Fully funded places and bursaries available at Schumacher College for their masters degrees

Schumacher College

Schumacher College

HolonomicsIt has been a very amazing few months for Maria and myself, with Holonomics now having launched globally. We have been delighted to hear from readers all over the world, such as in India, France, Singapore, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Finland, Australia, the US and Canada to name just a few countries.

And next week we will be at Sustainable Brands London sharing our experiences and insights with representatives from many of the world’s most important and well-known brands, discussing how we are putting Holonomics and holonomic thinking into practice.

As well as our own many years of corporate experience in change management, strategy, product marketing, business development, innovation and customer experience design, much of the inspiration in Holonomics comes from the masters degrees in Holistic Science and Economics for Transition. I am therefore very happy to share this news that there is both still bursary finding for the Ecological Design Thinking course, and also full funding for both Holistic Science and Economics for Transition. See below for information on how to apply.

Ecological Design ThinkingPostgraduate Programme in Ecological Design Thinking, January 2015
Schumacher College, MA, Pg Dip, Pg Cert, full or part-time
How can we transform human systems to make them fit for the 21st Century? Click on the flyer on the left to expand it to its full size.

Bursary places available for January 2015 start – apply now

This residential and ground-breaking programme brings together deep ecological thinking, socio-cultural dynamics and the tools of design in studio and practice to create a more resilient and thriving world.

Delivered by Schumacher College in partnership with Plymouth University

Click here for more information: https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/courses/postgraduate-courses/ecological-design-thinking

Chevening Global Scholarship Programme 2015, postgraduate funding
Apply before 15 November 2014

Fully funded places available on Schumacher College’s Holistic Science or Economics for Transition Postgraduate Programmes in September 2015. The offer is open to participants from 23 countries who can show their potential to be leaders of the future.

Please apply direct to Chevening here: http://www.chevening.org/partners/our_partners/schumacher

And also apply to the College here: https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/courses/postgraduate-courses/ecological-design-thinking

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A Very Special Summer Offer on Holonomics

HolonomicsI just wanted to let you all know that there is currently a very special offer running on Amazon’s European sites for our book Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter.

It is currently available for £1.09 in the UK, and €1,39 on the other European sites.

Kindle books can be read on on Kindle devices, iPads and smart phones using the free Kindle app.

So if you have not already dine so, why not take this great opportunity to discover holonomic thinking by following the links below:

UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JZQZSR0
Germany: www.amazon.de/dp/B00JZQZSR0
Italy: www.amazon.it/dp/B00JZQZSR0
Spain: www.amazon.es/dp/B00JZQZSR0
France: www.amazon.fr/dp/B00JZQZSR0


Guest Article: Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi – The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision

I am delighted to share this news from Fritjof about his new book, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision, co-authored with Professor Pier Luigo Luisi. I will be writing a full review of the book in a few week’s time, but for now I wanted to let you know that the book is out now, a book which I am sure will soon be one of the key references for all students of systems thinking the world over.

Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi

The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision

Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi

Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi

As the twenty-first century unfolds, a new scientific conception of life is emerging.

It is a unified view that integrates, for the first time, life’s biological, cognitive, social and ecological dimensions. At the forefront of contemporary science, the universe is not longer seen as a machine  composed of elementary building blocks. We have discovered that the material world, ultimately, is a network of inseparable patterns of relationships; that the planet as a whole is a living, self-regulating system.

The view of the human body as a machine and of the mind as a separate entity is being replaced by one that sees not only the brain, but also the immune system, the bodily tissues, and even each cell as a living, cognitive system. Evolution is no longer seen as a competitive struggle for existence, but rather as a cooperative dance in which creativity and the constant emergence of novelty are the driving forces. And with the new emphasis on complexity, networks, and patterns of organization, a new science of qualities is slowly emerging.


This new science encompasses many concepts and ideas that are being developed by outstanding researchers and their teams around the world. In our multidisciplinary textbook, we integrate these ideas into a single coherent framework. We call it “the systems view of life” because it involves a new kind of thinking — thinking in terms of relationships, patterns, and context. In science, this way of thinking is known as “systems thinking,” or “systemic thinking.” It is inherently multidisciplinary, and thus helps to overcome the fragmentation that is characteristic of our academic disciplines.

In The Systems View of Life we present a broad sweep through the history of ideas and across scientific disciplines. Beginning with the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution, our historical account includes the evolution of Cartesian mechanism from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, the rise of systems thinking, the development of complexity theory, recent discoveries at the forefront of biology, the emergence of the systemic conception of life at the turn of this century, and its economic, ecological, political, and spiritual implications.

