Specifically, he is trying to apply the ideology of obscurity assumptions to the close scrutiny of the magnitude of the interactions and correlations of mankind. He states in the book that if we are to maintain a future life, we need to learn to respect the rules of nature, the rules and principles that nature has inevitably adapted to advance and sustain what he calls the web of life.
This book explains and clears just how much the hypothetical thoughts and scientific theories which are much ignored by most of the world that operates outside the margins of science can practically be applied to resolving most of the problems that threaten the existence of this planet. This book brings to light the interrelation and interconnections of science in relation to our societal and social organizations which most of us are not aware. This can be the reason why he titled the book ‘The Hidden Connections’, it is because most of the world’s population is either unaware f this understanding, or may be just negligent of its reality. According to a presentation by Darian Schiffman (academics, AIU) quoting from Capra (2002 p. vvi), the book basically has two goals, which are; to bring forth a new understanding of life through the presentation of a conceptual framework that integrates life’s biological, cognitive as well as social dimensions; and to offer a clear systematic approach to some pertaining questions we have that negatively and aversively affect our world.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
This study purposes to critically analyze the message in this book, to look at every aspect of human life that it addresses, I believe Capra himself being a physicist of prominence and an award winner in the science department, importantly with enough time, examined and fully dissected the theoretical scientific principles in every possible way and in their applicable nature, that in the end saw the connectivity of these scientific articulations to our own social lives today.
At the same time, he saw in the most significant way the effect the things that we do as humans are going to later affect us if we do not change the organizational principles that govern and direct our lives today. The book also touches almost all the significant aspects of human life and boldly substantiates just how each of these aspects affects the other if not well maintained. Generally, the book brings the world to understanding the extremes of destruction our current principles have on nature, making future life almost unimaginable.
In the same vein, the book proposes the possible amicable measures that we can take to preserve our world, especially world leaders and world environmental organizations. For long the world has being striving towards globalization, this book addresses both the challenges and dangers of such a motive, addressing the complications of biotechnology and its nature. The book simply brings together the scientific world and our own social world, and pragmatically defining these worlds’ relationship and probable dependence. THE HIDDEN CONNECTIONS (THE BODY) The Nature of Life: Mostly, this would direct a person to the question “what s life? ” a question which will clearly trigger an outburst of mental assumptions some driven by general thought, and some oriented by experience. An encyclopedic thesaurus Word Web, life is defined as being the experience of being alive; the course of human events and activities, or the course of existence of an individual; the actions and events that occur in living. This may sound quite simple and brief, but Capra looks at it in quite broader perspective, and defines it in even more detailed way, pin-pointing specific aspects that make up the definition of life.
Capra explains in some way that no man or organism is total island, in one way or another every organism depends on other organisms, no wonder I personally a ‘symbiotic’ kind of relation where one organism of a different specie cannot live without the other, the interdependence of organisms where each organism benefits from the other. The practical of such relationship is that of plants and animals, animals basically cannot make their own food so they depend on the photosynthetic process of plants, through which plants make food, at the same time releasing oxygen which animals do need forth the process of respiration.
Maturana and Varela (1980) quoted by Capra (2002), in their definition of life came up with the concept of ‘autopoiesis’ which factually mean “self-making”, this concept particularly amalgamates two defining characteristics or aspects of cellular life which are the physical boundary and the metabolic network; and in contrast to the surfaces of crystals or large molecules, the boundary of an autopoietic system is chemically distinct from the rest of the system and it participates in metabolic processes by assembling itself and by selectively filtering incoming and outgoing molecules.
Therefore, the definition of a living system as an autopoietic network means that the phenomenon of life has to be understood as a property of the system as a whole, just as much as Pier Luigi (2008) mentions that life cannot be attributed to any single molecular component, not even to the DNA or RNA but only to the entire bounded metabolic network. ‘Autopoiesis provides a clear and powerful criterion for distinguishing between living and nonliving systems. For example, it tells us that viruses re not alive, because they lack their own metabolism. Outside living cells, viruses are inert molecular structures consisting of proteins and nucleic acids. A virus is essentially a chemical message that needs the metabolism of a living host cell to produce new virus particles, according to the instructions encoded in its DNA or RNA. The new particles are not built within the boundary of the virus itself, but outside in the host cell,’ Capra (2002). So, the autopoiesis theory strongly supports and founds the Santiago theory in some way.
It explains and provides answers to many other questions that surround the issue life and its natural defining features and traits, it can as well symbiotic relationships, organizations, and social networks of organisms. During the process of respiration, animals release carbon dioxide which plants need for the process of photosynthesis, so plants need animals for the carbon dioxide, and plants animals need plants for the oxygen. We (animals) primarily need each other to survive.
God created a world that nourishes, restores, and preserves itself it were not for human activities that have degraded to total ruin, for example, a livestock farmer lets his/her livestock feed on the pasture, as they graze, they drop dung on the pastures which will in the next rain season dissolve to nourish the soil as fertilizer, promoting an even better outgrowth of pasture, therefore the soil nourishment depends on the livestock, and the nourishment of the livestock depends on the soil.
