Technology and Human Responsibility

Issue #164                                                    July 5, 2005
                   A Publication of The Nature Institute
             Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (

                     On the Web:
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Can we take responsibility for technology, or must we sleepwalk
in submission to its inevitabilities?  NetFuture is a voice for
responsibility.  It depends on the generosity of those who support
its goals.  To make a contribution, click here.


Editor's Note

Can We Learn to Think Like a Plant? (Stephen L. Talbott)
   Toward a New, Qualitative Science (Part 2)


About this newsletter


                              EDITOR'S NOTE

Issue #13 of The Nature Institute's hardcopy publication, In Context,
is now available.  Its feature articles, posted online, include "From
Two Cultures to One: On the Relation Between Science and Art", which
I co-wrote with Vladislav Rozentuller.  This essay relates closely to
the pieces I have been presenting in NetFuture on qualitative science,
and tries to show how human experience provides a language of revelation
for the physical world.  The latest In Context also contains an
assessment by neurologist Siegward Elsas of the relation between brain
activity and thinking.  You will find both articles at

One other thing.  Some of you may be interested in The Nature Institute's
one-week intensive summer course, "Reading the Gestures of Life", July 10
- 16.  This is an introduction to the methods of Goethean, or qualitative,
science, led by my biologist-colleague, Craig Holdrege.  For details, go
to  If you want to participate,
we'll need to hear from you by Friday.


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                   CAN WE LEARN TO THINK LIKE A PLANT?
                Toward a New, Qualitative Science (Part 2)

                            Stephen L. Talbott

Perhaps never in the history of the world has so vast a project yielded
such overwhelming benefits at such a terrible cost.  The technological
products of our massively institutionalized science are such visible and
effective instruments of power that few would question the essential
rightness of this science as an inquiry into the nature of the world.  And
yet, thanks to this same science we find ourselves increasingly alienated
from the world and bereft of any sense of human understanding.  What
understanding we are offered derives primarily from instruments and, as
data, passes straigh