Henri Bortoft on seeing life itself

Seeing is the thing!

Simon Robinson shares Henri Bortoft’s 2009 Schumacher College lectures on his blog Transition Consciousness: Making the transition to a better world.

The following is a transcript of Henri Boroft’s Lecture Four, Part Three, from 12:20 to 16:05, where Bortoft talks about seeing life itself, comparing Darwin with Goethe. I have edited the text for brevity.

Life is change! …
Goethe saw that this is the very quality of life itself. …
When Darwin saw this he wanted to find an explanation. …
He wanted a theory. …
For Goethe, … none is needed. …
You just see it! …
You are seeing the phenomenon! …
This is life!
Life is a phenomenon. …
We are not used to this.
We’re all been ruined by our education. …
The intellectual mind demands an explanation for everything. …
If you want an explanation you turn the phenomenon into something else.
When you explain it, you explain it in terms of something else, so it’s no longer that phenomenon. …
It’s very hard for us to get this experience, where you stand face to face with the phenomenon, and it hits you and you realize that what you are seeing is the real.
What Goethe encountered with this — and Darwin too, but he went sideways — is life itself, is livingness.
Gothe talks about this. He said … there comes a point, where when you reach it, it stops.
The great temptation is to go on, and everything is ruined. …
Seeing is the thing! That’s phenomenological seeing. …
We have no feeling for life whatsoever!
We are thinking something is produced by something else. …
We have no adequate way of thinking about life. …
What we are looking at is … life itself.
We just have not got this idea!
That’s also why Goethe is so important, because he does have this idea, because he’s seen it.

Related posts:
Henri Bortoft’s Schumacher Lectures 2009
Henri Bortoft on human organizations and relationships
The very quality of livingness
BELONGING together vs. belonging TOGETHER
Henri Bortoft on taking the ‘appearance’ seriously
The ‘totalitarian’ tendency of systems theory
Organizational metamorphosis

Published by Jan Höglund

Jan Höglund has over 35 years of experience in different roles as software developer, project manager, line manager, consultant, and researcher. He shares his reading, book reviews, and learning on his personal blog.

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