Capra looks at life as not being solely determined by the inherent design but views it as an evolving process that engages a complete epigenetic network or external factors, making it continuously responding to both physical and chemical constrictions we exert on our environment. There is one common character that all living organisms share and this is unquestionable.
They all have cells, be it animals, people, plants, or microorganisms such as bacteria, virus or fungi, all of them have cells that build up to give a structure. Despite transitions and extreme conditions, the genetic blueprint of organisms has so far stayed intact in most cases, some have succumbed to the inevitability of evolution, but some have been the same for thousands of years and the dependence upon another species of organisms have been carried on and on.
In his definition of life, Capra (2002:6) uses the bacterial cell to clearly delineate what life is all about, he states that when a cell is viewed under a microscope one can easily notice that inside it a metabolic processes that uses special macromolecules consisting of elongated chains of atoms, and two of such macromolecules are common in all living cells, and these are proteins and the nucleic acid (the Deoxyribonucleic Acid-DNA and the Ribonucleic Acid-RNA). Basically, there are two kinds of proteins as well; the enzymes act catalysts for most metabolic processes, where as the structural proteins form part of the cell structure.
The DNA and the RNA within the cell work hand-in-hand determining that crucial bond defining the cell’s genetic and metabolic features. The Santiago Theory: Maturana and Varela (1980:13) in theoretical definition of the Santiago theory say all living systems are cognitive systems, and that living as a process is itself a process of cognition, and the two further cement that ‘this statement is valid for all organisms in spite of whether such organism got a nervous system or not.
Initially in the world of philosophy Rene Descartes (1596-1650) emphasized the Cartesian View which promotes dualism as follows which suggests that the body operates like some kind of machine, having material properties of extension and motion, that it operates within the doctrines of physics; and further articulates that the mind and soul on the other is kind of none-material, making it a unit without extension and motion, and follows not the rules of physics.
Descartes stressed that it is only the human beings that have minds, and that the mind acts together with the body at the pineal gland, a tiny pine-like endocrine gland located close to the central part of the brain which produces melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating the patterns of sleeping or waking up as well as other seasonal functions. This understanding generally relates that it is the mind that basically and pragmatically controls the entire, and that at the same time the body can as well manipulate the reasoning of the mind, especially in cases where a person acts out of an emotional intuition.
This theory looks at cognition as a component quite indispensable in the issues of systems, it practically implies that almost every activity that takes place or transpires in the system processes require cognition, which Capra stipulates as taking place in phases as follows, ‘Cognition, is not a representation of an independently existing world, but rather a continual bringing forth of a world through the process of living. The interactions of a living system with its environment are cognitive interactions, and the process of living itself is a process of cognition.
In the words of Maturana and Varela, “to live is to know”. As a living organism goes through its individual pathway of structural changes, each of these changes corresponds to a cognitive act, which means that learning and development are merely two sides of the same coin. The first type, known as “primary consciousness,” arises when cognitive processes are accompanied by basic perceptual, sensory and emotional experience. Primary consciousness is probably experienced by most mammals and perhaps by some birds and other vertebrates.
The second type of consciousness, sometimes called “higher-order consciousness,” involves self-awareness—a concept of self, held by a thinking and reflecting subject. This experience of self-awareness emerged during the evolution of the great apes, or “hominids,” together with language, conceptual thought and all the other characteristics that fully unfolded in human consciousness. Because of the critical role of reflection in this higher-order conscious experience, I shall call it “reflective consciousness. Reflective consciousness involves a level of cognitive abstraction that includes the ability to hold mental images, which allows us to formulate values, beliefs, goals and strategies. This evolutionary stage is of central relevance to the main theme of this book—the extension of the new understanding of life to the social domain— because with the evolution of language arose not only the inner world of concepts and ideas, but also the social world of organized relationships’ Capra (2002:38-39).
According to Capra (2002:34) ‘the central insight of the Santiago Theory is the identification of cognition, the process of knowing, with the process of life. Cognition, according to Maturana and Varela (1980), is the activity involved in the self-generation and self-perpetuation of living networks. In other words, cognition is the very process of life. The organizing activity of living systems, at all levels of life, is mental activity. The interactions of a living organism—plant, animal or human—with its environment are cognitive interactions.
Thus, life and cognition are inseparably connected. Mind—or, more accurately, mental activity—is immanent in matter at all levels of life. ‘ This to me sounds more prudent and quite rational in comparison to the other perceptions, in opposition to Rene’s theories the Santiago Theory is more clearer and comprehensible even for low class students, it brings to life the real life situation that we all experience everyday, it makes one see the connection and dependability of organisms upon other organisms, taking into perspective, the biotic and abiotic factors on nature.
According to the online encyclopedia (Wikipedia, 2010) Descartes believed that this special gland was the ‘seat of the soul’ an understanding he purported with many reasons stated respectively as follows; firstly, he understood that the soul is unitary or one and this to him meant the pineal gland was an entity despite it being proven hemispherical; second to this he discovered that this gland was positioned near the ventricles making him believe the cerebrospinal fluid worked through the nerves to control the body, as well as regulating the processes manipulated by the pineal gland. and finally Descartes despite figuring-out that both human beings and animals had the pineal gland he still resolved that only humans had minds advancing in his mind the idea that animals cannot feel pain or are insensitive to pain. Unfortunately the Cartesian view gets questioned and in the process challenged by the Santiago Theory which takes a totally different stand from the philosophy of Descartes.
