Posts Tagged theoretical constructions

“The Footprint We Have Discovered on the Shores of the Unknown Is Our Own”: On Science as Idolatry … A Physicist Reports on the Truth Behind Scientific Conjuring

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Revolution in Science … Shunned: The Dire Import of Scientific Cowardice Regarding Their Own Findings as Relates to Humans’ Continued Existence on Earth … Science as Myth, Part One

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The Implications of Matter As Metaphor

Consistently applying the new-paradigm perspective on matter and consciousness — as is attempted in this book … that is, of matter as an epiphenomenon of consciousness and the primacy-of-the-psychic-world postulate — requires a rethinking of theoretical constructions even in the fields of consciousness and psychology, which one would think at first hand to be amenable to this sort of view. However, our cultural context is such, our Western viewpoint so engrained, that even in these fields there seems a huge temptation to bow to the prevailing winds and a consequently understandable reluctance to go out on a limb against those.

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Thus, we have many hybrids — theorists who it appears are trying to please too many people, too many former mentors, or whatever; and who find themselves, consequently, unable to go steadfastly forward, following through consistently on the implications of the transpersonal perspective. For example, from a consistent new-paradigm vantage point, Ken Wilber (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983) — the “consciousness” guru of the more intellectual, less experiential wing of the transpersonal movement — appears as inconsistent as pre-Copernican astronomers in devolving his theories.

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Therefore, much of this next part will entail addressing the way the perspective presented in the previous part, “Matter As Metaphor,” affects, expands, changes, and reverses the tenets put forth in transpersonal psychology and philosophy — especially those aspects associated with Ken Wilber.

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The Revolutionary Import, in Science, of the New-Paradigm Perspective

68375_464164440289506_211036429_nBut let us set aside transpersonal thinking for the moment to focus on the larger picture. It may also be argued that in the larger context of normal science, in general, the new-paradigm primacy of consciousness is simply irrelevant.

However, I take strong exception to that. It is not simply innocuous that scientists refuse to acknowledge the implications of their findings. For in fact the implications of them would require a revolution and an overturning, and in many cases, a throwing out as obsolete of much of what scientists have paid highly for and struggled long and hard to learn.

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The Lengths To Which They Go

So it should not be too surprising to observe the lengths to which scientists will go in avoiding the implications of their findings. Their actions and behaviors have all the earmarks of what, in therapeutic circles, is called denial.

For example, Roger Jones (1982), a physicist, in his remarkable book titled Physics As Metaphor, points out how physicists in their day-to-day activities hardly consider the implications of twentieth-century findings in their field. He begins by noting that, “Quantum mechanics, then, may just possibly imply an essential role for consciousness in the scheme of things. . . .” (1982, pp. 6-7).

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Nevertheless, he adds that

[T]he real issue is whether or not such ideas figure significantly in scientific research. It is, in fact, the rare scientist who is concerned with such matters. The Copenhagen interpretation may be the prevailing philosophy of quantum mechanics today . . . but it is hardly a hot topic over lunch at the research lab. Most scientists take a rather pragmatic and condescending view of philosophy, and its niceties have no direct bearing on their day-to-day research, thinking, and discussion. . . . Fifty years after the Copenhagen interpretation forced consciousness on an unwilling scientific community, there is precious little to be found in the research literature of physics to suggest any bridging of the mind-body gap.

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In fact, in the last fifty years, the trend in mainstream physical science has been away from consciousness and holism and toward the mechanistic and divisible world of the nineteenth century. Fritjof Capra argues that despite the much touted promises of an ultimate unification in physics, modern elementary particle and quark theory is basically a throwback to the atomistic, thing-oriented notions of premodern physics and is contrary to the holistic, process-oriented currents in modern thought. (Jones, 1982, p. 7)

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The Emperor’s New Clothes

footprints_in_the_sand_op pbucketIn fact, Jones (1982) goes so far as to say that in teaching physics and in publicly maintaining its precepts he often felt as if he were living a lie:

I found myself thinking hard about why and how to interest children in science, and this in turn awakened several philosophical issues that had troubled me over the years. As a practicing physicist, I had always been vaguely embarrassed by a kind of illusory quality in science and had often felt somehow part of a swindle on the human race. It was not a conspiracy but more like the hoax in The Emperor’s New Clothes. I had come to suspect, and now felt compelled to acknowledge, that science and the physical world were products of human imagining — that we were not the cool observers of the world, but its passionate creators. (p. 3)

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The Footprint We Have Discovered Is Our Own

His implication is that physicists are aware of the subjective and arbitrary nature of the pronouncements and assertions they make about physical reality. It follows that they assert, with such authority and with the certitude of fact, things which they know to be only conjecture, or at the most, conjuring.

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Jones (1982) concurs,

I . . . suggest that scientists (and indeed all who possess creative consciousness) conjure like the poet and the shaman, that their theories are metaphors which ultimately are inseparable from physical reality, and that consciousness is so integral to the cosmos that the creative idea and the thing are one and the same.

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What else are we to think when the theory of relativity teaches us that space and time are the same as matter and energy, that geometry is gravity? Is this not an equating, an integration, of mind and matter? Is this not an act of poetic, perhaps of divine, creation? And what of the astronomer’s black hole, the perfect metaphor for a bottomless well in space from which not even light may escape? Which is the reality and which the metaphor? And what of quarks, the claimed ultimate constituents of matter, locked permanently within the elementary particles they compose, never able to appear in the literal, physical world? Are they not constructs, figments of the mind, symbols for a collection of unobservable properties?

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How is the quark more real than figurative? . . . Indeed, as Sir Arthur Eddington said in 1920, the footprint we have discovered on the shores of the unknown is our own. (p. 5)

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Science as Idolatry

Finally, Jones goes so far as to equate with idolatry the elevation of such man-made scientific constructs to objective status. And he suggests that such deceptiveness and failure to be completely candid is linked to some of our major modern crises:

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For the full elaboration of the idea of science and the physical world as a construct of the mind or a collective representation, I owe a great debt to Owen Barfield and his writings, especially his book Saving the Appearances — A Study in Idolatry. It was Barfield who helped me most to fathom the deceptiveness of science by seeing that when metaphors become crystallized and abstract, cut off from their roots in consciousness, and forgotten by their creators, they become idols. For an idolator is not so much one who creates idols, but one who worships them.

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This failure to recognize the central role of consciousness in reality and thus to treat the physical world as an independent, external, and alien object has been a chronic problem throughout the modern era of scientific discovery, since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and has reached a critical stage in the twentieth century with its unconscionable, and largely unconscious, ravaging of the environment. (Jones, 1982, p. 5)

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Continue with 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.

Return to Are Aliens Actually Angels Attempting to Midwife Us Into the Next Higher Stage of Our Ascension to hOMe? Matter as Metaphor, Part Ten

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