6/17/11: The Web of Life

Our reading began with Frijtof Capra introducing a new understanding of life at all levels of living systems—organisms, social systems, and ecosystems; much like Berry, Capra calls forth the need for a new paradigm, and he mobilizes a Deep Ecological approach to confront what he sees as a modern crisis of perception. This perception stems from our scientific and social paradigms, which Capra defines as “a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself.” Bringing Systems Thinking into the discussion allows us to utilize a framework of thinking that has a lot of potential to help us observe and correct this crisis of perception. For those who interpret Deep Ecology to be more “Eco-la la” than useful philosophy, Systems Thinking is an incredible bridge to an expanded set of values, which hinges upon a shift “from self-assertion to integration.”

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