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Sensitive Chaos: Creation of Flowing Forms in Water and Air [Paperback]

Theodore Schwenk , W. Roffenkamp , Walter Roggenkamp , Jacques-Yves Cousteau , Johanna Collis , Olive Whicher
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Jun 1996
Why does water, in streams and rivers, always take a winding course? Do common principles and rhythms underlie the movement of water, whether it be in the sea or in a plant -- or in the blood of a human being?The laws revealed in the subtle patterns of water in movement are shown in this thought-provoking work to be the same as those perceptible in the shaping of bones, muscles, and myriads of other forms in nature. Lavishly illustrated, Sensitive Chaos shows the unifying forces that underlie all living things, and observes such phenomena as the flight of birds; the formation of internal organs such as the heart, eye, and ear, air patterns in musical instruments; the formation of mountain ranges and river deltas; weather and space patterns; and even the formation of the human embryo.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Rudolf Steiner Press; Revised edition edition (24 Jun 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1855840553
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855840553
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 20.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 534,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Wherever water occurs it tends to take on a spherical form. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable and original book 2 Jun 2009
By Angus Jenkinson TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In its genre, this is a bestselling book that predates Chaos theory and fractals (while using the concept extensively) has been selling steadily for 50 years (although of course it has relatively specialist interests). The reason is, I believe, because it is such an exceptional book, combining for both lay and scientific reader a scientific yet beautiful and easy to understand observation of what is technically called morphology, i.e. the study of forms.

Quoting from some of the exceptional people who have recognised it might help to confirm this point of view. Jacques Cousteau introduced the book by describing his experiences in water ("Ever since that magical moment when my eyes opened under the sea I have been unable to see, think or live as I had done before."), going on to say: "These memories -- and many more -- have now taken for me a new meaning suggested by the book of Theodore Schwenk. Today it is my privilege to introduce to English readers this remarkable book."

James Lovelock, the eminent scientist and author of the concept of Gaia said: "In Sensitive Chaos Theodore Schwenk teaches us about this wonderful connection between water and life. So movingly and well told is his tale that you will not want to put the book down until the end."

Kathleen Raine, the poet and founder of the Temenos Academy, reported: "To study this book is a transforming experience in which meaning and beauty are restored to our world conceived as 'living being'."

So what did they find?
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Schwenk's book is to me a landmark achievement, many years ahead of all books on fractals, on exploring the fluid forms of air, water and living things, not least of which is through finely calibrated choices of photographs. Perhaps benefitting from Rudolf Steiner's intuitive and spiritual approach to science, the book is wonderful from everything from scholastic and in-depth study of nature's forms to pre-bedtime reverie. I can't praise this book sufficiently.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I was motivated to get hold of this book through an interest in Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy and a renewed interest in geographc ad elemental phenomena. I studied Geography and Environmental Science at A-level so wanted to see how the two areas overlapped with Anthroposophical leanings.

The book is well illustrated with lots of sketches and photos (unfortuately in black and white) and the narrative although a little dry is not particularly 'boring'... I think what I wasn't keen on was its rather rambling nature: it doesn't really build up to a theory but rather documents physical air/water phenomena and similarities to the human body and soul.

Its a fascinating subject but a hard one to pin down in written form: mind/body/spirit vs environment/geography. I think perhaps a video documentary would be more in order (I thought of it first people!)...and a more purposeful narrative of course.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must look at book 16 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book that anyone interested in life and nature should read, it's fascinating. The information in this book applies to all of us even if we don't realise it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and poetic view of science 23 Nov 1998
By Amazon Customer - Published on
This beautiful book remains scientifically accurate while describing in poetic and spiritual style the flowing of fluids in nature. A beautiful collection of pictures illustrates how even living things follow the rules of fluid flow as new cells flow forth in the growth process.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring 27 Mar 2011
By Apryl Dawn - Published on
I must agree completely with the first two reviews. They each summarize the essence of this book. I was newly exploring my interest in water and ecological design when I came upon Theodore Schwenk. Sensitive Chaos filled me with inspiration and was consistent with the science I knew. Years later, I still think of this book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive Chaos 28 Jan 2013
By Suzanne Crain - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the bible for understanding the movement of water and air. Schwenk understands the movement of fluids and communicates this so profoundly, he is the best! As a continuum movement teacher, I use it everyday.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book 19 Feb 2013
By Cary Kittner - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I originally found this book in 1980 and then it went out of print. I was happy to see it back and bought it for a friend.
12 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars neither science nor art 15 Sep 2006
By Greg B. Witt - Published on
I've got to say, I was pretty darn dissapointed with this book. I looked forward to seeing this book for a long time so it hurt especially bad when I saw that it was full of quasi-religious new-agey worthlessness and conpletely devoid of any interesting commentary of the intersections of artistic and scientific inquiry.
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