UNCOMMON WISDOM: Conversations with Remarkable People by Fritjof Capra

UNCOMMON WISDOM: Conversations with Remarkable People

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With the Tao of Physics, Vienna-born Fritjof Capra established himself as a Westerner with Eastern ideas, positing a direct parallel between the dance of atoms and the dance of Shiva. With The Turning Point (1982), he sought to extend Tao-connectedness to psychology, medicine, ecology, economics. Now he offers an exegesis on how he came to write The Turning Point. As such, this work is closer to autobiography than Capra's others. The writing is clearer and the personality that emerges often engages the reader's sympathies as the author seeks to gain approval and enlightenment from a number of mentors. These include physicists Werner Heisenberg and Geoffrey Chew and such personae as R.D. Laing, Gregory Bateson, Germaine Greet, Stanislav Grof and Carl Simonton (known for his use of visualization and psychotherapy with terminal cancer patients). None of these encounters--at Esalen, on university campuses, in London, Delhi, or Bombay--is likely to convince readers of the rightness of Capra's theories. What they do, however, is create quite believable sketches of some extraordinarily idiosyncratic people, like Laing and Bateson. They also illustrate how one intelligent individual conceived of a way to write a book and followed through on it. While it is clear that Capra's mentors were generally sympathetic, there are some lively moments of disagreement, revealed, for example, in a chapter presented as a dialogue-discussion. Here, at least one physician present defends the biomedical advances of recent years against holistic condemnations and beliefs that focus on the patient as the source of illness. Recommended, then, not particularly for what Capra believes, but for insights and reflections on some of the people and events that have shaped sociocultural history in recent decades.

Pub Date: Jan. 29th, 1987
Publisher: Simon & Schuster