Only A Holistic View of Nature Can Solve Big Problems, Says UC Berkeley Physicist
A new way of thinking about our biology--or rather, a very old way--is essential if we are to collectively solve the existential problems that face humanity, says UC Berkeley physicist Fritjof Capra.
What's the Latest?
A new way of thinking about our biology--or rather, a very old way--is essential if we are to collectively solve the existential problems that face humanity, says UC Berkeley physicist Fritjof Capra. In his new book, The Systems View of Life, Capra argues that problems such as climate change and financial crises result from a misunderstanding the world's interconnectedness. Capra explains how "modern biology, in trying to understand the self-organising, adaptive and creative aspects of life in all its forms, has by necessity turned to a holistic, systems view emphasising pattern and organization."
What's the Big Idea?
With co-author and biologist Pier Luigi, the two explain how, for example, it is impossible to understand how the human heart works by only examining its cells. The cells depend on the overall functioning of the heart, and the heart depends on the cells. In others words, causality works in both directions. "These ideas have helped drive complexity science forward over the past few decades. Indeed, Capra and Luisi argue that the 21st-century zeitgeist is changing from one of world-as-machine to world-as-network, a holistic system in precise interrelation rather than a collection of dissociated parts."
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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
- A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
- The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
- The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
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