Opinion (Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California): “The systems view looks at the world in terms of relationships and integration. Systems are integrated wholes whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller units. Instead of concentrating on basic building blocks or basic substances, the systems approach emphasizes basic principles of organization. Examples of systems abound in nature. Every organism – from the smallest bacterium through the wide range of plants and animals to humans – is an integrated whole and thus a living system. Cells are living systems, and so are the various tissues and organs of the body, the human brain being the most complex example. But systems are not confined to individual organisms and their parts. The same aspects of wholeness are exhibited by social systems – such as an anthill, a beehive, or a human family – and by ecosystems that consist of a variety of organisms and inanimate matter in mutual interaction. What is preserved in a wilderness area is not individual trees or organisms but the complex web of relationships between them.
“The more one studies the living world the more one comes to realize that the tendency to associate, establish links, live inside one another and cooperate is an essential characteristic of living organisms. As Lewis Thomas has observed, ‘We do not have solitary beings. Every creature is, in some sense, connected to and dependent on the rest.’ Larger networks of organisms form ecosystems, together with various inanimate components linked to the animals, plants, and microorganisms through an intricate web of relations involving the exchange of matter and energy in continual cycles. Like individual organisms, ecosystems are self-organizing and self-regulating systems in which particular populations of organisms undergo periodic fluctuations. Because of the nonlinear nature of the pathways and interconnections within an ecosystem, any serious disturbance will not be limited to a single effect but is likely to spread throughout the system and may even be amplified by its internal feedback mechanisms.”
My Comment: Today, all sciences point to the intergality of nature, its closed system. The reason for these discoveries is that man has become such a system himself and thus can better understand the world he lives in.