The new holism: The grand prospect for science and society

World Futures 58 (2 & 3):137 – 147 (2002)
Abstract
As we enter the 21st century and the new millennium, our collective evolution reaches a critical threshold. We cannot go on as we did before: our world has become unsustainable. Sooner or later many local ecosystems would collapse, the climate would change adversely for agriculture and habitation, species incompatible with a large and dense human population would profilerate, and resources critical for human health and survival would become scarce, or at least beyond the reach of a critical segment of humanity. We need to shift gears, moving from the kind of evolution that characterized our scientific-technological civilization, to the kind that is compatible with the human condition as it evolves on this planet. This shift requires a corresponding shift in our concept of the world. The dominant mechanistic and atomistic paradigm no longer serves us: it is not only factually incorrect in view of the latest discoveries of the sciences, it also inspires dangerously misguided behaviors. We need to find a deeper and better view of the human condition. We must no longer just see the trees: we must also see the forest. That is, we must learn to see the planetary socio-ecosystem with all its subsystems, diversities, and also its actual and potential unities. What we need is a holistic view, a view of the human being as part of her or his community, which is part of its local environment, which is part of its society and culture, which is part of the system of cultures and societies in the human family-which is part of the global environment: of the biosphere.
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