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The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0385494724
ISBN-10: 0385494726
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A rich resource that should be widely drawn upon. . . . The author has courageously put together a real tract for our times.” —Nature

"A cool and rational analysis . . . for those feeling a bit confused or helpless in the face of an upredictable future. . . . A book that could make a difference." —The Guardian

“Capra has forged and interesting book, which challenges conventional wisdom, provides insights into social and economic pitfalls and offers some light at the end of the tunnel.” —The Sunday Times (London)

The Hidden Connections transcends intellectual barriers, overflows with groundbreaking ideas, and combines scholarly science with spirituality. It is a work of rare genius, true insight and great humanity.” —Waterstone’s Books Quarterly

From the Inside Flap

Fritjof Capra, bestselling author of The Tao of Physics" and The Web of Life, here explores another frontier in the human significance of scientific ideas--applying complexity theory to large-scale social interaction.
In the 1980s, complexity theory emerged as a powerful alternative to classic, linear thought. A forerunner of that revolution, Fritjof Capra now continues to expand the scope of that theory by establishing a framework in which we can understand and solve some of the most important issues of our time. Capra posits that in order to sustain life, the principles underlying our social institutions must be consistent with the broader organization of nature. Discussing pertinent contemporary issues ranging from the controversial practices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the Human Genome Project, he concludes with an authoritative, often provocative plan for designing ecologically sustainable communities and technologies as alternatives to the current economic globalization.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (January 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385494726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385494724
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bill Godfrey on February 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a valuable successor to Capra's earlier books, all of which seek to discuss matters of critical societal and ecological concern within the framework of scientific analysis and understanding.

The book is in two parts. The first three chapters provide a brilliant summary of current thinking about the nature of life, mind and consciousness, and social reality as an emergent property of social organization seen as a complex adaptive system. It's very good but not easy to read. The remaining four chapters and epilogue can be read separately, although they rely on the theories in the first part. They form a wide-ranging critique of the current governance of organisations and of globalisation, with what amounts to a very detailed case study of how these structures produce the fundamentally dishonest and very dangerous commercial drive to GM foods. The final chapter offers broad guidelines for reshaping the current political and economic framework to bring economic incentives into harmony with the needs of society and the natural world. 
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As in Capra's other books, he provides a easy to understand and compelling look at living systems. In this book he takes a substantial leap forward in providing a broad based look at the evolution of the field and the impact on systems that we are now experiencing in our world. He also provides examples and references to successful examples of what we can do if we have the will to do so. What a powerful reference and one that I refer to regularly. If there was but one book to understand living systems and how the science has evolved and the impact on our world, please read this book. I can not recommend it more highly.
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Format: Paperback
Capra attempts to connect biological models with cognition and social structures. It has inspired me to think about media in new, ecological terms. This is a great book for defining paradigms. The first section, which focuses a lot on technical biological science lays the groundwork for the rest of the book. Gene and cell networks can be applied to how cultures and societies are structured. Some chapters are truly scary (such as the section on biotechnology), and others are very uplifting (like the chapter "Changing the Game"). This book is a must have for people looking for a sustainable blueprint to the future.
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This is a highly intelligent book that applies deep philosophical insights and the tenets of complexity theory to the natural world, the social system, and the global economic system. The average layperson will find it mentally challenging, but enlightening as well. Particularly interesting to me was the discussion of epigenetics, which shows that evolution is not a simple function of genes mutating, but a complex and little-understood interaction between genes and the individual organism's environment and personal choices. I agree with the author's view that the unchecked greed of the global financial systems will surely lead to the utter destruction of our natural environment, and the Enron debaucle shows just how removed from reality the assignment of a company's "worth" is in a financial system that is hopelessly tied up in speculations. The changes required to fix these problems would be nothing less than a revolutionary overhaul of the world's economic and political policies, and I do not share the author's optimism that this could happen merely by the action of grassroots organizations, no matter how organized they have become. It will take a global collapse for this to happen, because historically humans only make changes of that magnitude in the face of a crisis...we are not focused on prevention, especially if it means those with money will lose it. This is the only reason I give 4 stars instead of 5...Capra is just too idealistic.
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This is not really a review of this book. I would like to emphasize the merit Fritjof Capra has, as a mainstream scientist, to have unveiled the negative effects of genetically modified organisms, commonly called GMO. There are indeed interesting political and social hidden connections that Capra unveils in this book, while admittedly this subject is not the main tenet of the book. But for me personally it was revelatory which is why I decided to write this review only about this part of the book, leaving it to others to review it in its general focus.

There are probably still people around who are fond of biotechnology, but I guess they just ignore the facts, and their knowledge is for the most part taken from the huge amount of propaganda material. Was it only for this enlightening information, the present book is worth its price as it daringly unveils the hidden facts and tells the truth! For I was one of those ignorant scholars, and in my case this weighs especially heavy against me, for I was trained as an international lawyer. But honestly, I never heard of the matter at university. It was through the Internet, through Wikipedia, that I first found information about it, some years ago.

Now let us honestly ask: why do we need biotechnology? I guess certain people, corporations and their consorts need it for making huge amounts of money. But is it tolerable in a democracy that all suffer from the side effects of technologies that enrich a few? I learnt as a law student that such a kind of system is called an oligarchy, the reign of an elite. So I am seriously asking how we ever came to say that we are living in a democracy?

Why do we need superpigs?
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