The Systems
View of Life Fritjof Capra


„The whole is more then it’s parts“

00:08:22 Summary of the most important insights of the theory beginning with networks.

00:09:31 Self generating and healing properties of „living networks“

00:11:31 The concept applied to mind and matter (overcoming the cartesian worldview)

00:13:50 The central insight of the Santiago’s theory of cognition

00:18:10 The distinction between consciousness and cognition in the Santiago theory

00:19:48 Evolution in the light of Systems Theory

00:26:42 Applying system’s theory to the social domain

00:29:00 Sustaining the web of life

00:32:07 The challenge of growth and the economy

Fritjof Capra

Fritjof Capra (born February 1, 1939) is an Austrian-born American physicist, systems theorist and deep ecologist. In 1995, he became a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California. He is on the faculty of Schumacher College. Capra is the author of several books, including The Tao of Physics (1975), The Turning Point (1982), Uncommon Wisdom (1988), The Web of Life (1996), and The Hidden Connections (2002), and co-author of The Systems View of Life (2014).
Definition from Wikipedia – Fritjof Capra

Systems theory

Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems, which are cohesive groups of interrelated, interdependent parts that can be natural or human-made. Every system is bounded by space and time, influenced by its environment, defined by its structure and purpose, and expressed through its functioning. A system may be more than the sum of its parts if it expresses synergy or emergent behavior. Changing one part of a system may affect other parts or the whole system. It may be possible to predict these changes in patterns of behavior. For systems that learn and adapt, the growth and the degree of adaptation depend upon how well the system is engaged with its environment. Some systems support other systems, maintaining the other system to prevent failure. The goals of systems theory are to model a system's dynamics, constraints, conditions, and to elucidate principles (such as purpose, measure, methods, tools) that can be discerned and applied to other systems at every level of nesting, and in a wide range of fields for achieving optimized equifinality.General systems theory is about developing broadly applicable concepts and principles, as opposed to concepts and principles specific...
Definition from Wikipedia – Systems theory


The term autopoiesis (from Greek αὐτo- (auto-) 'self', and ποίησις (poiesis) 'creation, production') refers to a system capable of reproducing and maintaining itself by creating its own parts and eventually further components. The original definition can be found in the 1972 publication Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela to define the self-maintaining chemistry of living cells. Since then the concept has been also applied to the fields of cognition, systems theory, architecture and sociology.
Definition from Wikipedia – Autopoiesis

Mind–body dualism

In the philosophy of mind, mind–body dualism denotes either the view that mental phenomena are non-physical, or that the mind and body are distinct and separable. Thus, it encompasses a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, as well as between subject and object, and is contrasted with other positions, such as physicalism and enactivism, in the mind–body problem.Aristotle shared Plato's view of multiple souls and further elaborated a hierarchical arrangement, corresponding to the distinctive functions of plants, animals, and people: a nutritive soul of growth and metabolism that all three share; a perceptive soul of pain, pleasure, and desire that only people and other animals share; and the faculty of reason that is unique to people only. In this view, a soul is the hylomorphic form of a viable organism, wherein each level of the hierarchy formally supervenes upon the substance of the preceding level. For Aristotle, the first two souls, based on the body, perish when the living organism dies, whereas remains an immortal and perpetual intellective part of mind. For Plato, however, the soul was not dependent on the physical body; he believed in metempsychosis, the...
Definition from Wikipedia – Mind–body dualism

Santiago theory of cognition

Initiated by Humberto Maturana in 1978 with the publication of his Biology of Cognition, his subsequent work in partnership with Francisco Varela in Santiago, Chile, eventually came to be called the Santiago theory of cognition. They and their work, their cohorts and like-minded intellectuals similarly came to be known as the Santiago school. The theory can be encapsulated in two sentences:Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition. This statement is valid for all organisms, with or without a nervous system.This theory contributes a perspective that cognition is a process present at other organic levels. The Santiago theory of cognition is a direct theoretical consequence of the theory of autopoiesis. Cognition is considered as the ability of adaptation in a certain environment. That definition is not as strange as it seems at first glance: for example, one is considered to have a good knowledge of Mathematics if they can understand and subsequently solve a Mathematical problem. That is, one can recognize the mathematical entities, their interrelations and the procedures used to view other aspects of the relevant phenomena; all these, are...
Definition from Wikipedia – Santiago theory of cognition

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