“When problems arise in our life, we usually want simple answers: yes or no, this or that. But reality is a world of subtlety and paradox, a world of complexity, continuums, and change” (Ezra Bayda 2003: 28).
“Ultimately, though, abandon everything. Then you will find something so simple that no words can express it” (Sri Nisargadatta).
Contents: Introduction - Simplicity - Linear and Hierarchical Thinking - Goals, Goals, Goals – The Circle: No Beginning and no End - Complexity: Nets or Networks - No Causes, Only Factors - Simplicity as Simplification – A Joke - Nets of Nets – Interconnection and the Heart Sutra – The Mandala as a Net - The Mathematics of Complexity - Science and Art - Order and Chaos - No-Mind Meditation – Summary – References – Quotes
In the second half of the last century an increasing number of scientists have learned to appreciate complexity. They have realized that simple models and theories do not represent an inherent simplicity of reality, but rather a simplification. Thus, when I refer to simplicity, I have in mind simplification. I realize that there may also be a simplicity that is not necessarily simplification (see below). However, this simplicity seems beyond the reach of science and philosophy. Maybe poets, visual artists and musicians can have glimpses of this simplicity. Basho’s haiku shows it:
A frog jumps in:
Needless to say, ultimate reality is beyond simplicity and complexity. It is the unnamable, mystery, which may shine through great art such as the above haiku.
Simplicity appears relative and there seems to be a continuum from simplicity to complexity. What one person considers simple may be complex for another one. To some extent the relativity seems culture-dependent. In Western culture I think that most people would agree that a point, a straight line, a triangle, a rectangle, a square, and even a hierarchy are simple. They appear simple because it seems easy for us to visualize and to think in terms of these concepts. It seems also easy for us to think in terms of things, categories, and in one, two, or three dimensions. Consider daily conversations. They are often about all sorts of things such as a car or a house, categories such as men or women, and dimensions such as a road one kilometer long, a property of two acres, or a container of a certain volume. This kind of simplicity seems not only common in daily life, but to a great extent also in sciences such as the life sciences. For example, thinking in terms of things and categories of things such as cells and genes seems widespread.
Linear and Hierarchical Thinking
Linear thinking still occurs in science, philosophy and everyday life. For example, It is often taken for granted that causality must be linear causality which means that there is a linear chain that leads from the cause to its effect which may be the cause of another effect, and so on:
cause > effect (cause) > effect >
For example, we may find simplistic thinking in genetics: a gene is considered the cause of a disease, which may be the cause of death. We often hear such stories, although we know that a gene interacts in a very complex way with many other molecules and that death is “caused” by a multitude of factors including psychological and social factors. Thus, one person may die from cancer and another does not.
Hierarchical thinking also appears still widespread. The whole edifice of biology is often presented as a hierarchy: molecules forming cells, cells composing organs, organs building up organisms, etc. Philosophers and even spiritual leaders use hierarchies such as the Great Chain of Being, which should be called the Great Nest of Being because it is a hierarchy in which spirit comprises soul, soul mind, and mind body. Ken Wilber’s (2000, 2006) elaborate AQAL map of the Kosmos is a hierarchy. He calls it also a holarchy, but that is only a different name for an actualization hierarchy to distinguish it from a dominator hierarchy, which is not a hierarchy in the strict sense, but rather just a ladder.
When I refer to hierarchy and hierarchical thinking I do not have in mind a dominator hierarchy where, for example, one person on top has power over subordinate persons who in turn dominate even more subordinate people, and so on. By hierarchy I mean a structure comparable to a set of Chinese boxes where one box contains other boxes that contain yet other boxes, and so on, like an organism comprising organs that consist of cells, etc. (see Chapter 1 and Hierarchies and Beyond)
Goals, Goals, Goals…
Our society and people living in it appear goal-oriented to a great extent. Often we rush from one goal to another. Instead of resting after having achieved one goal, we are immediately propelled to pursue another goal. We have become obsessed with goals. Goals provide meaning for our lives to a great extent.
This goal-orientedness appears related to or maybe even a consequence of linear thinking. As a cause is thought to produce an effect, so the intention to reach a goal is thought to lead to the achievement of the goal in a linear way. When one works toward a goal, the focus is on this goal and therefore everything surrounding the striving toward the goal recedes into the background or is ignored. This seems to be the reason why goal-oriented people, especially when they become obsessed with their goal, can become very egocentric and uncompassionate toward everything unrelated to their goal or in the way of achieving it.
