“The counterfeit whole is based on the intellectual mind abstracting from concrete sensual perception. That is, the mind is moving away from the concrete part to get an overview. The result leads to an abstract and non-dynamic notion of the whole. In contrast, the authentic whole is based on a different cognitive capacity, the intuitive mind that is based on opening some higher organs of perception. The intuitive mind is moving right into the concrete parts in order to encounter the whole. This encounter leads to perceiving the dynamic and living multiplicity of the whole.”
from Conversation with Henri Bortoft
July 14th, 1999
by Claus Otto Scharmer
Henri Bortoft, a senior physicist who did postgraduate research on the problem of wholeness in quantum physics with David Bohm, came today to give us a lesson on philosophy of science. We have heard a lot about him from the old MSc students, and we have read part of his book:” The Wholeness of Nature”, as a preparation for this moment. A wonderful writer and a inspiring Teacher, Henri is a true “gem” of our time. Since the publication The Wholeness of Nature, he has been working in a new book that will be launched shortly by floris books on October 25th, called “Taking appearance seriously”. Today we where perplexed to hear in exclusive what this book will be about, plus an in depth review of the Wholeness of Nature, which seems to be one of the foundations of our course. Specially as this approach help us developing a deeper view, where we are starting to understand phenomenon trough our own experience, but also to use our intuition as a valid way of knowing. Following Goethe’s way of Science, we are able to see with new eyes and set the basis for a new science, more participatory and complete. In this post-industrial age, we are begining to re-think the way we see the world as we are rapidly approaching a global environmental catastrophe. The way we see life comes from an outdated, static approach that has classified and separate the world in many different categories in order to understand it. We are certainly missing something, as we move further away from Nature and its cycles, and we try to understand life in a ever so abstract and mechanistic way. Our attempts to control and dominate the natural world are actually causing severe disruptions in our own balance as a specie, and are jeopardising our own survival. We see plants as “inferior” beings that lack intelligence, the same with other species animals and natural world. The time to move on from a largely detached, analytical, intellectual science that is totally divorce from nature has come. Thanks to the research and work of people like Henri Bortoft we can begin to see nature anew, and thus set a more comprehensive and harmonious way of relating with nature.