We believe that it will be critical for present and future generations of young researchers and graduate students to understand the new systemic conception of life and its implications for a broad range of professions — from economics, management, and politics, to medicine, psychology, and law. In addition, the book will be useful for undergraduate students in the life sciences and the humanities.

Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi The Systems View of LifeIn the last part of our book, titled “Sustaining the Web of Life,” we identify the major problems of our time — energy, environment, climate change, inequality, etc. — as systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent. We highlight the importance of the systemic understanding of life for finding corresponding systemic solutions that will help us meet one of the great challenges of our time: to build and nurture sustainable communities. We then review a wide variety of such systemic solutions that already exist; and we conclude that the systems view of life has given us the knowledge and the technologies to build a sustainable future. This is perhaps the primary reason why we believe that our book is so important for today’s students — the world leaders of tomorrow.

The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision is currently now available via Amazon in the UK (www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1107011361). It will lauch in the US on May 31st.

Related Articles

Book Review: The Systems View of Life: Part One – An Exploration of Themes

Book Review: The Systems View of Life: Part Two – Into the Phenomenon

Maria and I cordially invite you to take a look inside our new book Holonomics

Maria and I cordially invite you to take a look inside our new book Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter. In this preview you will be able to read the table of contents, the foreword from Satish Kumar, our preface, and chapter one.

Holonomics cover

To see the review, please click here. You will also be able browse through the endnotes, biliography and index by viewing the book on Amazon.

In terms of when the book will be available, we have received some news back from Floris Books that Holonomics could well reach distributors in the UK by 7th April, so those of you who have already kindly placed pre-orders, for example with Amazon or Waterstones in the UK, could well be receiving your books quite soon.

It takes a few weeks for the books to go through customs etc for distributors such as Amazon in the US, hence the slightly later availability. However those of you who are not in the UK may wish to order via either direct from Floris using this page, or via The Book Depository which is a UK distributor who offer free shipping worldwide: www.bookdepository.com/Holonomics-Simon-Robinson/9781782500612

As always, Maria and I would like to thank all our friends who have supported Holonomics throughout the writing and publishing period, and we are now looking forward to really engaging with you all in a discussion of holonomic thinking, and how it can be introduced in your businesses and organisations.

Is reading at 1,000 words per minute really possible?


My Facebook timeline was abuzz this week with many friends and contacts posting news about a revolutionary new technology which promises to speed up reading. According to Spritz, this is why their technology works:

Reading is inherently time consuming because your eyes have to move from word to word and line to line. Traditional reading also consumes huge amounts of physical space on a page or screen, which limits reading effectiveness on small displays. Scrolling, pinching, and resizing a reading area doesn’t fix the problem and only frustrates people. Now, with compact text streaming from Spritz, content can be streamed one word at a time, without forcing your eyes to spend time moving around the page. Spritz makes streaming your content easy and more comfortable, especially on small displays. Our “Redicle” technology enhances readability even more by using horizontal lines and hash marks to direct your eyes to the red letter in each word, so you can focus on the content that interests you. Best of all, Spritz’s patent-pending technology can integrate into photos, maps, videos, and websites to promote more effective communication.

Source: http://www.spritzinc.com

While this innovation is of course interesting, my Hummm-ometer immediately started Hmm-ing, registering a 3 on its scale of 1 to 5. I really wanted to see research that addressed how fast people can develop a deep appreciation of the meaning of a ‘text’ rather than just speeding through. Reading is not just about taking in individual words, and the meaning of a sentence is not the sum of the parts, i.e. individual words. The meaning of a sentence comes to presence through the words, but is more than the words. So while this may work for simple stories, for texts which you have to work hard on studying, it may not work.

Gadamer Truth and MethodHans-George Gadamer probably wrote the the best analysis of this in Truth and Method, where he addresses the issue of hermeneutics and the notion of ‘historical consciousness’ which I would extend to cross-cultural consciousness too. It is interesting for me since I have written a x part series on Truth and Method, and it never ceases to amaze me that this series is one of the most popular set of articles on my blog.

