Serialised book: “The Subtle Dance” – 3rd instalment

Part I: The subtle side of reality

Science

Science plays a central role in today’s society and most educated people are totally convinced it is the only reliable approach to reality. Few, however, ever seriously question what science and reality are. And nobody encourages them to do it. But let’s do just that. To start with we have to remark that our only access to reality is through the activity of our mind. Anything that doesn’t imprint a mark on our mind simply doesn’t exist for us.

Some metaphysicians go further and suggest that there is no such thing as reality by itself outside of any conscious mind. This may sound rather mad, but it is congruent with theories of fundamental physics stating that clouds of probabilities of potential events at sub-atomic level become actual events only when an “observer” comes into play to consciously consider them. Like beauty, reality might be in the eye of the beholder. But then, who or what is the beholder? Let’s leave this question aside for the time being.

Our mind processes a continuous stream of thoughts, pictures, emotions and other impressions. What we call knowledge are elements in the stream of our conscious thoughts that our mind believes to be related to reality. Science is part of knowledge. A part which is organised, structured and shared with other people. It consists in theories and models that are supposed to represent and explain natural processes.

The question of whether such representations of reality can ever be regarded as “correct” or “true” raises a fundamental challenge to human logic. And the challenge begins with the validity of human logic itself. For instance, according to our logic the universe must be either finite or infinite. But if the universe was finite, what would we find on the other side once we had reached the edge? Emptiness, vacuum? How far would such emptiness stretch? You can bang your head on a wall: the idea of a finite universe is simply inconceivable. So we have to accept the idea of an infinite universe, and that idea is also inconceivable.

Not only do we have to concede that the universe must be infinite, but in view of all the connections observed in the various aspects of life we also have to admit that it must be one big continuum with unlimited interactions rather than a collection of separate bits and pieces as we usually visualise in ordinary thinking. As if facing infinite continuity wasn’t daunting enough, the teasing issue of finite versus infinite applies to time as wall as to space. According to the big bang theory our universe is supposed to have started some fourteen billion years ago. But what was there before? Pure nothingness? Or perhaps just a tiny ball of energy getting ready to blow up and expand for ever? You are getting dizzy? Me too. Our minds boggle because we try to apply our logic to things that are clearly beyond its reach.

Rather than getting lost in such huge paradoxes, most scientists work with theories and models focused on circumscribed domains. All scientific theories and models are in fact extremely simplified representations of small separate pieces of reality which deliberately ignore many relevant factors deemed less essential. Simplification is unavoidable. Without it our reasoning intellect would be unable to come to anything. In other words, because of the limitations of the human intellect, scientific representations of reality must be systematically shrunken to fit the capabilities of the most agile brains.

The latter may look very smart by comparison with other fellow humans, but their capacities are still weak in the face of infinite continuity and its unlimited complexities. The hallmark of the human intellect is that it works on one item at the time, linearly, and step by step. Sharp intellects may go much faster through steps than less gifted ones, but still operate step by step, and on only one subject at the time.

Because of the need for extreme simplification, only a limited range of phenomena and processes lend themselves to satisfactory theories and models with a good predictive power.

To give a sense of why this is so, let us consider the example of how Newtonian mechanics – a very simple theory in the realm of science – is able to handle two processes: a metal ball dropped from the second floor of the Eiffel tower and a little ball thrown on a roulette wheel at Monte Carlo.

When you drop a metal ball from the Eiffel tower, you can predict fairly accurately the time it will take for the ball to reach the ground by using a very simple equation of Newtonian mechanics. If you repeat the experiment a number of times, the durations of fall actually measured will all be close to the theoretical one computed with the equation. Small variations will be due to secondary factors ignored in the equation, such as air resistance, itself subject to climatic conditions….etc. So here we have a scientific model with a good predictive power, but the process analysed is extremely simple.

In the case of the roulette in Monte Carlo, things are much more complicated. Firstly the way the ball is thrown can vary in force, direction and timing relative to the revolutions of the roulette wheel. The speed of the latter can vary, and the precise geometry of the casings can be slightly different for each number. There are so many parameters influencing the trajectory of the ball and its eventual landing on a specific number that nobody has been able to create a model to predict on what number the ball will stop.