The Santiago Theory vehemently recognizes the reality of cognition, normally defined as the ability or the process of knowing, or the activity involved in self-generation and self-perpetuation of living systems, entailing that cognition is actually the life itself, Maturana &Varela (1980). The Santiago theory moves away from Descartes’ view of life and instead studies the mind from a systematic understanding and has so far given to the interdisciplinary field of Cognitive Science; and according to Capra (2002:34), this theory holds the ‘Organizing activity of all living systems at all levels of life, is actually mental activity’.
Therefore, the old perception of the mind as a ‘thinking thing’ has progressed into a view of the mind as being a process where the ‘entire structure of the organism participates’ Capra (2002:37). Many other views have so far been brought forth to oppose Descartes view, but the Santiago Theory has so far been the first scientific hypothesis that has really questioned and practically overcame the Cartesian dissection of mind and matter, and from the optimistic point of view, this theory is believed to have far-reaching implications.
Generally, this theory has brought the mind and body/matter together viewed as two harmonizing and complementary aspects defining the phenomenon of life. So far, the theory has already brought substantial knowledge and understanding concerning the beginning with a simple micro cell, the mind, the matter, the process and the structure at all levels which have so far proven to be inseparable and interdependent in one way or another, this unites the mind, matter and life.
In the Santiago theory (Capra, 2002:34-36) it is clearly stated that as ‘a living organism responds to environmental influences with structural changes, these changes will in turn alter its future behavior. In other words, a structurally coupled system is a learning system. Continual structural changes in response to the environment—and consequently continuing adaptation, learning and development—are key characteristics of the behavior of all living beings.
Because of its structural coupling, we can call the behavior of an animal intelligent, but would not apply that term to the behavior of a rock. As it keeps interacting with its environment, a living organism will undergo a sequence of structural changes, and over time it will form its own individual pathway of structural coupling. At any point on this pathway, the structure of the organism is a record of previous structural changes.
The Santiago theory advances the issue of higher order consciousness or ‘reflective consciousness which involves a level of cognitive abstraction that includes the ability to hold mental images’ Capra (2002:39). This inevitable capability gives human beings the repertoire to create a value system and act cordially. In the simplest of perception, this theory drives us take a person’s subjective and prejudiced experience into some version which has been conventionally ignored by science.
The Santiago specifically states that mind is no thing rather a process operating through the brain relating that brain and mind is actually one between process and structure. It is also of some degree of importance to note that this eradicates the idea that the brain is the only compartment involved in the process of cognition, clearly illustrating the fact that in all vertebrate organisms the immune system is actually a complicated network of unrelenting interconnectedness, just as much as the nervous system serving similarly the vital co-ordination purpose.
According to the Wikipedia (2010) on the Santiago theory, cognition appears as a consequence of continual interaction between the system and its environment, delineating that the continuous interactions between system and the environment triggers two-sided disturbances viewed as problems forcing the system to use its functional specialization routine to find solutions to the perturbations.
It is of importance to note in this theory that the system slowly adapts to its environment positioning itself to face-up to the disturbances or intrusion in order to sustain survival. This therefore means the resulting complexity complicatedness of living systems is cognition emanating from the bilateral perturbations in the system/environment outline. The theory is really making the scientific world dig deep into these discoveries, eradicating misunderstandings and doubts, setting up the facts straight from experimental experience and observations.
Extending the System Approach: Capra, resorts that the systematic understanding of life practically allows the world to see and comprehend the fundamental unity to life, that different living systems exhibit similar patterns of organization, Capra (2002:81),. This understanding can practically be applied to our communities, and the impact will definitely be significant. The defining blueprint of the systems is quite complicated, but can be understood, Capra (2002:81), when we extend this understanding and nowledge, applying it to the social domain we actually apply our ‘knowledge of life’s basic patterns and delineating principles of organization, and specifically apply our understanding of living networks to social/societal reality’. The living networks in our social communities work just like the brain in its environment; the two diverse situations easily match and model each other. Capra views his extension of the systems approach to the social domain as explicitly including the material world, which is quite unusual since traditionally social scientists were not interested in the world of matter.
He basically mentions that ‘our academic disciplines have been organized in such a way that the natural sciences deal with social structures, which are perceived to be especially the rules of behavior; stating that in the near future this strict division will no longer be possible since the key challenge of this new century for social scientists, natural scientists and everyone else will be to build ecologically sustainable communities, designed in such a way that their technologies and social institutions, their material and social structure do not interfere with nature’s hereditary ability to sustain life;…the design principles of our future social institutions must be consistent with the principles of organization that nature has evolved to sustain the web of life. A unified conceptual framework for the understanding of material and social structures will be essential this task’ Capra (2002:19).