Obsession with goals affects not only individuals, but also groups of individuals, companies, organizations, and even religious and spiritual communities. Thus intense goal-directedness, which is related to simplistic linear thinking, can have rather negative consequences not only for individuals but also for society as a whole.
Being possessed by goals means that one is possessed by thinking about the future; one does not fully live in the present. But since the present is all we have - the future will never arrive and the past is gone - living with our thought in the future deprives us of our greatest treasure, which is the present. Therefore, the best remedy for obsessive goal-directedness: cultivate more awareness of the present moment so that we can discover the richness and beauty of it. Thich Nhat Hanh (2006) wrote beautifully about Present Moment, Wonderful Moment, giving us precious advice on how to live more fully in the present moment. When we can do this, goal-directedness takes second seat and with it linear thinking, which is at its base, consciously or, more often, subconsciously. Then one is no longer possessed by goals; they may be there, but we are not their slaves.
The Circle: No Beginning and No End
Geometrically a circle seems relatively simple. It has, however, connotations that are neither simple nor easy for most of us because they contradict our cultural conditioning. As I pointed out, our conditioning implies thinking in a linear way. In such thinking there is a beginning and an end or at least a linear direction toward an end. As a result, we often take is for granted that there must be a beginning and an end. Then the question can only be what the beginning was and what the end will be. Thus, we ask, for example, what the beginning of the universe was and how it will end, taking it for granted that it must have had a beginning and will have an end.
However, a circle, once it has been drawn, has no beginning and no end. When we move in a circle, we do not come to an end. And since there is no end, we might as well come to rest, stay where we are and enjoy the present moment. We don’t have to worry that we might not reach the end, the goal. There is no end, no goal to be reached. So we can relax and stay where we are. Enjoy where we are and fully live where we are.
Untitled painting by Ulrich Panzer.
It seems obvious that Western consciousness still remains predominantly linear. Circular consciousness appears foreign to most of us. Therefore, we are madly rushing from one goal to another. Our whole history has been to a great extent a mad rush. But there have been circular islands and they seem to become more evident in the alternative culture.
Mandalas are usually circular. They are not very common in Western culture, but they do occur. They appear to be known around the world. Deep down we all seem to have access to circular consciousness. However, Western culture, being predominantly linear and hierarchical, has not favoured this kind of consciousness.
When I introduced the mandala of this book as a basis for my teaching, many students felt at first uncomfortable. There is no beginning and no end in the circles of the mandala. So with which concept pair do we start? The structure of the mandala does not tell us. Since no concept pair has a privileged position, we can start anywhere and move from there anywhere. Thus we have more freedom. We are no longer forced into a predetermined linear sequence.
A circle has still other implications. For example, when we sit together in a circle, there is no preferred position. Even if there is a leader, he does not have a special position. He therefore has to become one with the others in the circle, at least in a geometrical sense, which has an influence on his consciousness and that of the whole group. This is contrary to our common arrangement where the leader is put on a podium facing his audience at a lower level opposed to him. Lecture halls at universities and elsewhere are still constructed in this way, although there are occasionally semicircular halls that change the feeling to some extent.
Placing the leader or speaker on a podium opposed to the audience seems a relic of the middle ages. In those times, the priest was considered the wisest person, and for that reason he was the authority that had to be put on a podium or the pulpit. The king and the queen were placed even on a throne.
I realize that placing a speaker on a podium has also practical reasons. Especially in a large crowd, one can get a better view of him or her. But in smaller groups, one can get a good view of a speaker also in a circle.
Complexity: Nets or Networks
Although in an ultimate way a circle can be seen as a symbol of the whole universe, as in a mandala, very often circles represent more limited domains. When we interconnect these circles, we obtain a net or network. And one can also have nets without circles as their elements. The basic feature of a net is that all elements, whether circles or lines or otherwise, are interconnected in two or more than two dimensions. Thus, nets show a degree of integration and wholeness.
Even mainstream science has become aware of the netted interconnections of many things or events. As a result linear and hierarchical thinking has to some extent been replaced by network thinking. For example, in neurobiology much emphasis is given to neural networks, the network of nerve cells; in ecology food webs have replaced food chains; in communication networks are important such as the Internet.
An image of a portion of a neural network.
