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Synthesis & Analysis

“We are the inheritors of categorized knowledge; therefore we inherit also a world view that consists of parts strung together, rather than of wholes regarded through different sets of filters. Historically, synthesis seems to have been too much for the human mind — where practical affairs were concerned. The descent of the synthetic method from Plato through Augustine took men’s perception into literature, art and mysticism. The modern world of science and technology is bred from Aristotle and Aquinas by analysis. The categorization that took hold of medieval scholasticism has really lasted it out. We may see with hindsight that the historic revolts against the scholastics did not shake free from the shackles of their reductionism. ”

Stafford Beer, preface to Autopoiesis and cognition: the realization of the living by Humberto R. Maturana, Francisco J. Varela (p63)

Photograph: Chandeliers in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, France.
© BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

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