The Social Network: In every society or community there must be a distinctive social kind of network and on the issue of this kind of network Capra states that social networks use communication, which normally takes place in multiple feedback loops, as some measure to reproduce itself and its culture, and thus its value and belief. This actually addresses social reality. Capra mentions that wherever there is social organization there is power courtesy of the inevitable conflicts of interest, and it is in these situations where ‘power plays a central role in the emergence of social structure’ which happens to provide people with rules or principles of behavior, Capra (2002:90). Normally the ‘social networks generate material structures buildings, roads, technologies, etc, which become structural components of the network; and they also produce material goods and artifacts that are exchanged between the network’s nodes.
However, the production of material structures in social networks is quite different from that in biological and ecological networks. ‘The structures are created for a purpose, according to some design, and they embody some meaning; and to understand the activities of social systems, it is crucial to study them from that perspective…perspective of meaning includes a multitude of interrelated characteristics that are essential to understanding social reality. Meaning itself is a systemic phenomenon: it always has to do with context. Webster’s Dictionary defines meaning as “an idea conveyed to the mind that requires or allows of interpretation,” and interpretation as “conceiving in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance. In other words, we interpret something by putting it into a particular context of concepts, values, beliefs, or circumstances. To understand the meaning of anything we need to relate it to other things in its environment, in its past, or in its future. Nothing is meaningful in itself’ Capra (2002:83-84). According to Wenger (2006), organisms in an environment develop a common practice which characterizes the shared manner of how things are executed and relate to each other, a reality that allows such organisms to attain their unifying course, and in most cases after a while such practice turns to be a significant bond within the participants.
This book clearly depicts from its author that when we try to extend this new understanding of life to the social domain, we immediately come up against a bewildering multitude of phenomena, rules of behavior, values, intentions, goals, strategies, designs, power relations that play no role in most of then on-human world but are essential to human social life, however though, these different characteristics of social reality all share a basic common feature that provides a natural link to the systems view of life developed in the other chapters of the book, Capra (2002:73). Normally this is how social networks come into being, and such communities have special aspects in common such as; that impeccable looking common understanding, the general involvement of the community members, the regular round of activities that the members become accustomed encompassing the accepted rules of behavior, attitude and comprehension which are normally sustained in due course, Wenger (2008).
It such attributes that end up becoming differentiating principles of a community, despite emanating from the ordinary; they primarily become the identifying traits for a specific community. From the most general of perspectives, the social networks of mankind are defined by minor and major aspects that maintain and sustain the network, and the connectivity in the entire metaphor, the same critically resembles the systems in the human beings and most other organisms. In any typical social network there are strict outlines that define and regulate behavior and attitudes a practice that results in the creation of ethics and norms that different societies resort to consider for societal order.
Capra states that ‘at all scales of nature, we find living systems nesting within other living systems, networks within networks. Their boundaries are not boundaries of separation but boundaries of identity. All living systems communicate with one another and share resources across their boundaries’. This clearly shows the possibility of social networks in another living web of networks interacting just as normal. Organization and Change: In most cases where an effort to bring change has been made and proven to be futile due to feeling and assumption that people resisted the intended change, the general conclusion made is the people resisted is refused to buy into the introduced change, be it for their good and benefit.
Capra defiles and contradicts this idea and calls it false, stating that people only resist having change if such change is not negotiable meaning if such change is simply imposed on them, normally societies or communities would appreciate and support change if their input on the idea is sort. It makes them feel part of that change, and part of a social community that operates systematically. When we transfer on the metaphor of an organization from machine to the living systems we actually begin to view organizations as communities with collective identities that share common values. During an interview by Barbara Vogl (2010) with Capra mentioned in answer to he question concerning self-organization in our individual lives and organizations could be useful in helping us see how to get through the anxiety in our period of transition and passing into the new paradigm thinking, he replied and said ‘Well I think self-organization and the newer understanding of life and complexity, when it is applied to the social realm and human organizations, can help people to find their authenticity as human beings The old paradigm model is a mechanistic model where people are seen as parts of a big machine and the machine is designed by experts who either sit at the top of the organization or are brought in from outside as consultants. Then this design of new structures is imposed upon the people who work in the organization and they are pigeon-holed in certain departments with well-defined boundaries. So the underlying model is that of a machine working very smoothly. What self-organization tells you, among many other things, is that creativity is an inherent property of all living systems. All living systems are creative because they have the ability to reach out and create something new.
In the last 20-25 years we have begun to understand the dynamics of this creativity, in terms of emergence of new structures and in terms of instability, bifurcation points, and the spontaneous emergence of order. This is the underlying dynamics of creativity at all levels of life. When people understand this they will realize that human individuals as well as groups of individuals are inherently creative. So when you have an organization and you want to design a new structure and you bring in outside experts and then impose this structure on the organization you have to spend a lot of energy and money to sell the idea to the employees and the manager.
Since human beings are inherently creative they will not accept the idea as it is. Since this will deny their humanity. Therefore, you can give them orders and they will nominally adhere to the orders but they will circumvent the orders; they will re-invent the orders and will modify it, either boycott it or embellish it, adding their own interpretation’. This to me implies the fact that for anything to be of some level of importance and value to the people, the people need to understand it first, have some insight on its implications, put on balance the advantages and the disadvantages, enabling them to be able to define the situation in its true context.
