Thursday, October 22, 2009

The New Vision of Reality: excerpt 3

the new paradigm may be called a holistic world view, seeing the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts - it may also be called an ecological view, if the term "ecological" is used in a much broader and deeper sense than usual - deep ecological awareness recognizes the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena and the fact that, as individuals and societies, we are all embedded in (and ultimately dependent on) the cyclical processes of nature.

the new paradigm may also be called a systemic view, or systems view of the world - in my way of using these terms, "ecological" and "systemic" are synonymous, "systemic" being merely the more technical, scientific term - "holistic," however, is a slightly different concept and somewhat less appropriate to describe the new paradigm.

there are several differences between "holistic" and "ecological" (or "systemic") - a holistic view of, say, a bicycle, means to see the bicycle as a whole, to understand the interdependence of its parts, etc. - an ecological view of the bicycle includes all that and adds to it the perception of how the bicycle is embedded in its natural and social environment, where the raw materials that went into it came from, how it was manufactured, how its use affects the natural environment and the community by which it is used, etc. - this distinction between "holistic" and "ecological" is even more important when we talk about living systems, for which the connections with the environment are much more vital - finally, the term "holistic" may seem to suggest that the new paradigm deals only with the whole and no longer with the parts - this is, of course, incorrect - although there is a clear shift of emphasis from the parts to the whole, the parts are still important - for that reason, "systemic" or "ecological" seems to be a better term for the new paradigm.

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