If we now consider natural phenomena, many are vastly more complicated than the two previous examples, and involve very large numbers of factors, often with almost unimaginably complex interactions. For them modelling is simply impossible and theorising is highly speculative. Which means that all scientific theories and models put together cover only very limited patches of nature’s realm. Science is a patchwork with very large holes.

This doesn’t mean that scientific theories and models have no value, but it does imply that they should be regarded as rather crude tools to be used with prudence and modesty for limited purposes. We may think of science as a small electric torch: you can use it to send a circle of light on the spot where you are going to put your foot, but the whole landscape around you remains in the dark.

Now, is this how science is envisaged in our society? Not at all. On the contrary, science is put on a pedestal. It has supplanted religion as the core of society’s belief system. Its affirmations are widely taken for absolute truth. Official science has turned dogmatic. Why has it turned dogmatic? Basically because dogmatism suits those who hold the power in society. Their aim is to keep the masses under control. And the most effective way to control people is to control their minds. Which is achieved through implanting beliefs and ideas that look sufficiently impressive to discourage doubt and questioning. It’s an old technique, already used in the ancient regime where religion was the key instrument. Nowadays science is the main tool.

The prestige of science is considerable due to the technological achievements of Western civilisation in the last 150 years or so. Many people are genuinely convinced that these achievements completely validate official science. If science based technology can create portable telephones, fly aeroplanes or induce procreation, science must be correct and a direct reflection of true reality. But spectacular as they may be in our eyes the successes of mainstream science and technology only concern limited domains. And through their large scale use invariably create a slipstream of serious collateral damage.

Proponents of mainstream science and technology seek to force changes in natural processes rather than gently influence them. Because they regard nature as basically imperfect, unfriendly to man, and therefore needing corrections and improvements. Take the vital domain of agriculture for instance, and consider the sharp contrast between the technical modalities of mainstream so-called science-based intensive agriculture and the general approach of bio-dynamic agriculture.

Intensive agriculture relies on heavy machinery and artificial fertilisers and pesticides produced by the chemical industry. Its first step is to plough the soil, i.e. to cut it open and turn it over. This is nothing short of a brutal attack on the innumerable insects, worms, micro plants and living creatures of all kinds forming a rich and balanced eco system in the layers of soil immediately under the surface. The attack is justified by the theory that undesirable plants potentially competing with the future crop have to be rooted out. But such a theory is crude and superficial. It simply ignores myriads of factors and pushes simplification to an absurd extreme. After the mechanical attack comes chemical warfare against the soil and its millions of tiny dwellers[1]. The aim is to turn the soil in a simple substrate carrying crop seeds, chemical fertilisers, water and pesticides; in other words to turn the soil in a production site and turn the whole activity of growing a crop into a manufacturing process.

Bio-dynamic agriculture on the other hand tries to respect the soil and the various forms of life within. It’s a delicate business. Each type of soil, each orientation, each plot of land is different, and working with it to grow a particular crop is an art, not a standardised industrial process. It requires patience, attention, a lot of trial and error and local knowledge, and acceptance that return can never be fully controlled.

When it was first introduced over the years before and after World War II intensive agriculture looked like the very symbol of progress, apparently making the life of farmers easier and the whole sector more productive and reliable. Subsequently it took a few decades for the full extent of collateral damage to emerge. Not only does intensive agriculture poison underground water and leaves significant traces of harmful chemicals in its produce consumed by humans, but it also changes the nature of the land, making it harder and less capable of absorbing rain water fast enough, which greatly contributes to flooding and erosion, and to drying up and desertification. As the rich ecosystems of soils are destroyed, the land becomes poorer and less productive, with a weaker capacity to regenerate. It is abundantly clear that intensive agriculture creates a combination of unintended consequences so severe as to arguably outweigh its intended benefits. Nevertheless, the chemical and heavy machinery sectors claim that the balance is still in favour of intensive agriculture and the so-called life science sector claims that its genetically modified organisms may help tip the balance even more in favour of intensive methods.

What lies at the heart of the controversy between proponents of intensive agriculture and proponents of bio-dynamic methods is more than just different theories. Leaving aside the obvious issue of vested interests, the controversy stems from irreconcilable basic assumptions about nature, life, eco-systems, and subtle energy, in fact from diametrically opposed visions of the world.