In developmental biology it is increasingly recognized that during the development of an organism a network of interactions occurs. Genes are only participants - although important ones - in this network, not all powerful controllers or dominators. However, we still have a long way to go to draw all the consequences of this insight (see Chapter 10). Therefore, with regard to complexity, mainstream life sciences have not yet completely arrived in the inner circle. But fortunately there is an increasing number of holistic scientist and philosophers who are keenly aware of the web of life. Capra (1996) published a book entitled The Web of Life. Capra and Luisi (2014) referred to it as The Systems View of Life.
Chargaff, whose work in biochemistry provided a foundation for the discovery of the structure of DNA, emphasized complexity that is due to the interdependency and interconnectedness of everything. He therefore warned that genetic engineering will have unforeseen consequences and that it will be even more dangerous than nuclear technology.
No Causes, Only Factors
One of the many consequences of nets and thinking in terms of nets is the recognition that there are no causes if a cause is defined as producing an effect as it is normally done. In a net, each point or event is only a factor that contributes to the whole but cannot cause it because it is interdependent with the other factors of the net (for more detail see Sattler 1986, Chapter 6).
From this perspective genes are only factors that contribute to the development and functioning of the organism besides other factors of the organism and the environment. Viruses are seen only as factors, not causes, of diseases. We know, for example, that being exposed to the flu virus does not necessarily make us come down with the flu. But if other factors like a weakened immune system, stress, poor diet, pessimism, worry, or an unhealthy outlook are also present, we may indeed get the flu.
The recognition that there are no causes has enormous consequences for health care. For example, instead of placing exaggerated emphasis on the eradication of infectious agents, the so- called causes, we can strengthen the organism and its immune system, change life style, and reduce pollution, which seems to be an important factor in cancer and other diseases. In other words, take into consideration the whole network, not only a linear segment of the network.
Simplicity and Simplification
Being aware of nets and thinking in terms of nets is not only important for our health, it also gives us a better understanding of simplicity and shows us that the simplicity of points, lines, and other modes of thinking may involve a simplification and fragmentation of a more encompassing network. And even the components or fragments of networks such as points, lines, and circles often (or always?) lack simplicity. Nonetheless reference to points, lines, and other geometrical figures and modes of thinking may be useful in certain situations. For example, to some extent we can find approximations to straight lines in nature: segments of a tree trunk may be more or less straight. We can also find approximations to circles and spheres such as some cells or the whole earth. Therefore, I do not want to rule out a simple way of thinking. But keep in mind that most likely it involves at least some simplification.
I also want to emphasize that, as I pointed out already, simplicity need not always mean simplification. Especially in spiritual circles simplicity is often understood as being close to the mystery of living, that is, the centre of the mandala. Some would even say that it is the centre. However, the centre is the unnamable. If we say that it is simple, we lose it. This is the problem with simplicity in a spiritual sense. There is an enormous danger that those who refer to simplicity in a spiritual sense fall back to simplification and thus are deluding themselves. It seems, of course, correct to say that the mystery of life is not complex. But it isn’t simple either. It is beyond simplicity and complexity.
Osho told the following joke:
Bridget and Maureen are returning form church, where the priest has just preached a sermon on married life.
“What did you think of the sermon?” Bridget asks.
“I wish,” says Maureen, “that I knew as little about marriage as he does.”
Nets of Nets
Before we go beyond simplicity and complexity, we have to pay closer attention to the nodes of a net. Nodes are the points where strands of the net meet. What are these nodes? As Capra (1996: 35 and 38) pointed out, the nodes are nets again, and the nodes of these nets are also nets, and so on. Thus, we end up with nets of nets of nets...
Each net within a net may be seen as a different level. Thus the overall network that comprises all the nets becomes stratified; it gains depth and therefore in not flat. From this perspective, the hierarchy of levels of organization I referred to in chapter 1, can be seen as a network of nets in the following way: the net of the ecosystem has organisms as its nodes; these organismal nodes are again a net whose nodes are organs; organs are a net whose nodes are cells; cells are a net whose nodes are molecules, and so on.
The advantage of this view is that it appears more holistic than a hierarchy that decomposes nature into sets of Chinese boxes (see Chapter 1) and yet recognizes different levels within the integrated web of life.
Ken Wilber (2000) criticized the web of life as flatland because different levels of organization are not recognized. This criticism seems no longer valid if the web of life is seen as a net of nets as outlined above. However, for Ken Wilber (2000) flatland also means paying exclusive attention to science, the exterior view of reality, while ignoring interior experience. If the web of life is only a scientific construct, then it is indeed flatland in this sense. However, as I pointed out in Chapter 2, the web of life can also include interiority and then it becomes a metaphor for life and living that surpasses the shortcomings of linear and hierarchical thinking. Note that a hierarchy is not a net.
