Thursday, June 17, 2010

Leonardo's Call for Holistic Reasoning

Leonardo used the term "abreviators" to describe the reductionists of his time:
The abbreviators of works do injury to knowledge and love ... of what value is he who, in order to abbreviate the parts of those things of which he professes to give complete knowledge, leaves out the greater part of things of which the whole is composed? .. oh human stupidity!... You don't see that you are falling into the same error as one who strips a tree of its adornment of branches full of leaves, intermingled with fragrant flowers or fruit, in order to demonstrate that the tree is good for making planks.
 
I read this quote in Fritjof Capra’s latest book: The Science of Leonardo.These are Capra's own comments:
Reducing the beauty of life to mechanical parts and valuing trees only for their lumbar is an eerily accurate characterization of the mind-set that dominates our world today.
 
As illustrated in my previous post, Leonardo relied on detailed observations of nature and of his many experiments. Yet, he kept the whole in his mind. In this era of medicine this is what we need. We need not learn more and more about less and less. Instead, we need to step back, and have a deeper look into how things are inter connected. Omeprazole effects on the incidence of pneumonia and Clostridium difficile collitis is a call to step back and connect things.
 
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