Organizations or companies with collective identities do exist in sharp contrast to the ‘economical company, whose priorities are determined by the purely economic criteria Capra (2002:105). In further expatiation of this situation Capra states that ‘organizations cannot be controlled through direct interventions, but can be influenced by giving impulses rather than instructions, Capra (2002:112). In most cases interventions end up causing tension and stampedes in communities, but impulses which are normally conditioning can gradually bring about the desired change. Capra continues to point out that it is the meaningful disturbances that normally trigger structural changes within an organization, instead of force Capra(2002:112).
The general deduction is that if you intend to bring about change, it is best that you involve the people as the subject of that change, for such change will directly affect them so they should be consulted about the change before it is applied, so if you involve people in the creation of change, then definitely change will be come. Organization in an economy: Organization plays a major role in shaping the economy of our social communities and the world at large. The Hidden connections discuses the most probing issues in the world today, starting with politics, sociology, education, ethics, philosophy and design, and the book’s main theme is change in these important aspects of our lives.
In an interview with Ecotecture (2002) addressing the issue of economy, Capra states that he calls for change of values, a change of politics, a change of attitudes, with the general goal of building a sustainable society and the future that is sustainable, and believable for our children, and further explained as an example that ‘in order to change the economy in such away that it becomes sustainable, one needs to understand the world economy, which today is a network of computers, a network of flows of money and information and power that extends globally. So we need to understand how we can introduce a different set of values into the global economy. ‘ He extends that ‘in order to do that, we need to understand the relationship between living networks and values and human choices and politics. So it needs certain kind of philosophy and…spiritual stance/background, but it also needs the scientific understanding. ‘He clearly stipulates that in addition to being living communities, organizations are as ‘social institutions designed for specific purposes and functioning in a specific economic environment’ Capra (2002:125).
Economic Globalization: Global economics has been under promotion for two decades now, all in effort to encourage standardization in the rules that regulate and control international trading. Globalization literary refers to the process of making something gain global and internal recognition and acceptance, a transformational process of turn simple local or national rule or principle into an international law, or understanding. It is a process by which people of the world are fused together into a distinct society that share a common understanding and work as an entity; it enjoins the economical, technological, and socio-cultural together with the political authorities of this world, Croucher (2004:10).
Upon this Jagdish (2004) substantiates further that globalization is quite often used to imply economic globalization which means the integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, and the spreading of technology internationally. In chapter seven of the Hidden Connections Capra (2003) further explained and brought more light on the definition of economic globalization in the following statement during the conference; “During the past three decades, the information technology revolution has given rise to a new type of capitalism that is profoundly different from the one formed during the Industrial Revolution, or the one that emerged after the Second World War. It is characterized by three fundamental features.
Its core economic activities are global; the main sources of productivity and competitiveness are innovation, knowledge generation, and information processing; and it is structured largely around networks of financial flows. This new global capitalism is also referred to as “the new economy,” or simply as “globalization. ” In the new economy, capital works in real time, moving rapidly through global financial networks. From these networks it is invested in all kinds of economic activity, and most of what is extracted as profit is channeled back into the meta-network of financial flows. Sophisticated information and communication technologies enable financial capital to move rapidly from one option to another in a relentless global search for investment opportunities.
The movements of this electronically operated global casino do not follow any market logic. The markets are continually manipulated and transformed by computer-enacted investment strategies, subjective perceptions of influential analysts, political events in any part of the world, and most significantly by unsuspected turbulences caused by the complex interactions of capital flows in this highly nonlinear system”. However, Capra (2002) further extends that in order for the global economic automatization process called ‘automaton’ to properly work it has to be programmed by human actors and institutions giving rise to the new economy comprising of two crucial components, which are values and operational rules.
Capra does not hide the fact that these automated global financial network processions do ‘…assign specific financial value to every asset in every economy’, he clears that this is no perfect measure though, because ‘it involves economic calculations based on advanced mathematical models, information and opinions provided by market valuation firms, financial gurus, leading central bankers, and other influential analysts, as well as unregulated information turbulences’; which mean that ‘the tradable financial of any asset subject to continual adjustments is an emergent property of the automaton’s highly nonlinear dynamics. However, underlying all evaluations is the basic principle of unfettered capitalism: that money-making should always be valued higher than democracy, human rights, environmental protection or any other value… in the process entirely changing the principle’.
Basically, the World Trade Organization (WTO) was initiated the mid-1990s to watch over and determine economic globalization; so far politicians and business leaders promised that economic globalization would benefit all the people in all countries worldwide through the process of free trade, but instead of really sticking by this promise the organization has been responsible for a ‘multitude of interconnected fatal consequences’ Capra (2002:129), that are affecting especially developing countries, that are still in their developing stage in most aspects; which brings me to the next question that Capra addresses in this book, and that is the consequences of economic globalization.
Every decision one takes despite the level at which the decision is taken there will always be advantages and disadvantages, benefits and consequences and the process of economic globalization has not been an exclusion from this natural phenomenon, in this case most of the powerful and controlling nations are benefiting the most, and the some nations are really suffering from the entire operation. According to Capra (2003), ‘The impact of the new economy on human well-being has been mostly negative. It has enriched global elite of financial speculators, entrepreneurs, and high-tech professionals. At the very top, there has been an unprecedented accumulation of wealth, and global capitalism has also benefited some national economies, especially in Asian countries. But overall its social and environmental consequences have been disastrous.
