In his recent article published in Resurgence magazine, Fritjof Capra wrote:
I want to emphasise that my synthesis of the systems view of life is not only theory, but that it has very concrete applications. In the last part of our book, titled Sustaining the Web of Life, we discuss the critical importance of the systems view of life for dealing with the problems of our multifaceted global crisis.
Today, it is becoming more and more evident that none of these problems – energy, environment, climate change, economic inequality, violence and war – can be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent.
The Fall 2016 edition of Fritjof Capra’s Capra Course has recently come to an end. Throughout the course people shared their thoughts with us on the lectures, on Fritjof’s weekly contributions and discussions in the forum, and on all of the additional aspects such as the alumni network, the webinar I took part in with Fritjof and Benjamin Butler, and on the interactions with all the other participants.
For this reason I wanted to highlight some of the comments that participants shared with us over the past sixteen weeks. I feel that this is important since there are still many conversations taking place asking how we can best scale up knowledge and understanding of systems thinking.
In the commentaries below, you will get the chance to really see the impact Capra Course has had on participants, and how well we have done with the design and running of this innovative course.
Charlie Németh from Budapest, Hungary wrote a number of comments spanning the entire course. He started by saying:
I am more and more excited and intrigued as the course goes on.
Following a subsequent lecture he then wrote:
Thank you for the lecture and for all the fruitful discussions. I really liked this lecture, the new definition of health and healing, and the idea of personal sustainability, and it mirroring all the different levels of sustainability – that we are inextricably linked with the health of the environment on every level. This is profound and has huge implications.
And at the end, in a conversation in which participants thanked Fritjof, he wrote:
Thank you very much for this wonderful course, I found its scope and content rich, interesting, engaging, informative and inspiring and even this does not do it justice!
At the end of the course, Charlie generously scanned in his 600 pages of notes for fellow participants:
Like many participants, Eric from France has been reading Fritjof’s books for many years:
Thank you Fritjof for this course. When I read ‘The Tao of Physics’ 30 years ago, who would have said that I could follow a course directly with the author – it is the magic of our interconnected times.
Tucker Tyrrell from Marblehead, USA also commented on the impact of spending so many weeks together with Fritjof:
First off, thank you for sharing your depth of knowledge with us. Your mind’s presence in my life has had a profound impact in the way I perceive and interact with the world.
Marie Lousie Marty from Italy wrote about the way in which she had managed to build up her systems thinking as the course progressed:
Thank you Professor Fritjof for all the amazing lectures which are helping me to review my work with more accurate systemic lens and evolve in my research! I am amazed with the systemic understanding I am gradually building up, regarding such fundamental teachings about Life. This course is indeed a very effective and powerful presentation of systems thinking and a systems view of life.
In my learning journeys I often find myself bursting with enthusiasm when the teachings I receive speak to my inner truth. It’s indeed a great sense of aliveness and belonging, which I believe can only be transmitted through a passionate teacher that deeply knows what he/she is sharing. I’ve been overflowing enthusiasm during your lectures, thank you!
It has been a fascinating course! From lecture 1 to lecture 12, I’ve been thrilled with all I have learned. Thank you Fritjof, you are an incredible teacher. You can simplify what is complex and make it accessible to your students, independently of their background, which is a crucial quality. And the fact that you back up your affirmations/teachings with all your years of research, extensive knowledge and other researchers’ knowledge and studies has been very stimulating and comforting to me.
The course is structured into twelve lectures in the following way:
- Systems Thinking
- The Web of Life
- Order and Complexity in the Living World
- The Systems View of Evolution
- Mind and Consciousness
- Science and Spirituality
- The Systems View of Health
- Life, Mind, and Society
- Life and Leadership in Organizations
- The Ecological Dimension of Life
- Systems Thinking and the State of the World
- Systemic Solutions
The first half of the course is theoretical, and the second half focused on how to put systems thinking into practice.
Yoan Dragiev from Ontario, Canada described Capra Course as “a true intellectual adventure”:
Thank you for putting together and delivering this comprehensive course! It’s not a small feat to synthesize a lifetime of work into a package so cohesive and sublime, and to deliver it so eloquently. And the webinar at the end was a real treat!