And the same opposing world views surface in the debate between mainstream medicine and alternative medicine. On the one hand, the materialist vision of “reality”. What you see is all there is. A material world, a vast system of mechanical, chemical, electromagnetic and biological processes, admittedly very complex, but ultimately reducible to fixed laws and lending itself to improvements through technological interventions. On the other hand, an emerging, tentative, prudent approach of “reality” which draws on advanced science, observation of a vast body of as yet unexplained phenomena, and traditional teachings with commonalities transcending cultures. A subtle realm where humans are to find their path as much if not more through intuition as through reasoning.

There are more than enough converging bits of evidence to establish that the materialist vision is totally inconsistent and incoherent. But discrediting the materialist vision means destroying faith in “progress”, in the assumed capacity of the human intellect to eventually elucidate all mysteries of nature. It’s easy to say with hindsight that such faith was misplaced and rested on flawed logic. The fact is that it has been a big hope for several generations. Seeing that big hope fade away leaves much anxiety in society, because the new emerging alternative vision is subtle, still tentative, and therefore appearing less immediately reassuring to the many people who yearn for something crude and simple to believe in.

Materialist thinking is crude and simple all right, and it is actively promoted by the ruling elite. The latter uses all possible means to uphold its credibility, and in that effort science, or at least a narrow version of science, is a key weapon.

While honest science implies objectivity, curiosity and open mindedness, narrow science controlled by the establishment is closed, dogmatic and regimented. Whenever facts or arguments threaten to create doubt and resistance to technical initiatives by big business, their lobbyists and pawns in government, academic institutions and the media resort to what they call science to discredit or ignore challenging ideas and dissenting voices.

Think of the many subjects of simmering controversies: vaccination, genetically modified organisms, electromagnetic pollution, geo-engineering, fracking, nuclear programmes, etc., etc. “Scientific” arguments are routinely brandished by experts intervening in debates, sometimes to reassure, and sometimes to kindle fear. Anecdotal evidence and formal studies unfavourable to big interests are left largely unreported, at least through mainstream media and institutions. And when threats to their interests look too close for comfort, some people in the system are quite prepared to fabricate evidence. In doing so, they make sure that fabricated evidence looks like fitting in the general parameters of official science.

At this point we need to highlight that official science rests on a set of implicit rules and assumptions which most scientists readily accept without ever having had the time or opportunity to probe their logical bases.

To start with there is the accepted idea that a phenomenon will be deemed “real” or “true“ in scientific terms only if it can be observed on a repeated basis in controlled circumstances, such as in a laboratory where successive experiments yield consistent results. But let’s take a step back and ask a simple question: why on earth should all natural phenomena necessarily be repeatable, let alone lending themselves to laboratory experimentation? Experiments conducted in laboratories are always very simple compared to what happens outside the lab, and always require the neutralisation of many factors potentially impacting the phenomenon under study. Like theories and models, they cover only a very limited range of natural processes.

If we probe deeper, there is no fundamental reason to assume that physical laws must necessarily be the same for ever and in whatever circumstances. Yet this assumption is logically implied by the idea that all natural processes should be strictly repeatable. The assumption of repeatability of natural phenomena implicit in official science is a gross reduction of the potentialities of “reality” without any logical basis. Its practical consequences are very serious: whole swathes of observations are contemptuously dismissed as being inconsistent with “accepted science” simply because of the difficulty to repeat them in controlled environments.

A second major assumption implicit in official science is that events in nature are the result of impersonal laws without any sort of intention involved. Historically this assumption was adopted as a reaction against dogmatic religion which pretended to see God’s intention everywhere and claimed to interpret everything accordingly. But leaving religion aside, the assumption that events are all devoid of any intention has no logical foundation. In fact not only is there no reason to dismiss the possibility that some form of intention exists but as we shall see later there are many observations, in particular of events called synchronicities, which strongly support the idea of intent in the course of existence.

Another fundamental restriction in the scope of official science is the narrow range of scales taken into consideration for theorising and modelling. The ordinary representation of the material world as a vast clockwork controlled by the laws of Newtonian mechanics, electromagnetism or chemistry is centred on our human scale of observation, as opposed to the very small scale of sub-atomic physics, where current theories offer an entirely different picture, and the very large scale of astrophysics where relativity and more recent theories also offer completely different perspectives.

