Fritjof Capra and the Systems View of Life: Short Biography, Book Reviews, Quotes, and Comments (Great Minds Series, Vol. 3), by Peter Fritz Walter.
‘Fritjof Capra and the Systems View of Life’ (Great Minds Series, Volume 3)’ is a passionate study about the great contemporary physicist and a review of all of his published books, including extensive quotes.
The author considers Fritjof Capra as one of the most important authors on new science and systems research. He found Capra’s ‘Tao of Physics’ in 1985, at a time when his life was in a complete reorientation. He compares the impact of the book on his psyche and his personal evolution with his discovery of the I Ching and Taoism, as well as the writings and psychoanalytic teaching of Françoise Dolto (1908-1988).
The author considers as genius Capra’s unique gift to formulate and explain complex scientific and philosophical insights and interrelations in a way that the educated reader can understand. He sees certain parallels in Capra’s life in the lives of Albert Einstein and Wilhelm Reich who, like him, were from Germanic origin and after their immigration to the United States only wrote and published in English.
The author especially lauds Capra’s basically non-judgmental worldview and his ability to understand people from ultra-orthodox to very liberal with the same generosity and magnanimity. This can be seen, inter alia, in a lesser known volume, entitled ‘Uncommon Wisdom’ which is a recollection of conversations with remarkable people, a kaleidoscope of anecdotes from the lives of truly lively and communicative humans. Another noteworthy instance from Capra’s life is his long involvement in the counter culture and his meeting with most of the celebrities of that culture, as for example Timothy Leary, Stan Grof, Terence McKenna, Gregory Bateson, or Ronald David Laing and Thomas Szasz, the founders of the antipsychiatry movement.
The author especially notes Capra’s merit is to have introduced the systems view of life to scientific research, while he is not the originator of the idea, which was mainly developed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Ilya Prigogine, Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. But Capra has carefully surveyed and summarized this important research that is generally difficult to grasp to the non-scientific reader, and has rendered the important idea accessible for the interested lay audience.