A book that makes Maturana’s work more accessible

Coming to grips with (understanding) the thinking of Humberto Maturana has always taken work because it challenges our deepest assumptions about the world, about human beings and, indeed, about “reality” itself. I recently ran across a book compiled from interviews with Maturana by a young professor of journalism and communication science.

It’s the most accessible introduction (and more) to his work that I have found. The title is From Being to Doing: The Origins of the Biology of Cognition.

From the back of the book:

At the beginning of the last century, physicists revolutionised the scientific view of the world. Today biologists are radically transforming our understanding of the processes of life and cognition. Probing the mysteries of the mind, they have been able to prove that, in the act of knowing, the observer and the observed, subject and object, are inextricably enmeshed. The world we live in is not independent from us; we literally bring it forth ourselves. One of the protagonists of this new kind of thinking is the internationally renowned neurobiologist and systems theorist Humberto R. Maturana who was interviewed for several weeks by Bernhard Poerksen, journalist, and communication scientist. In this book, they explore the limits of our cognitive powers, discuss the truth in perception, the biology of love, and give, all in all, an introduction to systemic thinking that is down to earth, imaginative, and rich in anecdote.

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