Response to Fritjof Capra’s The Turning Point Essay

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Response to Fritjof Capra’s The Turning Point

Summary of Capra’s Book -----------------------

Published March 1982.

Context: Reagan and Thatcher/high interest rates/rise of the “me” generation/crime and drug waves making big news/no one had a PC.

Iran Releases 52 Hostages (taken during Carter’s presidency)

President Shot In Chest, Brady Suffers Head Wound

John Hinkley Charged With Attempted Assassination of President Reagan

Israel Bombs Iraqi Nuclear Reactor

Reagan Fires Striking Air Controllers

Pope Paul II is wounded in assassination attempt

First test tube baby is born

Outrageous interest rates causing people to walk away from their homes

Fritjof Capra
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It gives preference to rational analysis rather than intuition leading to synthesis. “It is now becoming apparent that overemphasis on the scientific method and on rational, analytic thinking has led to attitudes that are profoundly antiecological” (41).


The Newtonian World-Machine

The universe is a mechanical system which emerged fully constructed from the hands of the Creator. Capra outlines the development of scientific thought through, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Descartes, and Newton. He says, “Overemphasis on the Cartesian method has led to the fragmentation that is characteristic of both our general thinking and our academic disciplines, and to the widespread attitude of reductionism in science-the belief that all aspects of complex phenomena can be understood by reducing them to their constituent parts” (59). Science in the 18th Century was tied to a Cartesian world and modeled on Newtonian physics. Everything was measurable and able to be dismantled for observation.

Locke applied similar thought patterns to his analysis of people. He posited that there were “natural laws” and a “state of nature” for man. His ideas on rights and economics led to Thomas Jefferson and, from him, to the constitution of the USA.

Examples of manifestation of Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm

The Biomedical Model

This worldview sees the body

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