Interconnection and the Heart Sutra
Nets or networks emphasize interconnection, which occurs everywhere: not only in the scientific understanding of nature but also in other domains such as spirituality. In Buddhism “sunyata” plays a central role. It has been translated as emptiness or boundlessness (Tanahashi 2014), which means that nothing has an intrinsic separate existence because of its interconnection with everything else. Thus, happiness is not separate from unhappiness, evil is not separate from goodness. This profound wisdom has been pointed out in the Heart Sutra (Thich Nhat Hanh 1988, Brunnhölzl 2012, Tanahashi 2014).
Although the basic message of the Heart Sutra appears simple, its practice in everyday life may be rather complicated. Therefore, Brunnhölzl (2012, pp. 39-42) referred to "complicated simplicity." He wrote: "Emptiness is extremely simple, but our convoluted minds that do not get this simplicity are very complicated" (Brunnhölzl 2012, p. 40).
The Mandala as a Net
The concepts of each circle of the mandala of this book are interrelated. So if we connect them through lines – which I have not done – the result would be a net, which means that the two circles of the mandala can be seen as a net. In the Introduction of this book I pointed out that one could extend the mandala by adding on additional circles with additional concepts. If all of these were interconnected through lines, we would obtain a mandala reminiscent of that on the cover of the book be Capra and Luisi (2014), which consists of an empty centre surrounded by a network of interconnecting lines.
The Mathematics of Complexity
Until about half a century ago, geometry and mathematics have been relatively simple (see, for example, Capra 1996). But then, in the second half of the last century, mathematics expanded to deal more with nonlinear and complex dynamics that led to complexity theories such as chaos theory and fractal geometry (see, for example, Waldrop 1993, Goodwin 2017, Mitchell 2011).
The chaos, that is, the complexity of chaos theory is called deterministic chaos because it is generated by deterministic equations. But because the equations are nonlinear, the outcome may no longer be exactly predictable as it is possible with linear equations. In chaos theory a very small change in one variable can have an enormous effect on other variables. This has been called the “butterfly effect," suggesting, half-jokingly, that the mere flapping of a butterfly’s wings in China can affect the weather in Canada.
The great advantage of chaos theory is that it can model complex nonlinear behaviour that was beyond the reach of simple mathematics. And nonlinear behaviour seems widespread. It has been said, “the brain is a nonlinear product of a nonlinear evolution on a nonlinear planet (Briggs and Peat 1989: 166). Some authors have suggested that physical, biological, social and economic systems operate in a region between order and chaos, near “the edge of chaos,” where complexity is maximal (see, for example, Waldrop 1993).
The complexity and irregularity of chaotic systems can be described geometrically by nonlinear fractals. These fractals are geometrical shapes that, contrary to those of traditional geometry like triangles and circles, are not regular at all. But they have the same degree of irregularity on all scales. Therefore a fractal object is self-similar, that is, it looks similar when examined as a whole or in part. For example, there is a similar organization in a whole cauliflower and a small piece of it; or the branching pattern of a whole tree is also found in its branches; or the branching pattern of a compound leaf occurs in subunits.
A photo of a fern leaf showing limited self-similarity (fractal geometry).
Many structures and processes in nature can be much more adequately described by fractals than by the traditional Euclidean geometry of triangles, squares, circles and other regular shapes, although the latter has a limited usefulness. Whole landscapes have been modelled by fractals as well as leaves, flowers, flowers, arteries, coastlines, clouds and many other complex natural objects, even whole galaxies.
Besides fractals that describe chaotic, nonlinear systems (where the factors affecting the behaviour of the systems are not proportional to the effects they produce), there are also fractals that describe randomness and linearity. In linear fractals the parts are exactly as the whole, whereas in random and nonlinear fractals there is some deviation. As a result, linear fractals model only totally regular objects. Random fractals describe complex objects and phenomena such as coastlines, mountains and clouds, whereas nonlinear, chaotic fractals model organic structures and processes of plants, animals and humans.
Phenomena modelled by random and nonlinear fractals have an organic appearance, whereas linear fractals look inorganic and mechanistic. Thus, random and nonlinear fractals may be considered part of the inner circle of the mandala of this book, whereas linear fractals as well as the traditional geometry of triangles, squares and other regular objects belong to the outer circle of the mandala.
