If someone were to ask me who my heroes are, Fritjof Capra would be right near the top of the list. He is a trained physicist, who has spent most of his career trying to understand the relationships between the social/spiritual world and that of science. He’s written a number of books, including “The Tao of Physics,” “The Web of Life,” and most recently, “The Hidden Connections.” As a physicist, Capra argues that of the 3 major scientific disciplines (physics, chemistry, and biology), biology is the most fundamental. This is unusual because typically physics is considered the most basic building blocks of the world, building up to the molecular constructions of chemistry, and finally to the complex world of biology.
Capra’s argument is that understanding “life” is the most important consideration of science, and one cannot understand life without understanding the complex relationships between living (and nonliving) systems, which physics and chemistry do not effectively deal with – particularly when one speaks of cognition and social structures. He places a higher priority on understanding living relationships, than he does structural objects (in large part because quantum physics tells us that objects are nothing more than inter-related, nested systems, which are forever nested into infinitely smaller networks, placed within one’s self – therefore, ultimately there are only relationships and no actual objects).
Capra strongly feels that society must renew their understanding of ecosystems in order to healthfully engage the world and live sustainably. We have lived so long inside our man -made bubble that we have forgotten how the world works. That is why he co-founded the Center for EcoLiteracy, which the following article is linked from. Please take a look through it. It is a quick read, and a pretty good summary of some of his new ideas on “the facts of life.”