In “The Turning Point”, Fritjof Capra, the bestselling author of “The Tao Of Physics” elucidates the perils of being obsessed with the Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm. The effect of acruthless and focused reductionist approach, Capra argues, would only result in a world that is restless, impoverished, polluted and disillusioned. Capra’s proposed solution to the problem of reductionism is to adopt a “Systems” view of the world.
According to the Systems or the Systemic view envisaged by Capra, the ideal way for making the world better would be to view various processes from a holistic perspective considering the fact that the entire world is nothing but an agglomeration and synthesis of interactions, integrations and inter connectedness. This symbiotic approach can be seamlessly adopted to all social as well as hard sciences such as Economics, Physics, Medicine and other mercantile activities. For example a recognition that the field of Economics has an inextricable linkage with the Ecology within the contours of which the dismal science operates would facilitate a holistic approach towards embellishing the economic progress and removing the various disparities currently permeating the global economy such as income inequality and wealth dispersal.
Similarly when it comes to the domain of medicine, accepting that there is an invaluable linkage between the modern biomedical methods and the traditional approaches to healing such as Eastern medicine, mysticism and shamanism would enable the practitioners to treat their patients in a more humane and rational fashion rather than reducing patients to disabilities and concentrating on a particular part of the affected anatomy instead of viewing the sufferer as a whole. This is where according to Capra, a willful and voluntary synthesis between physiology, psychology and psychiatry and psychotherapy would play a vital and indispensable role revolutionising the field of medicine itself. While physicians will move out of the mindset that treatment of the body alone is their sole prerogative, psychiatrists and psychologists will also experience a paradigm mental shift whereby they would devote more attention to the human body. Thus the Descartes notion of mind-body duality would be rend asunder.Pursuing the Systems Approach would lead to a cascading flow of benefit such as alleviating poverty, reducing the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, lower reliance on nuclear fission and the consequent production of dangerous elements such as Plutonium, and obliterating the economic chasms separating countries in the world today.
While “Turning Point” lends a radical twist to modern thinking, some of the means to attain the end are controversial and disputable. For instance, relying upon the Primal Scream technique evolved by Arthur Janov as a mode of psychotherapy and according an elitist status to mysticism and shamanism as touchstones of healing surely does raise an eyebrow or two. Capra seems to place unfounded faith in P.D.Laing’s quote, “mystics and Schizophrenics both swim in the same ocean, but while mystics swim, schizophrenics drown”.
All in all, “Turning Point” serves as a brilliant and refreshing mind churner whose avowed objective lies in making the world a better place to live.