Intuition and the Creation of a Better World

Goodwin, Brian

While preserving what we have learned from reductionism and analysis, scientific method now needs to be extended to include ways of direct participation and knowing that give us insight into the properties of the coherent, emergent wholes that make up much of the natural world. Often called intuition or non-inferential knowing, this gives us insight into the qualities of organisms, landscapes, ecosystems, families, communities and organisations, allowing us to recognise whether they are healthy or stressed, integrated or fragmented, coherent or disturbed.

As we engage in this process of gaining knowledge, we ourselves are changed in ways that allow us to see how to behave responsibly in our engagement with the creativity of the world. Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, in their remarkable book The Tree of Knowledge, put it this way: "We have only the world we can bring forth with others, and only love helps bring it forth ... This is the biological foundation of social phenomena: without love, there is no social process and, therefore, no humanness." This is the way of 'science with love', which is the essence of the holistic approach to understanding and action.

Brian Goodwin, 'Patterns of Wholeness' in Resurgence, No. 216, January/February 2003, p. 14

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