Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 13 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Podcast    H2'ed 1/8/15

How Systems View of Life Affects Sustainability, Health Care, Economics, Energy, Food-- Fritjof Capra Intvw Part 2

Follow Me on Twitter     Message Rob Kall
Become a Fan
  (306 fans)

Broadcast 1/8/2015 at 17:21:43 (60 Listens, 39 Downloads, 2312 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast

Check out More Podcasts


listen on iTunes

listen on SoundCloud


View on Stitcher
View on Stitcher

Copyright © Rob Kall, All Rights Reserved. Do not duplicate or post on youtube or other sites without express permission. Creative commons permissions for this site do not apply to audio content or transcripts of audio content.

(Image by Oxford University Press, WPFK)   Details   DMCA

This is the second part of my two part interview with Fritjof Capra-- the part that gets into how to apply the ideas of the Systems View of life.
Here's the intro I gave at the beginning of the interview:

Fritjof Capra is one of the world's leading thinkers in systems theory, and the author of so many influential books such as The Tao of Physics, The Web of Life: The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living, Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks and the main subect of this interview, The Systems View of Life, by Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi

Rough, Incomplete Notes designed to motivate you to listen to the audio podcast.

Rob: The book presents a systems theory approach which integrates four dimensions of life -- biological, cognitive, social and ecological. Can you touch on each of those?

David Steindl-Rast

Web of life, The Hidden Connections,

Systemic view of living organisms is a view in terms of networks--systems view involves patterns, connectedness, processes. All parts of living systems organize themselves in relationship to one another. Ecosystems are networks of organisms in feeding relationships.

Social systems are networks of communications.

Cognitive dimension of life Involves mind and consciousness--we need to understand the nature of mind and consciousness

Rob: I think we need to get into explaining what cognitive means in the systems way of thinking. It is far more than simply thinking.

Decartes posited two separate things--mind and matter. The mind is the thinking thing and matter is the extended thing res extensa.

The advance of the systems view of life is that mind and consciousness are not things, but processes--a model developed by Gregory Bateson--one of the most important systems theorists. And Umberto Maturano and Francisco Varela--the Santiago theory of cognition--which started a whole new world of cognitive science.

Rob: The word is autopoiesis.

It means self-making, or self-generating--which is a cognitive process.

Question that has plagued scientists for centuries--what's the difference between mind and brain. The relationship between mind and brain is between process and structure. This is a huge revolution in science


Rob: Let me repeat that. Overcoming the Cartesian model of science is a huge step.

Rob: what I took away from your book is that the mechanistic metaphor is what many major aspects of our culture is built upon.

The systems view has similarities with spiritual views of life. (Tao of physics) Dalai Lama and mind-life institutes dialogues. Co-wrote with Pier Luigi Luisi chapter on science and spirituality. Important to distinguish between spirituality and religion. Root of words spirit and anima--root of soul--related to breath--breath of life--spirit are moments when we feel most alive. A central experience of belonging to a larger whole and being integrated in it. This is independent of cultural or historic traditions. People who have had profound spiritual experiences are often called mystics--because this is an experience of something mystical or wonderful. Religion is the organization of these mystical experiences into institutions. But institutions can forget the mystical" this is what we call fundamentalism.

Rob: You say that a central characteristic of the systems view of life is nonlinearity--all living systems are complex, ie., non-linear networks. Can you explain about non-linear?

Once you realize that all living systems are organized in networks, non-linear network.

Rob: What does non-linear mean?

In terms of geometry, linear is a straight line. A network is non-linear because it goes in all directions.

Rob: This is a core aspect--that mechanistic scientific models are unable to deal with or explain non-linear aspects of life or sub-atomic particle physics.

In living systems there are feedback loops" to construct a model for explaining climate change, for example, with all the factors, it is impossible with mechanistic science

Rob: Let's get into chaos theory, you discuss strange attractors, bifurcation points and fractals--how do they fit in?

Strange attractors that describe chaotic systems. There are other attractors--point or periodic attractors"

Bifurcation points: strange attractors can be stable or unstable. When unstable a totally new behavior can emerge--This is one of the most important results of complexity theory--that there can be new forms of order.

Rob:This gets into the work of your friend Ilya Prigogine

One of the best ways of defining biological life is to say that the central characteristic of a living organism is metabolism-- he defines it" There's the autopoiesis network aspect but also the flow aspect. The study of flows was led by Ilya Prigogine. Constant flows keep the system far from equilibrium--there are continuous structural changes and every now and then the balance of the system is disturbed and new order develops. It has been re

I took a mantra from Prigogine I took a lesson that out of higher levels of chaos can come higher levels of order.

Rob: where does this fit into change in today's world.

A small disturbance can break through to form a higher level of order. Someone says something and it disturbs the s ystem". And it cycles around and it gets amplified to such an extent that people realize" that if this is really true that they can't go on working like they were--and that's the phenomenon of emergence.

Rob: I like to say that small actions can make huge changes. You talk in your book about the butterfly effect.

In the linear world small causes can have small effects, but in a non-linear world, small changes can have huge effects.

Rob: Let's talk about the third section o f your book--solutions

A sustainable community must be built so it does not interfere with nature's ability to sustain life. The Biosphere has sustained life for" 3.6 billion years. IN order to understand that we need to move from biology to ecology. We need to understand how ecosystems organize themselves, like the principle that one species' waste is another species food," that diversity insures resilience. Ecoliteracy.

The next step is to apply this ecological knowledge to our social" systems. Requires a fundamental shift in our attitude towards nature.

Biomimicry-- author"

Three strategies: book titles; Plan B by Lester Brown,

Reinventing Fire Amory Lovins

Third Industrial Revolution by Jeremy Rivkin

They all involve systemic or ecodesign solutions.

Rob: This book was written as a textbook for students. How is it going?

It's a multidisciplinary book. The book can be used as a supplementary book in all the disciplines.

Design, architecture, urban planning, biology, life science" history of science. So

Rob: How about health--you said a lot about a systems approach to health and health care--

Decartes saw health like an unhealthy clock to be fixed. This mechanistic

System view of health sees health as a systems of processes and relationships.

When you see health as a consequence and experience of well being as a consequence of the organism functioning in a balanced way. This is an important in many traditional forms of healing--that the doctor is an assistant or attendant to natural healing.

Rob: Do you have a take on the model healthcare in the US vs single payer? How does that fit into a systems vs mechanistic model?

The main goal is to make a profit,

Rob:Generative vs extractive

Rob:Need a unified framework for material and social worlds

Rob: decentralized energy generation 427

Rob: Agroecology

Rob: ownership vs rental

Rob: service and flow economy 446

Rob: ecological democracy 448

Rob: Biomimicry and What would nature do? 449, 450

Size: 25,614,192 -- 0 hrs, 55 min, 0 sec


listen on iTunes

listen on soundcloud



Must Read 1   Supported 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity  

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: