Posts Tagged robert lawlor

“Science Itself Has Now Superseded the Mechanistic World View”: Science As Myth, Part Three — Dire Consequences of Scientists’ Closed-Mindedness

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Scientists’ Reluctance to Adopt the Conclusions of Their Own Findings Has Had Many Dire Consequences, “Not the Least of Which Is the Environmental Crisis.”

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Scientists are understandably threatened by such an assault on the foundations of their beliefs, work, and dearly bought academic indoctrination.

“The same scientific priesthood, for a price, continues to supply those institutions with the knowledge and technological equipment by which they sustain their power.” – Robert Lawlor

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Dire Consequences of Scientists’ Closed-Mindedness

OB-UE021_butter_DV_20120814080729Biologist, natural scientist, and philosopher Rupert Sheldrake (1991) also describes this radical disassociation between the day-to-day approach and workings of the common scientist and their best understandings of the nature of the phenomena they study. And he explains why this dissociation might occur:

Although science is now superseding the mechanistic world view, the mechanistic theory of nature has shaped the modern world, underlies the ideology of technological progress, and is still the official orthodoxy of science. (p. 17)

And furthermore about this reluctance to change: “It has had many consequences, not the least of which is the environmental crisis” (p. 17).

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Robert Lawlor (1991), from his cross-cultural perspective, echoes this perception of scientists and their innate conservatism in the face of their own contrary findings:

Despite the advances in relativity and quantum theory, scientists still expect to view a world in which things are exactly as they appear to be, discrete and unperturbed by the subjective depths of the mind from which our very perceptions and rational intellect emerge. (p. 33)

And further on:

Meanwhile, the old thought patterns and linguistic practices, along with the social, political, military, economic, and medical institutions based on Aristotle, Descartes, and Newton go rolling along. Furthermore, the same scientific priesthood, for a price, continues to supply those institutions with the knowledge and technological equipment by which they sustain their power. (p. 34)

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The Revolutionary Import

And yet, the implications of these empirically-rooted, experimentally reproducible discoveries about the Reality which we share are profoundly important and influential in that they affect the very foundations upon which the rest of science’s other findings, discoveries, and theories are built.

Rupert Sheldrake (1991) points out that the findings of science have overturned all of science’s original premises. First he lists nine “essential features of the mechanistic world view”:

    1. Nature is inanimate
    2. Inert atoms of matter
    3. Determinate, predictable
    4. Knowable
    5. Universe a machine
    6. Earth dead
    7. No internal purposes
    8. No creativity
    9. Eternal laws (p. 17)

You will notice how many of these aspects of the mechanistic worldview overlap with what is normally called “materialism.” At any rate, Sheldrake (1991) then states, and goes on to demonstrate, that “every one of those essential claims has been refuted by advances of science. In effect, science itself has now superseded the mechanistic world view.” (p. 17)

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Despite scientists’ reluctance to face the implications of their discoveries and instead to cling to the familiar, it is our duty to shed popular or convenient positions when they are contradicted by the evidence … or else we should give up our scientific endeavor’s claim to be a truthful one. In so doing, Sheldrake’s (1991) conclusion is that

[T]he modern changes in science have effectively transcended each of these features. These changes in science have not happened as part of a coordinated research programme designed to overthrow the mechanistic paradigm. They have happened in specialized areas, seemingly unconnected with each other, and often without any consciousness that this was leading to a change in the overall world view of science. What I am going to suggest is that we can now see that this has effectively refuted the mechanistic world view within the very heart of science itself. (p. 18)

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But let us just now take one specific example. Let us consider the example of Darwinian evolution. This theory of evolution and natural selection is so widely accepted that it is hard to find an alternative explanation of these processes even presented, let alone discussed, in the textbooks of natural science. And yet there have been those in the past. The Lamarckian explanation is one of them. Emanationism is another.

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Debunking Neo-Darwinism and the Reemergence of Lamarck

For our purposes now, I wish to simply demonstrate how it is that science’s current discoveries can be said to overthrow so much of what is considered established in evolution. Rupert Sheldrake gives us a good example of that in his explaining that, in his opinion, based on the evidence for morphic resonance and morphogenetic fields, genes are actually a small part, perhaps even an inessential part of the process of evolution. He writes,

At each of these levels there is an organizing field containing an inherent memory, called a morphic field. And the basis of this memory is a process I call morphic resonance, the influence of like upon like. So each baby giraffe, as it grows, tunes in to the experience of all previous giraffes, through morphic resonance. It taps into a kind of collective pooled memory of the species, and in turn contributes to it. This applies, according to this hypothesis, to all animals and plants and people and also to crystals and molecules and planetary systems. It operates at all levels of nature. (Sheldrake, 1991, p. 33)

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And further on:

This leads to a new interpretation of heredity and evolution. Heredity depends both on genetic inheritance (chemical genes made up of DNA) and also on morphic resonance from past members of the species. In relation to form and behavior, I think that morphic resonance is much the most important component. I am suggesting, in other words, that genes are grossly overrated. (p. 35)

Furthermore: “morphic resonance permits a more rapid evolution than the standard neo-Darwinian theory, based on random mutation and natural selection. . . .” (p. 35).

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Thus, all of our elaborate theorizing about genetic factors in evolution are, by the evidence of morphogenetic fields, put in a questionable category. The implications of Sheldrake’s theory are no less than that what scientists normally consider to be the causative factors in both heredity and evolution are in fact either only a small, but not very influential, however measurable, aspect of such factors like the veritable observable tip of a much more expansive iceberg or that they are totally unrelated to the actual causative factors of such processes. In either case, scientists are understandably threatened by such an assault on the foundations of their beliefs, work, and dearly bought academic indoctrination. To paraphrase a joke, it is a morphogenetic night out, and the scientists are nervous.

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Furthermore, Sheldrake’s theory gives rise to a conception of evolution — one that scientists have been taught to discredit, one which scientists have learned to smugly position themselves above, to pooh-pooh and snicker at. This alternative theory is the Lamarckian view of evolution….

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Continue with Restoring Nobility to Nature: Modern Consciousness Research Unveils a New-Paradigm Vision of Evolution Overturning the Dog-Eat-Dog, Darwinian One

Return to When Tradition and Religion Break Down, All Truth Is Liable to Erupt: The Center of the Onion Is Nothing … The Last Secret to Be Told Is That There Is No Secret.

Footnote

Experiments testing the theory of morphogenetic fields have been reported in a number of places, including New Sense Bulletin, Noetic Sciences Bulletin, and of course Sheldrake’s own works and presentations.

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Continue with Restoring Nobility to Nature: Modern Consciousness Research Unveils a New-Paradigm Vision of Evolution Overturning the Dog-Eat-Dog, Darwinian One

Return to When Tradition and Religion Break Down, All Truth Is Liable to Erupt: The Center of the Onion Is Nothing … The Last Secret to Be Told Is That There Is No Secret.

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The First Retreat from the Natural Self Was Matriarchal Consciousness; It Should Hardly Be Our Goal: You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.

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Matriarchy Is Not an Answer to Patriarchy: Is “White Man’s” Pride and Prejudices Keeping Us from Seeing Our Real Solutions, Our Primal Return?

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A Golden Age

The question that naturally arises from the preceding chapter’s conclusions on the current state of affairs and their unfortunately intractable response is, What can be done about the present crisis in consciousness? But in order to do anything about our situation, we must delve a little deeper into understanding this state of consciousness and into how it has come to be that way. A more thorough exposition of exactly that endeavor can be found in several other works of mine (The Great Reveal, Apocalypse Emergency, Apocalypse—No!, 21st Century and Its Discontents, and Adzema, 1993a, 1993b).

From Ancient Greece?

images20120115-195400For our purposes here, I would like to point out that similar conclusions to what we have arrived at about our crisis have been coming forth from many quarters of our culture in modern times. Examples are Rupert Sheldrake’s The Rebirth of Nature, Marilyn French’s Beyond Power, Theodore Roszak’s  The Voice of the Earth, Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, Richard Tarnas’s The Passion of the Western Mind, John White’s The Meeting of Science and Spirit, and Ken Wilber’s Up from Eden. Nevertheless, what almost all of these perspectives lack is a well-grounded anthropological perspective (Beyond Power being the notable exception). Their analysis of the historical process that has brought us to this pass is often heavily conditioned by a Western bias towards history which sees humanity as beginning in ancient Greece during a matriarchal “Golden Age.”

