Werner Heisenberg: Explorer of the Limits of Human Imagination

Zentralbild Prof. Dr. phil Werner Kar. Heisenberg, Physiker, geboren 5.12.1901 in Würzburg, Professor für theoretische Physik, Direktor des Max-Planck-Instituts für Physik in Göttingen, Nobelpreis für Physik 1932 (Aufnahme 1933) 39049-33

Prof. Dr. phil Werner Kar. Heisenberg (Aufnahme 1933)

(published in Resurgence, UK, September/October 2016)

Werner Heisenberg, who died forty years ago, was one of the founders of quantum theory and will be remembered, along with Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, as one of the giants of modern physics. He played a leading role in the dramatic change of concepts and ideas that occurred in physics during the first three decades of the twentieth century. These concepts brought about a profound change in our worldview: from the mechanistic worldview of Descartes and Newton to a holistic and ecological view.

At the very core of this change of paradigms lies a fundamental change of metaphors from seeing the world as a machine to understanding it as a network. As Heisenberg put it in his classic Physics and Philosophy: “The world thus appears as a complicated tissue of events, in which connections of different kinds alternate or overlap or combine and thereby determine the texture of the whole.”

The new view of reality was by no means easy to accept for physicists at the beginning of the twentieth century. The exploration of the atomic and subatomic world brought them in contact with a strange and unexpected reality. In their struggle to grasp this new reality, scientists became painfully aware that their basic concepts, their language, and their whole way of thinking were inadequate to describe atomic phenomena.

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Two New Italian Publications

Crescita-Qualitativa2Agricoltura-e-cambiamento-climatico2I am happy to announce that my article on “Qualitative Growth,” coauthored with Hazel Henderson (see my blog post of September 14, 2009) is now available in Italian from Aboca, Sansepolcro, Italy (see http://www.abocashop.com/en/qualitative-growth).

In addition, Aboca recently published an article on “Agriculture and Climate Change,” which I wrote with Anna Lappé (see http://www.abocashop.com/en/agricoltura-e-cambiamento-climatico-2). In this article we present the multiple links between agriculture and climate change as a typical systemic problem and agroecology as the ideal systemic solution.

LIV . SYSTEM . HELHED

Danish edition of The Systems View of Life

Liv-system-helhed_dropshadowI am delighted to announce that a Danish edition of my textbook The Systems View of Life, coauthored by Pier Luigi Luigi and published originally by Cambridge University Press, has been published by Forlaget Mindspace in Copenhagen.

The book is now available in 5 editions in English (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and Delhi, India), Italian (Aboca, Sansepolcro, Italy), Portuguese (Cultrix, Sâo Paulo, Brazil), and Danish (Mindspace, Copenhagen, Denmark).

The Ecology of Law wins Benjamin Franklin Book Award

EcologyOfLaw_award

The Benjamin Franklin Award for excellence in book publishing is regarded as one of the highest national honors for small and independent publishers.

The Ecology of Law by Fritjof Capra and Ugo Mattei was the Gold Winner in the Political/Current Events Category.

The Award is given by the Independent Book Publishers with help from over 150 book publishing professionals including librarians. bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors. In 2016, more than 1400 titles were submitted in competition for the awards in 54 categories.

Zen in the Art of Environmental Activism

TompkinsRemembering Doug Tompkins

Douglas Tompkins, former ski racer, world-class kayaker and mountain climber, visionary business leader, environmental philosopher and activist, conservationist and philanthropist, died tragically in a kayaking accident in southern Chile on December 8. I received the sad news while listening to the song “Imagine” and remembering John Lennon, who died on the same day 35 years earlier. It occurred to me that there is a deep connection between the philosophy of Lennon’s iconic song and Doug’s philosophy of life.

I met Doug Tompkins in the late 1980s, when he became a major supporter of the Elmwood Institute, the ecological “think-and-do tank” I had founded in Berkeley with a group of friends and colleagues in 1984. Our first encounters took place at Doug’s home off Lombard Street on San Francisco’s Russian Hill, where he held a series of informal and intimate salons.

When you entered the gate to the house from the busy street, often full of tourists, you found yourself in a large garden with lush green foliage — an oasis of peace and tranquility. To enter Doug’s living room, you took off your shoes and stepped on a pristine white carpet. The room, with its white walls and minimalist furniture, was dominated by several large masterpieces of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero.

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Capra’s life work reviewed in new Indian online magazine

Recently, a beautiful new online magazine from India, Sutra Journal, was brought to my attention. The inaugural issue, dated August 2015, includes a very extensive review of my life’s work as a writer by the Tamil scholar Aravindan Neelakandan, who also works with the ecological NGO Vivekananda Kendra – Natural Resources Development Project. The article, Fritjof Capra and the Dharmic Worldview, spans the entire arc of my work from the Dance of Shiva to Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, and ends with my textbook, The Systems View of Life, coauthored with Pier Luigi Luisi.

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Capra Course to be launched in early 2016

course-2_1024x576I am happy to announce that Capra Course, my online course of 12 lectures, will be launched in early 2016. The course is based on my book The Systems View of Life, coauthored with Pier Luigi Luisi and published by Cambridge University Press.

I have prepared this course for over a year. The lectures were filmed last March at Amana-Key in Brazil (the executive education company I have worked with for over twenty years) in a beautiful intimate setting with a small group of diverse participants. The lectures are now being edited by the video and design team and should be ready in November.

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The Ecology of Law

Toward a Legal System in Tune with Nature and Community

I am delighted to announce that my new book The Ecology of Law, coauthored with my friend and colleague Ugo Mattei, professor of law at Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, and at the University of Turin, Italy, will be published by Berrett-Koehler in November 2015.

This book is the result of many years of dialogues between Ugo and myself, and of two joint seminars about “the laws of nature and the nature of law” at Hastings College. It is the first book to present jurisprudence — the theory and philosophy of law — as an intellectual discipline with a history and conceptual structure that shows surprising parallels to those of natural science.

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Laudato Si’

The Ecological Ethics and Systemic Thought of Pope Francis

The title of the Pope’s new encyclical, Laudato Si’ (“Praise Be to You”), dated May 24, 2015, and published in eight languages on June 18, is an Umbrian phrase from the famous religious song “Canticle of the Sun” by Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology. The encyclical’s subtitle, “On Care for our Common Home,” refers to the Earth as oikos (“home”), the Greek root of the word “ecology,” while caring is a practice characteristic of the liberation theology of Latin America.

The text of the Papal encyclical, one year in the making and written with the help of a large team of theologians, philosophers, and scientists, reveals not only the great moral authority of Pope Francis, but also his complete familiarity with many concepts and ideas in contemporary science.

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