Science and Art
Fractals can be very beautiful as it is evident if you look, for example, at the book by Peitgen and Richter (1986) entitled The Beauty of Fractals. No wonder then that fractals have attracted the attention of artists and lay persons. In a sense, fractals have become a meeting of science and art. They are produced by mathematicians who deal with the most abstract of sciences and they are appreciated not only as scientific constructs but also as works of art
As a result fractals are bringing together people from two areas of our society, namely science and art, that have become increasingly estranged from each other. What brings them together is beauty.
Especially in materialistic and mechanistic science beauty has not played an important role. However, in organicist holistic science beauty cannot be so readily overlooked. No wonder then that random and nonlinear fractals as part of the inner circle of the mandala return us to a greater appreciation of beauty (see also Chapter 5).
Fractals are not only beautiful. In a way they appear magical and even mysterious. In this sense they may even point beyond the inner circle of the mandala to its centre and the mandala as a whole, the mystery of all existence.
Order and Chaos
Beauty is not necessarily orderly; it may be irregular or chaotic to at least some extent. In that sense it comprises both order and chaos. The same can be said health: “It seems that healthy functioning of the body is characterized by a combination of order and chaos of the type that has been identified in many natural systems… Disease, within this perspective, is when a physiological system has fallen into a state of too much order…Another way of putting this is to say that too much order is a sign of danger” (Goodwin 2007, pp. 48-49). Chaos, according to chaos theory, also combines chaos and order. Although it models chaos, that is, irregularity, it is based on orderly deterministic equations. Through the reiteration of these equations the deterministic chaos is generated. This chaos, although it can show an unsuspected richness and variety of behaviour, “is not merely random, but shows a deeper level of patterned order” (Capra, 1996:123). New mathematical methods can make these patterns visible in distinct shapes of strange attractors. A strange attractor limits the territory within which the chaotic behaviour can occur. Thus, we can predict the range of the behaviour, but not necessarily its exact occurrence within this range. That is, quantitative predictions are often impossible, but qualitative predictions can still be made.
Image of a strange attractor.
As pointed out already, chaos according to chaos theory has a very specific meaning. Originally, chaos was understood in a broader sense. In early Greek mythology, one notion of chaos was “primeval emptiness of the universe before things came into being” (Encyclopedia Britannica). In this sense chaos is the source of everything and therefore it might almost be seen as the centre of the mandala, which represents the unmanifest that generates the manifest, the periphery of the mandala.
In Daoism chaos is seen in a similar way as “the state of pregnant non-being from which everything arises, and to which Daoists aim to return” (Miller 2003:153). That is, all evolution emerges from chaos; everything flows naturally out of chaos.
Chaos according to chaos theory does not reach as deeply into existence as the chaos that is seen as the source of everything because the deterministic equations that generate the chaos of chaos theory are themselves part of the manifest world and these equations might change as science progresses. The emptiness of the ultimate source cannot change because it is beyond time and space, mathematics and empirical science. Hence chaos theory is limited. Fractal geometry is also limited because it is based on self-similarity and in the actual world self-similarity appears limited: it seems absent on the very small and the very large scale. For example, trees do not branch any more at the very small scale and they are not part of still larger scale structures. Furthermore, one can find structures and processes that do not exhibit sufficient self-similarity.
Thus, both fractal geometry and chaos theory remain limited to the inner circle of the mandala. However, meditation may lead us to its centre.
This meditation helps to go beyond simplicity and complexity. We rid ourselves of all the constructs of the mind that prevent us from entering the centre of the mandala, the unnamble, mystery...
The meditation consists of three phases (Osho 1992: 52):
First phase: Beginning in standing or sitting position, with eyes closed, we make nonsensical sounds, gibberish. This should be totally spontaneous, uttering and throwing out sounds: ah, oh, uh, haha, wa, dada, or whatever arises. You may sing, cry, shout, scream, talk; but if you talk, it should not be in words of a language because we want to rid ourselves of all mind constructs that limit us. Make sounds continuously. If you cannot find sounds, just say lalala or anything. You may also move as you wish or lie down. If you do this meditation with others, which may be fun and helpful, do not interfere with them and do not be concerned with their gibberish. Just stay with what is happening to you. This phase may last 20 or 30 minutes, or even longer, if you wish.
Second phase: After the gibberish, with eyes still closed, and in a straight, but relaxed sitting position we become silent. We witness whatever is happening: our body sensations, thoughts and emotions, without becoming attached to them. This phase resembles mindfulness meditation (see Chapter 2).
Third phase: This is a complete letting go. We let our body fall to the ground in an effortless way, but we continue witnessing and travel to the deepest core of our existence.