The rise of global capitalism has been accompanied by rising social inequality and polarization, both internationally and within countries. In particular, poverty and social inequality have increased through the process of social exclusion, which is a direct consequence of the new economy’s network structure. As the flows of capital and information interlink worldwide networks, they exclude from these networks all populations and territories that are of no value or interest to their search for financial gain. As a result, certain segments of societies, areas of cities, regions, and even entire countries become economically irrelevant. Thus, a new impoverished segment of humanity has emerged around the world as a direct consequence of globalization.
It comprises large areas of the globe, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa and rural areas of Asia and Latin America. But the new geography of social exclusion also includes portions of every country and every city in the world’. Capra (2003) further explains that ‘According to the doctrine of economic globalization known as “neo-liberalism,” the free-trade agreements imposed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on its member countries will increase global trade; this will create a global economic expansion; and global economic growth will decrease poverty, because its benefits will eventually “trickle down” to all. This reasoning is fundamentally flawed.
Global capitalism does not alleviate poverty and social exclusion; on the contrary, it exacerbates them. Neo-liberalism has been blind to this effect because corporate economists’ have traditionally excluded the social costs of economic activity from their models. Similarly, most conventional economists have ignored the new economy’s environmental cost — the increase and acceleration of global environmental destruction, which is as severe, if not more so, than its social impact. One of the tenets of neo-liberalism is that poor countries should concentrate on producing a few special goods for export in order to obtain foreign exchange, and should import most other commodities.
This emphasis on export has led to the rapid depletion of the natural resources required to produce export crops in country after country — diversion of freshwater from vital rice paddies to prawn farms; a focus on water-intensive crops, such as sugar cane, that result in dried-up river beds; conversion of good agricultural land into cash-crop plantations; and forced migration of large numbers of farmers from their lands. All over the world there are countless examples of how economic globalization is worsening environmental destruction; and since money-making is the dominant value of global capitalism, its representatives seek to eliminate environmental regulations under the guise of “free trade” wherever they can, lest these regulations interfere with profits.
Thus, the new economy causes environmental destruction not only by increasing the impact of its operations on the world’s ecosystems, but also by eliminating national environmental laws in country after country. In other words, environmental destruction is not only a side effect, but is also an integral part of the design of global capitalism’ Capra (2003). One can clearly see that in scientific perspective the world is not really benefiting from the issue of economic globalization considering the number of consequences the whole program brings and foretells for the future in relation to the benefits, personally I see more disadvantages and more consequences accumulated in the entire operation coming in the name of money making and development.
The worst part of this whole motion is that its future impact on the natural vegetation of the world is really unpleasant, trees are being cut out in the name of development, and minerals are being extremely extracted at rate that the replenishment process is by many times left behind, fumes and harmful gases from factories and industries are being emitted in the atmosphere, marine resources have been exploited without the really consideration of the impact such activities may have o the world environment in the near future, or the impact on the biodiversity of lives in different habitats on the planet. So far the principles of ecology are not so difficult to comprehend and follow, Capra (2002) simplifies them as follows; Networks: As we have already seen in this essay the unrelenting networking of organisms, networks within networks. We also saw just how living systems communicate with one another and share resources even beyond the margins of their reach. Cycles: This must be general knowledge at this time in life, we generally should accept the reality that all living organisms feed on continual flows of matter and energy within their environment to sustain life, and acknowledge the reality that all organisms produce waste.
It is also of greater to note that the ecosystem itself does not produce any waste because one organism’s waste happens to be the next specie’s food, so in the end nothing really goes to waste, almost everything is useful in one way or another making matter cycle continually through the web of life. Solar energy: We all need sunlight, both plants and people. Sunlight is the common source of vitamin D for animals, and green plants transform sunlight to chemical energy by the process of photosynthesis, making plants the ultimate source of food for both animals and human beings on the entire planet, running the ecological cycle accordingly. Partnership: It is of greater importance to note that the exchanges of energy nd resources in an ecosystem get sustained through pervasive co-operation, stating the verity that life came by co-operation, partnership and networking. Diversity: Under this aspect Capra mentions that ecosystems achieve stability and resilience through the richness and complexity their ecological webs, and the greater the biodiversity, the more the resilience and buoyancy. These clearly show just how nature adapts and adjusts to its natural environment or any other factors that triggers reactions of the organisms. Dynamic Balance: Ecosystem is no stationery realms; they are actually flexible and ever fluctuating, and its flexibility come as consequence of multiple feedback loops that keep the system in the state of dynamic balance.
Therefore all ecosystem variables fluctuate around their optimal values. If only we stick by these principles, and do everything in careful consideration of the involved dangers we would really be on the right path by now. So far our ignorance and negligence is slowly making us pay through what we choose to call ‘natural catastrophes’ when in reality these are no more natural calamities but rather man-made, our activities are making our world prone to harm. I really wouldn’t say we do this unknowingly considering the level of both the general, social and scientific knowledge of the world at this moment. Everybody is educated today making it quite easier for any transmission of information.