Exploring Gadamer’s Truth and Method: The Truth and Experience of Art

Exploring Gadamer’s Truth and Method: The Ontology of the Work of Art and Its Hermeneutic Significance

Exploring Gadamer’s Truth and Method: The History of Hermeneutics

Exploring Gadamer’s Truth and Method: Elements of a Theory of Hermeneutic Experience

Exploring Gadamer’s Truth and Method – Language as the Medium of the Hermeneutic Experience

Exploring Gadamer’s Truth and Method – Final Reflections

But back to Spritz. It seems that I was not alone in wondering about the quality of comprehension of a philosophical text, as opposed to say a short email or text message. According to Keith Rayner, University of California San Diego Professor of Psychology:

The main finding was this. If you have people reading in this RSVP method, they can read sentences one at a time. If you give them longer passages, comprehension goes to pieces.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/not-so-fast-speed-reading-app-fails-convince-experts-n46411

I have a degree in cognitive psychology, and really, I think the most amazing thing I learn’t was how little we truly know about the brain, main, experience and consciousness. Gadamer is taking a phenomenological approach to the experience of language, and while most psychologists would reject a work such as his as being ‘unscientific’, for me we can still gain deep insights into the nature of the problem. It is the way in which Gadamer is framing the questions which is so important, questions which Spritz fail to address, maybe because they do not ben know that the issue of ‘historical consciousness’.

So yeah, if you need to speed up your emails and text messages, maybe Spritz is the answer. But if you are searching for the meaning of a text, a text you may be taking years to study, rather than just rush through, maybe we will need to slow down, in order that the layers open up, fan out, and interweave their magic, leaving us staggered in their profound beauty. I am not too sure I’ll get that at 600 words per minute.

A few thoughts on Mocidade Alegre, winners of the São Paulo 2014 carnival parade

This week I am sure that wherever you are in the world, you will know that it was carnival in Brazil. Maria and I stayed in São Paulo, which after the exodus of millions to the beach or retreats in the country, becomes a wonderful city to explore, empty of the incessant traffic, but full of relaxed Paulistas, some taking time to enjoy the insane number of cultural and culinary delights, and many others of course joining in the festival of dance and music.

The carnival of São Paulo often remains out of the international spotlight, slightly overshadowed by the monumental celebrations of Rio de Janeiro and in the north of Brazil. It’s funny as many Brazilians complain about stereotypes that foreigners have of Brazil, the two main ones being samba and football, and in this world cup year there was the double whammy of football featuring  in many of the schools.

Of course a good part of the international media also focus on another great stereotype, the enchantingly-clad women, and papers like The Daily Mail as per usual went to town with a great deal of photos of this type. But something else seemed to be incredibly special this year, something I didn’t see reported so much, and that was the wonderful focus on issues of both sustainability and also spirituality, themes which many samba schools dealt with.

In this article I thought I would offer a few comments on Mocidade Alegre, the São Paulo school of samba who won this year’s competition by just a matter of 0.3 points. Both Maria and I thought that is was sensational, and I thought I would say why. Pictures do not really do carnival full justice, and so I found this video of Mocidade Alegre which you should definitely watch. Be sure to select High Definition if it does not come on automatically.

The theme the school had chosen this year was world religions, and the batteria (the drummers) were all dressed up as Krishna. As well as the huge floats which are always sensational, there are also groups of dancers who are grouped together in the same costumes. So we had dancers dressed as curanderos (women who are folk healers), indigenous peoples, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, as well as witches, sorcerers and even a float which felt with the issue of those who use religion to take money from those who are vulnerable.

I thought that the performance of the whole school was sensational, uplifting and a delight to watch. As a stiff-upper-lip-Brit, it is so wonderful to see in each member not just emotion, but such deep feelings of connection with the pure spirit of the school. The spirit really comes to presence in each participant, who really do seem to be hyper-present, living in the pure moment of a happiness rarely seen in peoples outside of Brazil.

There is a huge collective intelligence in a school of samba, intellectually in terms of the research which goes into exploring the proposed theme in depth, in order to present the theme in a profound manner. But there is also a deep artistic collective intelligence, rarely achieved in organisations, whereby the most fantastically complex operation comes together as a whole, with the Director of Harmony, who along with a large team of co-ordinators, is responsible for a wholeness in the dance and music, which given the thousands of members who take part in each parade, is unparalleled.

As I said, both Maria and I loved the many different schools of samba this year, in Rio as well as São Paulo. I thought you may enjoy hearing about Mocidade, as maybe they did not receive the attention worldwide that surely they deserved. Well done Mocidade! Parabéns :)

Satish Kumar discusses Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter

Photo: Simon Robinson

Photo: Simon Robinson

In January Maria and I had an opportunity to spend a few days at Schumacher College. We were both delighted when Satish told us that he too would be there at the same time as us.

Satish very generously wrote the foreword to our new book Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter. In our book, we discuss Satish’s contributions to deep ecology, his concept of a true economics, and his creation of Process and Pilgrimage he designed with Philip Franses. In this short video above, Satish discusses our book and the message we are conveying in it

Related links

Holonomics on Floris Books

Holonomics on Facebook

Holonomics on Amazon

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