The second and third phases together should last about as long as the first phase.
Often we tend to interpret the world and ourselves in simple terms. We think in a linear and a hierarchical way and often forget that reality appears much more complex. Our actions also may reflect our simplifications. For example, we often pursue our goals in a linear fashion so that the complex network of interactions recedes in the background. Thinking and acting in terms of a circle often seems a challenge because it contradicts our cultural conditioning that emphasizes linearity and hierarchy. Contrary to a line or arrow, a circle has no beginning and no end and therefore does not encourage us to follow a line or arrow that points into the future. Thus, the circle invites us to stay in the presence instead of living in the past that is gone and the future that has not yet come. In a sense the presence is all we have. As we explore the presence we can become aware of the complexity of interconnections that form a net or network. Since the concepts in the two circles mandala of this book also interconnect, the mandala can also be seen as a net of interconnections. The Heart Sutra that encompasses profound wisdom of Buddhism emphasizes emptiness, which implies interconnection because emptiness means that nothing has an intrinsic separate existence. Thus everything seems interconnected: happiness and unhappiness, goodness and evil, etc.
Much, if not everything that is presented as simplicity appears to be a simplification. Therefore, I placed simplicity (as simplification) into the outer circle of the mandala that represents mainstream culture. However, sometimes simplicity is thought to point to the centre of mandala, but since the centre represents the unnamable it transcends both simplicity and complexity.
During the second half of the last century some scientists and mathematicians have progressed considerably from simplification toward complexity, that is, from the outer toward the inner circle of the mandala of this book. Mathematical complexity theories have been developed in the form of chaos theory and fractal geometry. These theories provide a better understanding of reality than their simplistic precursors such as Euclidian geometry that has been useful only to some limited extent. Fractals correspond more with nature and furthermore they exhibit astounding beauty and in this way form a bridge between science and art. Chaos theory can model complex nonlinear behaviour that was beyond the reach of simple mathematics. And nonlinear behaviour seems widespread. It has been said that physical, biological, social and economic systems operate in a region between order and chaos, near “the edge of chaos,” where complexity is maximal.
Beyond the chaos of chaos theory that is based on deterministic equations we find the deeper chaos of an emptiness out of which everything arises. To embrace this chaos we have to transcend concepts and mathematics, we have to transcend the thinking mind. One way of doing this is through the No-mind Meditation that concludes this chapter. Through this meditation - or other meditations – we may enter the centre of the mandala of this book beyond Complexity and Simplicity.
To condense this summary into one phrase I could say: From simplicity (as simplification) to circles and networks to nonlinear dynamical complex systems, chaos theory and fractals, and beyond that to the chaos of emptiness and the mystery of no-mind.
Bayda, E. 2003. At Home in the Muddy Waters. A Guide to Finding Peace within Everyday Chaos. Boston & London: Shambhala.
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Brunnhölzl, K. 2012. The Heart Attack Sutra. A New Commentary on the Heart Sutra. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications.
Capra, F 1996. The Web of Life. New York: Doubleday.
Capra, F. and P. L. Luisi. 2014. The Systems View of Life. A Unifying Vision. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goodwin, B. 2007. Nature’s Due: Healing our Fragmented Culture. Edinburgh: Floris Books.
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Miller, J. 2003. Daoism: a Short Introduction. Oxford: Oneworld Publications.
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Sattler, R. 1986. Biophilosophy. Analytic and Holistic Perspectives. New York: Springer.
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[with my comments in brackets]
"One of the greatest fictions of all is to deny the complexity of the world and think in absolute terms: pristine purity versus satanic evil" (Y. N. Harari)
"The next century [i.e. our century] will be the century of complexity" (Stephen Hawking).
“Ultimately, though, abandon everything. Then you will find something so simple that no words can express it” (Sri Nisargadatta).
[I would simply say: you will find something so profound that no words can express, something beyond complexity and simplicity.]
“From the perspective of profound simplicity, all the struggle with words and thoughts and feelings, all the deep doubt and uncertainty and confusion, become necessary folly” (Ray Grigg).
"One need not be afraid of complexity... complexity is perfectly good if it is centred in oneness, if it is a harmony" (Osho).
"Genes are not independent units of information... but elements of complex networks" (Brian Goodwin).
Preface (including the Table of Contents) and Introduction of this book.
Next Chapter: Chapter 12: Self-Reference and Subject-Object-Division
Preceding Chapter: Chapter 10: Context-Dependence and Isolation