of our present day environmental, social, political, and financial crises. We are all sitting on a treebranch that is gradually getting too heavy. Many modern theorists try to explain this phenomena but Capra articulates this in a way that many people can understand. This book as well as 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato do a very fine job in trying to open the public eye to these issues. Both of these books are highly recommended for people who want to understand things from a wider, larger, and deeper perspective.
I think this book is full of terrific ideas. We are certainly at a turning point in our evolution where we can create weapons of mass destruction but cannot get along with our co-workers, and neighbors, or even our own children, parents, and spouses. The beginnings of the paradigm shift that Capra discusses has already begun many years ago but it has yet to reach a critical mass for any global change to occur at a significant level. Every decade, there is an increase of urgency for this paradigm shift as we humans come closer and closer to facing our own destruction. I think this book eloquently explains this problem in a variety of facets in modern human life. If you are interested in how exactly the paradigm shift can occur, read Toru Sato's Rhythm Relationships, and Transcendence. It is an excellent book looking at how we participate in the cycle of energy through our everyday actions (even everything we say). It is a wonderful book.