Life Matters

All forms of life have value in themselves; equal right to grow and flourish Cultural historian and ecotheologian Thomas Berry distinguished between “shallow” and “deep” ecology. He said the former is based on the belief that big ecological problems can be resolved within an industrial, capitalist society by fighting pollution and resource depletion in order […]

Adaptation

Evolution’s main principle for survival One of Darwin’s principles of evolution became popularized in the phrase “survival of the fittest.” The problem with memorable slogans like this is that they simplify complex phenomena. In this instance, Darwin’s observations were correct, but his interpretation missed the mark. Scientists now understand that “fitness” does not necessarily mean […]

Daisy Flower: Reminder To Stay Positive

Depending on the species, daisies can be white with a yellow center, purple with a brownish center, red with a yellow center, orange with a yellow center, pink with a yellow center, yellow with a dark red center or blue with a green center. Part of the sunflower family and more than 4000 years old, […]

Soil: Literally And Symbolically The “Ground”

Soils are “living” systems—a combination of ground minerals and organic matter that began to form in the Cambrian Explosion (550 mya) after a mass extinction of life-forms between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods. Today, soils are to the land what plankton are to the oceans—the bottom or ground of the food chain. On average, […]

VII. Part-Whole Relationship

This is the 7th in a series of postings on whole systems thinking. Systems thinking involves a shift of perspective from parts to whole. The properties of a whole cannot be reduced to its parts because none of them have the capacity of the whole. A wristwatch keeps time and a smartphone has many functions […]

VI. Equifinality

  This is the 6th  in a series of postings on the theme of whole systems thinking. The whole system’s principle of “equifinality,” a term coined by the father of systems theory, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, holds that in open systems, for those that have external interactions, a given end state can be reached by many […]

VII. Emphasis

As an aesthetic tool, “emphasis” shows one element standing out or apart from others. It can differ from them in subject matter, color, size, shape or placement within the frame. Whatever the difference, the exceptional element stands out as the center of interest. It’s the most important element and key to the image’s meaning. The […]

Presentation

  Many years before I was introduced to the Ancient Maya, a little book by Erving Goffman entitled, “The Presentation Of Self In Everyday Life,” set me on the path of becoming an armchair anthropologist. Actually, it may have been his insights that sparked my later interest in the Maya, in part because their kings […]

Equifinality

  The whole system’s principle of “equifinality,” a term coined by the father of systems theory, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, holds that in open systems, those that have external interactions, a given end state can be reached by many potential means. To lock on to a single pathway, observation or solution can overlook a simpler or […]

Cultivation

  When I photographed these orderly rows of young corn extending to the horizon, I was thinking about the farmer and his work, evidenced by the tractor tracks and the amount of time, money and energy it took to plant this enormous field. Reflecting on the image now, I appreciate the contribution of all growers and […]