Peter Henri Bortoft — 29 December  was a British independent researcher and teacher, lecturer and writer on physics and the philosophy of science. He is best known for his work The Wholeness of Nature , considered a relevant and original recent interpretation of Goethean science. Bortoft completed his studies at the University of Hull ,  and then performed postgraduate research on the foundations of quantum physics at Birkbeck College , where theoretical physicist David Bohm introduced him to the problem of wholeness in quantum theory. Subsequently, Bortoft worked with John G. Bennett on Bennett's Systematics also known as Multi-Term Systems , which was Bennett's methodology for assisting the systematic and progressive understanding of systems, complexity, and wholeness, and on efforts with Bennett and with Kenneth W.
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What is really needed here is the cultivation of a new habit … which sees things comprehensively instead of selectively. The greatest difficulty in understanding comes from our long-established habit of seeing things in isolation from each other. The viewpoint of materialism is a distortion that results from a one-sided emphasis on the category of quantity.
We can control and organize nature according to our will, but the price for this is that we withdraw from nature. The science which belongs to the intuitive mind.. The grammatical structure of language articulates the world analytically. It discloses the analytical world. The holistic mode of consciousness … is nonlinear, simultaneous, intuitive … and concerned more with relationships. The wholeness of polarity can only be perceived when the mind works in a more holistic mode; otherwise it is only an abstraction.
The need is for a new science of nature … based on other human faculties besides the analytic mind. Working with mental images activates a different mode of consciousness which is holistic and intuitive. Typically, modern education is grounded in the intellectual faculty, whose analytical capacity alone is developed. The experience of authentic wholeness requires a new style of learning largely ignored in our schools and universities today.
The awakening of our first language occurs very differently from the learning of a second language. The living organism produces itself actively, instead of being conditioned passively, in response to the environment. The living organism configures itself actively, instead of being conditioned passively in response to the environment. The lived body is the sensing body and as such it is the organ through which we can encounter the sentience of nature.
The notion that consciousness is closed in on itself is completely at odds with lived experience. When we think.. There can be no such thing as an entity that is absolutely independent, being what it is solely in terms of itself.
The wholeness of the system is the left brain representation of the wholeness which presences through the right brain. The whole organization comes to expression, to some degree, through the role of each person in that organization. Each person in their role in an organization is in fact an expression of the organization as a whole. We only understand what is said when we recognize the whole the unsaid manifesting through the part the said.
Each expression of meaning is complete it is a whole-part but the expression is always necessarily unfinished. It is practice in seeing comprehensively which leads to the direct seeing of connections, so that the wholeness is experienced directly. When we see the connection, instead of introducing one, then it has more the character of a nonlocal connection. Encountering Henri Bortoft. He was a fantastic tutor, and such an inspiration to me at the start of my degree.
Long may his legacy continue. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Life exists only as a continuing present. In life, causes and effects take place simultaneously and complement one another.
When quantity is taken to be the fundamental category, then nature is reduced to matter. The quantitative way of seeing discloses a world fragmented into separate and independent units.
The system of measurement is in no way intrinsic to nature, but the reduction of nature. Nonverbal meaning can only be perceived intuitively and not intellectually. Modern positivist science can only approach the whole as if it were a thing among things. Mathematics, logic, and language are strangely entangled in Western philosophical thinking. By practicing active seeing … attention is brought back into the phenomenon itself.
We can experience nature as living presence, instead of an object standing over against us. The very nature of consciousness is such that the world is already included within it. The systems approach seems to be dealing with wholeness, but does so in an artificial way. The whole is enfolded in the part and each part is enfolded in the whole.
But it is a sheer fact of experience that what is meant is always more than we can say. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.
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A Tribute to Henri Bortoft
Henri was a hugely important philosopher of science, and, in his earlier days, an outstanding physicist who had worked closely with David Bohm on the implications of quantum mechanics for our understanding of wholeness. Henri was much more than an intellectual; he was an alchemist of the imagination. His work was concerned with the dynamics of life as it is lived, rather than with mere ideas. He went beyond a purely physical understanding of wholeness to explore a living sense of how we can truly experience the world in a manner deeply inspired by Goethe, as encapsulated in his first book The Wholeness of Nature Floris Books, Henri faithfully taught on the course each year from its inception in until , when, already quite unwell, he made the huge effort of travelling to the college to teach for three days, a contribution that was hugely appreciated by the MSc students and indeed by everyone at the college. His presence, his powerful dynamism and his eloquence brought his considerable insights to life within the minds and souls of the many students who were privileged to learn with him over the years here at the college.