Completely overlooking, in this way, the full 99% of our specie’s history that occurred prior to that time — when we truly did live in harmony with Nature, as foragers and then hunter-gatherers — these theorists naturally come to the conclusion that our problems in consciousness arose when we switched over from a matriarchal mode of existence to a patriarchal one: That is, with the advance of nomadic patriarchal conquerors over the pastoral and agricultural “matriarchal” cultures of the Hellenic period of ancient Greece.

Matriarchal Is Not an Answer to Patriarchal

This is unfortunate because to seek to find a Golden Age in the matriarchal period has required of such writers that they completely overlook many of the obvious shortcomings of the matriarchal view. This is not to say that the matriarchal cultures may not have been more harmonious with Nature … and with their inner natures … than their patriarchal successors. That they were less violent is also true. Therefore, that matriarchal cultures were less “fallen from grace” than patriarchal ones is not something I would dispute.

What I think is crucial to make known, however, is that the matriarchal cultures themselves were also “fallen from grace”: from a previous, even more “golden” state — one which was even less violent and more harmonious with Nature. [Footnote 1]

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Is “White Man’s” Pride and Prejudices Keeping Us from Seeing Our Real Solutions, Our Primal Return?

But the writers in this area are apparently unaware of the true conditions of cultures outside of or prior to the Western “royal” line. Evidently, they are still to some extent influenced by the Western conditioning which has us scapegoat and denigrate such cultures and viewpoints as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.” Thus they have us begin our history with a supposed “Greek miracle,” where we are said to have just “awakened” from a prior collective addiction to superstition, magic, and violence.

Lawlor_iconRobert Lawlor, in his book, Voices of the First Day, is one theorist who has not made such a mistake. In fact, Lawlor’s depiction of the aboriginal Australian world view demonstrate exactly the kind of “unfallenness,” “higher consciousness,” and harmony with Reality that most “matriarchal” theorists think they are espousing. It is one that is more truly in line with what might actually be our Reality — as the cutting edges of our sciences are finally telling us … despite themselves. It is interesting how we have come full circle in this way.

The First Retreat: Matriarchal Consciousness

Nevertheless, in response to the popular “return to the matriarchy” view, it is important to point out that it is not necessarily a good thing to go to matriarchal consciousness as a way of correcting patriarchal consciousness, even if it does represent a marginally better state of affairs.  For one does not correct the problems inherent in a duality by swinging to the other end in that same duality.

You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.

That approach simply reinforces that particular split, that particular duality. After all, one would not think it a good idea to go from a period of totalitarian fascism to one of complete anarchy, for example. That would only put in play the forces to create another extreme crackdown. Neither would one consider it wise to swing from an extreme of hedonistic behavior to one of anal-compulsive repression; nor would one wish to order up a period of flood to counter one of drought!

“Balancing” Opposites Is an Impossible Struggle. Only a “Conjunction of Opposites” Brings Transcendence.

Though this pendulum-swinging tendency is often observed, it is hardly a desirable thing.  So, as it turns out, neither is it an ideal solution to go from patriarchality to matriarchality — just to “balance the opposites” . . . as some matriarchal advocates espouse. For doing either of these extremes sets up and reinforces the forces at the opposite extreme, readying them for the next wild swing in the other direction! No, one can only correct a duality by transcending that duality. And transcending, by the way, involves a synthesis — that is, either a going beyond, or a going before, to a state where both elements are not opposed — to a state where there is a “conjunction of opposites,” not their continued opposition.

Primal Consciousness

Hunter-gatherer consciousness — termed paleolithic consciousness by one researcher — and especially the even earlier forager consciousness was characterized by just such a, relatively, non-dualistic acceptance of That Which Is … for the most part. Its way of life, corresponding, has been called the “original affluent society,” in that it is estimated that only four hours a day were needed for attending to survival concerns.

But a mistrust set in.  Fearfulness and intractability in the face of change followed; and hence there arose the desire to attempt to control Nature, rather than to follow Her and conform to Her rhythms.

Continued with Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness

Return to “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return

Footnote

1.  See also Matriarchy: a real solution to the shift in consciousness?

Continue with Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness

Return to “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
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