The people in the science departments of the world fully understand the consequences of the activities they invent and institute in the name of science and invention. This is what makes Eco-literacy and eco-design subjects of concern to the future-concerned citizens of this planet, for if we get the people to understand this reality the situation may improve towards a positive and conducive future. The Role of NGOs: Everybody that is an inhabitant of this planet is practically and directly involved in either destroying it or restoring it. In one way or another we all contribute to this paradoxical situation, each one of us fall into one of these categories, and this include the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The encyclopedic online dictionary Wikipedia, 2010) defines NGOs as follows, ‘A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal lessons that operates independently from any government and a term usually used by governments to refer to entities that have no government status. In the cases in which NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organization. The term is usually applied only to organizations that pursue some wider social aim that has political aspects, but that are not overtly political organizations such as political parties. Unlike the term “inter-governmental organization”, the term “non-governmental organization” has no generally agreed legal definition.
In many jurisdictions, these types of organization are called “civil society organizations” or referred to by other names’. These organizations are operated separately from governments; they are stand-alone organizations that globally strive for the betterment of the ordinary or common people world-wide. There are so far both local/national and international Non-Governmental Organization in the entire world established for a diversity of activities, as they see fit, sometimes according to local, national, international or even global needs; they can either be charitable orientation; service orientation; participatory orientation; or empowering orientation type, and are always non-profit making organizations.
These organizations’ primary aim is to help promote and encourage collaborations, relationships or partnerships between NGOs in all countries throughout the world, so that together and as an entity we can more effectively cohort with the United Nations (UN) and each other so that we are able to create a more peaceful, serene, just, equitable and sustainable world for our generation as well as for the upcoming future generations. According to Capra (2002) ‘At the turn of this century, an impressive global coalition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), many of them led by men and women with deep personal roots in the sixties, formed around the core values of human dignity and ecological sustainability. In 1999, hundreds of these grassroots organizations interlinked electronically for several months to prepare for joint protest actions at the meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle. The “Seattle Coalition,” as it is now called, was extremely successful in derailing the WTO meeting and in making its views known to the world.
Its concerted actions have permanently changed the political climate around the issue of economic globalization’… and furthers that ‘At the second of these meetings, the NGOs proposed a whole set of alternative trade policies, including concrete and radical proposals for restructuring global financial institutions, which would profoundly change the nature of globalization’. So far ‘the global justice movement exemplifies a new kind of political movement that is typical of our Information Age. Because of their skillful use of the Internet, the NGOs in the coalition are able to network with each other, share information, and mobilize their members with unprecedented speed. As a result, the new global NGOs have emerged as effective political actors who are independent of traditional national or international institutions. They constitute a new kind of global civil society.
This new form of alternative global community, sharing core values and making extensive use of electronic networks in addition to frequent human contacts, is one of the most important legacies of the sixties; and if it succeeds in reshaping economic globalization so as to make it compatible with the values of human dignity and ecological sustainability,’…during the sixties the most important and enduring legacy of that the world community developed has been the creation and subsequent flourishing of a global alternative culture that shares a set of core values. Although many of these values e. g. environmentalism, feminism, gay rights, global justice — were shaped by cultural movements in the seventies, eighties, and nineties, their essential core was first expressed by the sixties’ counterculture.
Therefore, many of today’s senior progressive political activists, writers, and community leaders trace the roots of their original inspiration back to the sixties’ Capra (2002). This is basically the much the NGOs strives to do, to restore the world to its naturally vegetative state, to help the poor and the needy, and hope to help those ravaged by natural catastrophes such as flooding, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, famines and many other calamitous situations. Many countries that struggle economically or affected by any kind of difficulties have benefited from these non-governmental organizations in many ways such as in food relief programs, volunteer teachers from a diversity of developed countries, financially sponsorships, and further educational sponsorships, and many other ways.
Bunge (2002:233) mentions that the rational first step at the moment is to wade towards sustainability, and the second step being the one that involves Eco-design where ‘we need to apply our ecological knowledge to the fundamental redesign of our technologies and social institutions’ and as stated in process bridging the separating opening between the two,(technology and social institution). When we all work towards this idea, the idea of improve and caring for our world we would change a great deal of the happenings around the world; which could practically lead to the quick restoration of our planet before we bring it its total destruction. The reality that we are destroying our vegetation which is our natural source of food and oxygen, we are actually putting ourselves at risk. Plants need us (animals) just as much as we need them, they depend on us the same way we depend on them. Upon this is part played by non-living objects such as water, air, the soil and all other abiotic matters that are vital to our sustenance of life.
They form part of ecosystem even if they are non-living, they contribute greatly to self-sustaining abilities of our planet and form part of the web of life in one way or another, without water plants would wilt, and animals would die of thirst, and without air both plants and animals would suffocate, and with no soil there wouldn’t be plants for us to feed on. So this is life in its real form, all contributing factors are vital to the sustainability of life in the future. Conclusion This essay is quite practically applicable in our real life situation; it fully conveys the primary hypothesis of the Capra’s book “The Hidden Connections”. It simplifies the complicate and great amount of information he whole book contains, and most of all it is highly educative and reasonable, compromising of almost every component that matters in life on this planet. In this assignment, I learned the importance of understanding the trend of life as well as the flows of energy within the unrelenting interconnecting chains of life. It is simple; I learned that plants need dead organic materials for food, herbivorous animals feed on those plants, and the carnivorous animals feed on those herbivorous animals and later they all die providing manure back into the soil which plants will suck-up once again to grow, simply explaining the theory of producers and consumers.