The past twelve weeks have been a true intellectual adventure for me. I’ve read the entire book and watched all of the lectures now, but fully assimilating the content may take some more time. I look forward to broadening and deepening my systems knowledge, engaging with other students in the alumni network and ultimately applying the learned concepts and principles to real projects.
Vasan Sampath from Chennai, India wrote about the way in which the course was able to deepen his appreciation of The Systems View of Life, the book co-authored with Pier Luigi Luisi on which the course is based:
Thank you Fritjof for the wonderful course. Despite having read your book on the systems view of life I found the lectures clarifying several concepts that weren’t clear to me while reading the book. More importantly, it inspired me to look inward deeply and I now have this serious urge to contribute to making our planet a better place to live in. For good or for bad, it increased my disillusionment with commercial enterprise and has driven me to start looking for alternate pursuits that are possibly more meaningful and fulfilling.
I must also take the opportunity to thank all the fellow participants whose comments, thoughts and ideas have added so much to the courseware. The diversity of views and perspectives have been educative and inspiring.
Emilio Goldenhersch from Córdoba in Argentina spoke about the way in which values play a core role in the systems view of life:
I feel deeply grateful for the opportunity you give to all of us, allowing a new space where from our own involvement each of us can relate and create newer conditions for life to sustain itself. It has been an honor to participate in conversations with you, after following you for so many years and through so many changes, and I consider the Systems View a real way of co-visioning and co-building a present where responsibility and ethics are at its core. “Networks inside networks” applies perfectly to this course, whereas replication can happen at any given time and synergy between the participants can be seen.
Simon from Madrid, Spain commented on how the course resonates with global events and what is happening in the world right now:
Thanks, as always, Fritjof. I very much like the way you have defined pattern, structure and process in your thinking; it seems very useful for capturing what’s going on in the world in thought.
And finally, Eunice Neves from Portugal wrote of how she wished to make a positive impact in the world:
What a great gift are your lessons, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to attend them. I never will get tired to listen to them again and again, especially to the 5th lesson. I love the simple way, you are able to explain great thoughts, only geniuses can do this! It feels good to be connected with the other members from all over the world. It is up to us to change the world in a better one, starting in our angle of the world to take responsibility for our well-being, and so automatically also for the others. I will do my best in Italy.
There are two main editions of Capra Course which run each year. The Spring 2017 edition starts on March 1st, and registration is now open. In addition to these open courses, we are also able to offer private editions to businesses, organisations, colleges and universities.
As I hope I have shown, the insights and systemic understanding gained on Capra Course in invaluable for businesses and organisations who really wish to change their thinking and implement sustainable, resilient and indeed flourishing solutions for today’s complex and interconnected problems. For this reason I am really pleased to announce that we are now working in partnership with Sandja Brügmann from The Passion Institute who is helping us to scale up and take Capra Course out to small businesses, corporations and academic groups.
The Passion Institute was founded “to help and grow leaders all over the world, who have a desire to lead as a force for good”. Sandja Brügmann has worked with the global business community to create sustainable and social-good change for the past 15 years. She is a sustainable communication expert, international speaker and conscious leadership and conscious business advisor who mentors visionary business leaders and entrepreneurs around the world helping people manifest “a successful, passion-fueled and on purpose business that makes a positive difference for people, planet and profits”. With the private editions she will be running, participants will learn not only from Fritjof but also from Sandja who will be bringing her expertise to help integrate the course material into organization’s leadership training and business practices.
I am based in Brazil, and while the world has understandably been focused on events in the US, no matter which country we live in, we are all facing systemic and interconnected issues. I wanted to share some of the feedback and comments we have been receiving, since we do have a way forward, and we do have ways to scale this knowledge to a wide audience and to a wide range of organisations.
One final thing you may be interested in. We have also recently launched the Alumni Network which all participants in Capra Course have access to on completion of the course. Continual support and mentoring is extremely important in helping students develop confidence and inspiration in relation to putting the knowledge into practice in many different contexts. For this reason Maria and I will be offering master classes for the alumni via the network, allowing students the chance to look at real world examples of the systems view of life in practice, and how to really impact this thinking in organisations, businesses and multidisciplinary projects.
If you would like to find out more information, or would like to take part in any way, please visit Capra Course.