Monday, 30 April 2012

Autopoiesis [Greek: auto-creation/production]

Francisco Varela
Chilean scientists Humberto Maturana (left) and the late Francisco Varela (right) proposed the following question: to what extent human social phenomenology could be seen as a biological phenomenology?  
Humberto Maturana
If men were only natural beings, their autopoiesis (Greek: self-creation / production) would obviously be operated only in the natural way. The fact that men are also cultural beings lead them to operate their autopoiesis in a different manner — different and pathologic, because it is a self-aggressive one. Culture conditions individuals, which by their turn reciprocate, and so on, in a circularity that cannot be understood in terms of linear thinking. Why is this so? We know that there are no single-caused phenomena in nature — and this case is no exception. Even so, one can affirm that the main cause of this dysfunction is the prevailing mental model of our culture — linear thinking (Cartesian reductionism). We are deeply conditioned by this model, which stimulates immediatism and assign a high value to war and competition. This is the main reason by which our societies are pathologic living systems. (Humberto Mariotti)