I also learned in this study that despite the efforts made by Rene Descartes to define life and help the world understand there are some facts which would have helped him define it even better if only he paid more attention to important factors that save as the basis of life. The Hidden Connection is a book if taken seriously and put to action can bring back our world to its initial natural state. The book clearly defines just how we have destroyed our natural world. In the development of weaponry, back in 1945 atomic bombs were created with devastating long lasting effects on the environment, and the vegetation alike including all the living organisms within its reach. Wasn’t this supposed to be a scientific breakthrough in the science of war? But in the end this defined the ultimate weapon with which man will completely destroy the whole world.
Technology so far came up with many efficient measures of doing things increasing productivity in the process, many cars and machineries that emit harmful gases into the atmosphere have been heavily produced, huge upon tremendous amounts of fossil fuel gases have been gushed out into the atmosphere sucking out the gases important to the maintenance of the ultra-violet ray protective ozone layer and this has resulted in extreme temperature in our world today. Technology once again increased productivity in the agricultural sector so as to sustain the world’s ever growing population, and so they introduced genetically modified products that also have effects on the animals that feed on them including human beings, thus breaking the natural rules of replenishment. This was meant to be a scientific break-through as well but later backfired.
Fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, and many other chemicals meant to advance humanity and help prevent the world from starvation have turned out to fatal substances, whereby when washed down the streams during rain and flood seasons they affect the water upon which most wild organisms and animals depend for water, the animals drink such water and get affected, some die from the effects, while some develop resistance to the effects but continue to carry the resulting illness of which people will kill for meat, and eat the infected meat which will clearly cause negative consequences. If we want to save the world for our children, we really have to act now before it gets too late. Preventing our world from getting destroyed by our activities is a better alternative than trying to salvage the remaining patches after destroying. This is why Capra suggested the ecological alternative, repairing the world by us can be difficult, but the good thing is that our world has natural abilities to restore itself if given a chance of restoration. At this moment in time, there are millions of totally extinct species that once existed and defined the beauty of our world.
We can still save and manage to replenish the remaining species if taken into serious consideration the suggestions made by Capra in his book “The Hidden Connections”. Bibliography 1. Barbara Vogl, (2010). PATTERNS- Interview with Fritjof Capra. http://www. haven. net/patterns/capra. html (Accessed on 11/14/2011) 2. Bhagwati, Jagdish (2004). In defense of Globalization. Oxford, New York: Oxford University PressCC 3. Capra, Fritjof (2002b). Where Have All the Followers Gone? Reflections on the Spirit and Legacy of the Sixties, December 1, 2002. Mindwalk, http://www. terehesshu/english/capra2. html (Accessed on 11/13/2011) 4. Capra, Fritjof, (2002). The Hidden Connections. New York, USA: Doubleday a division of Random House Inc 5. Descartes, Rene (1644).
The Principles of Philosophy (IX) 6. Europe Commission, (2011). Organic Farming: Good for nature, good for you. http://www. ec. europa. eu/agriculture/organic/organic-farming/what-organic_en (Accessed on 11/13/2011) 7. Food and agricultural Organization of United Nations, (2010). What FAQ Does: Food Forever (The Green Revolution). FAQ: United Nations, http://www. fan. org/kids/en/revolution. html (Accessed on 11/13/2011) 8. Goodstein, David (2004) Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil, W. W. New York: Norton and Company, p. 128 9. Laura De Francesco (2004). Profile: Capra Fritjof: Nature Biotechnology. San Francisco: Nature Publishing 10. Maturana, Humberto R. Varela, Francisco J, (1980). Autopoiesis and Cognition. The Realization of the Living. Dordrecht: Reidel, p. 13 11. Philip S, Wenz (December, 2002). Connecting With Fritjof Capra. Ecotecture. http://www. ecotecture. com/library_eco/interviews/capra1a. html Accessed on 11/14/2011 12. Pier Luigi, L (2008). The Emergence of Life-From Chemical Origin to Synthetic Biology. Cambridge University Press 13. Shiela L, Croucher (2004). Globalization and Belonging: The Politics of Identity a Changing World. Rowman & Littlefield, p. 10 14. The Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, (1990). The Talloires Declaration. Washington, DC. www. ulsf. rg/programs_talloires_td. html Accessed on 11/14/2011 15. Wackermagel, M. , N. B. Schulz, D. Deumling, A. Callejas Linares, M. Jenkins, V. Kapos, C. Monfreda, J. Loh, N. Myers, R. Nargaard, and J. Randers (2002) “Tracking the Ecology Overshoot of the Human Economy, ” Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences 99:9266-9271. 16. Wenger, Etienne. Communities of Practice. Healthcare Forum Journal/August: (1996). 17. Wenger, Etienne. Communities of Practice. Cambridge University Press 18. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2010). Non-Governmental Organizations. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/non-governmental_organizations. html. Accessed on 11/14/2011idd