The Web of Life (2 Cassettes)by Fritjof Capra, Michael Prichard, Michael Prichard
The vitality and accessibility of Fritjof Capra's ideas have made him one of the most eloquent spokespersons for the latest findings emerging at the frontiers of scientific, social and philosophical thought. In his previous bestsellers, he juxtaposed physics and mysticism to define a new vision of reality. Now Dr. Capra takes another giant step, setting forth an
The vitality and accessibility of Fritjof Capra's ideas have made him one of the most eloquent spokespersons for the latest findings emerging at the frontiers of scientific, social and philosophical thought. In his previous bestsellers, he juxtaposed physics and mysticism to define a new vision of reality. Now Dr. Capra takes another giant step, setting forth an emerging theory of living systems, one that offers a unified view of mind, matter and life.
During the past twenty-five years, scientists have challenged conventional views of evolution and the organization of living systems, and have developed revolutionary new theories that have profound implications not only for science and philosophy but also for business, politics, health care, education and everyday life. Fritjof Capra has been at the forefront of this revolution and now, in The Web of Life, he offers a brilliant synthesis of these exciting breakthroughs.
The survival of humanity depends on our developing a new understanding of the principles of organization of ecosystems, and using those principles to create sustainable human communities in which we can satisfy our needs and aspirations without diminishing the chances of future generations. This remarkable program points the way to that understanding.
Capra's whole approach is based on the premise that earlier schools of science falsely attempted to force their subjects into mechanistic, easily quantifiable models, in opposition to the holistic awareness of today's scientific revolutionaries. Systems thinking and fractal geometry replace traditional analytical tools and methods. In biological terms, this means abandoning the traditional emphasis on the cell as a fundamental building block of life. Instead, the modern cell emerges as a symbiotic partnership between a number of formerly independent entities, now playing the roles of nucleus, mitochondria, ribosomes, chloroplasts, and so forth. Indeed, the emphasis on cooperation is a keynote of Capra's vision. The Gaia hypothesis, in which Earth itself is seen as a single self-regulating biological entity, plays a large role in his vision. Likewise, he believes that the Darwinian vision of struggle for survival aided by chance mutations is refuted by the discovery that microorganisms can in effect cooperate by passing genetic material from one to another across species linesa discovery that he feels calls into question the entire notion of separate species. But Capra pushes his thesis too eagerly and with too little attention to mundane details. A reader up on the subject will catch him in innumerable small errors (for example, he seems unaware that most biologists see modern apes not as human ancestors but as collateral descendants of a common ancestor). He likes to replace well-established terminology with new jargon, much of it rather condescending; readers of a book like this are unlikely to need him to substitute "southern ape" for the scientific term Australopithecus. He too often states sweeping and unprovable assumptionssuch as that Cro-Magnons possessed "fully developed language"as fact.
Surveys a great deal of fascinating ground, but from the standpoint of a true believer rather than of an objective explorer.
- Macmillan Audio
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- 4.52(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.68(d)
Meet the Author
Fritjof Capra, theoretical physicist, systems theorist, writer and lecturer, received his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna. He is the founder and president of the Elmwood Institute in Berkeley, CA, an international organization dedicated to nurturing new ecological visions and applying them to the solution of current social, economic and environmental problems.
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