As already mentioned earlier, theories pertaining to the sub atomic level depict a realm of energy and information, from which a perception of material world can arise. And at the other end of the scale line, recent advances in astro-physics suggest the possibility that matter as we “know” it represents only a small fraction of the total mass in the universe. The consequence is that some unknown “black matter” must exist to account for the rest. Given these ideas of advanced physics at both ends of the scale spectrum it is clear that “ordinary” science offers an extremely restricted view of nature.

But even sub-atomic physics is restricted to the still not so small scales of elementary particles. To give a sense of what we are talking about, the size of an atom is of the order of say 10-10 meter (i.e. 10 zeros and a 1 after the decimal point). The scale of presently identified elementary particles is say 10-12 m. The question then is what happens at a scale of say 10-2500 or 10-one million m? If you could take out a little cube of 10-one million m by 10-one million m what would you find in it? Science has absolutely no idea and isn’t developing the smallest embryo of a theory about it. And yet there might be interesting stuff in that tiny cube, such as information, or some form of subtle energy.

At the other end of the scale line, what would happen if an hypothetical observer reached a point say 10 one billion of quadrillions of trillions km away from our little planet, i.e. well beyond all observable galaxies? Science just hasn’t got a clue. It is as if our maths were restricted to a tiny portion of the x axis. They wouldn’t go any near the zero and would stay a very long way short of the ∞. That wouldn’t be real maths, would it? Yet this is exactly what official science does.

Why? Because ultimately official science is only concerned with bits of potential technology relevant at our visible scale on our tiny planet, and is not really interested in shedding any light on the invisible picture which is both too big and too small for us to perceive easily.

Narrow ranges of dimensions considered in scientific models are not just about space; they are also about time, and therefore also about frequencies. For instance scientists and engineers routinely use various ranges of frequencies for electro-magnetic radiations. But they would hardly ever consider extra low frequencies such as, say, one pulsation per month. Technical guys will just laugh at this. Of course they would because for their technologies this is irrelevant and absurd. But how does the universe look at it? I would venture to say that the universe has a very different appreciation of scales and durations than us, and a one pulsation per month EM frequency might very well carry a piece of information that we would never be able to pick up.

Another assumption is quite essential: the ordinary mechanistic representation of the material world shows natural phenomena as separate processes. In other words it assumes reality can be meaningfully split into many pieces that can all be studied with pretty much unrelated theories and models. This crude simplification is linked to the limitations of the human intellect. We have no other option but segmenting reality into separate domains, but we shouldn’t loose sight of the fact that our demarcations are artificial and subject to adjustment at the slightest indication that they need to be reconsidered.

However, in practice many scientists appear quite content to restrict their thoughts to the little silo of their own discipline, and genuine efforts to lay bridges across academic boundaries are few and far between. This is not so surprising when we realise that mental rigidity and intellectual parochialism are in fact encouraged, because they suit the purposes of Authority. Remember that Authority seeks control over the minds. And what better way to control the minds than keeping everybody, including bright scientists, with their noses right down on their separate little patch, so that nobody has the breadth of vision to contest the whole belief system, and attendant organisation of society.

While it could be a free and spiritually elevating endeavour, science in its present shape is a toy in the hands of a corrupt establishment. Some of its implicit basic rules have no logical justification whatsoever. It deliberately ignores fundamental questions such as those revolving around consciousness and individuality. It is fragmented, reductionist and narrow minded.

Seeing through the deficiencies of official science and, more generally, debunking the conventional system of thought imposed on society by the ruling elite is the first step towards freeing our minds.

But freedom can be frightening, and many will ask themselves what good it is to become freer. Is it for its own sake, out of pride, or does it bring tangible benefits? The following chapters in this book will give a hint of the extraordinary perspectives that greater freedom of mind opens up for all of us individually and collectively.

 

[1] It’s no coincidence that manufacturing facilities for the production of chemical weapons to kill humans are very similar to plants for the production of fertilisers and pesticides.

Copyright © Leo Foresta 2014

 

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