Prof. Pier Luigi Luisi – The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision

Systems thinking emphasises the notion that the main properties of any system composed by several components are due to the interactions of the components and not so much to the properties of the single components taken in isolation. The network of interactions is the major key; we go from the isolated components to their mutual web of links. The notion that the interdependence is the major key to understanding reality is not new, actually can be found in the ancient Vedanta and Buddhist thinking, but in the modern systems view we have all the new concepts arising from complexity theory, like emergence, non-locality, non-linearity, dynamic out of equilibrium order, and so on. This is actually the main aim of the recent book by Capra and Luisi (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014), which will be presented in some detail. In particular, it will be shown how the system approach can be applied to the main domains of life: biology, the social sciences, the cognitive science, ecology. Discussion on health system, spirituality, eco-design and agro-ecology are also present in the book, although we will not have the time to discuss all of them in the present lecture. However, one cannot forget how the present problems of our world (climate change, pollution, poverty, corruption, emigration, wars,…) can also be seen as causally concatenated events of a system, whose solution necessitates a systemic approach.