Science Comes Full Circle

will's picture

One of the foundations of modern science is that if something cannot be measured, cannot be observed and verified, it may as well not exist. Science at least attempts to deal with tangible things, such as Newtonian physics, while less tangible things, like the human mind, start to create problems. Scientists strive to be objective, but the human mind is subjectivity itself.

There's debate as to whether the study of the mind, psychology, even qualifies as science. It doesn't help that a lot of what used to masquerade as good psychology is verifiably false. Many of Freud's theories were never proven, but that didn't stop psychologists from treating them like objective facts. That's how religions get created, not how science is supposed to work.

Now science wants to be objective while the mind itself is biased, and it can't help but be biased. Because of this, science tries to steer clear of the human mind as much as possible, while simultaneously being wholly dependent upon the human mind. Science itself was born from the mind, and science itself has no objective existence, it only “exists” within human minds. It's purely subjective objectivity, but that thought creates so much cognitive dissonance within most scientists that they can't help but ignore it.

The trees, the rocks, planet Earth, the Universe, they are what they are, while science is a method for figuring out what they are and how they work. There's a belief that science will lead us to this ultimate truth, this Unified Theory that will explain the base nature of the Universe. The problem is that for every question science answers, two more questions arise. Instead of making the Universe less mysterious, the Universe keeps becoming more mysterious. Primitive, simplistic ideas keep being dispelled, while more and more we get this image of a Universe that's unimaginably complex. The more we know, the more we realize how much we don't know. If nothing else, it's good job insurance for scientists.

Now, back to one of the fundamentals of science, that if something can't be measured, it may as well not exist, at least as far as science is concerned. Compare that to what was discovered through the double-slit experiment, and recently re-confirmed: that reality doesn't exist until you measure it. That can't just be coincidence, that for something to be “real”, at least as far as science is concerned, it has to be measurable, and now science has discovered that reality doesn't exist until it's measured. Science has come full circle, and that ought to be mind-blowing to scientists, but it's another one of those things that creates cognitive dissonance, conflicting thoughts. Science wants answers, yet this opens up all sorts of questions.

One of the obvious questions is, what's reality before it's measured? Of course, Lao Tzu already addressed this thousands of years ago:

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

That's what science just discovered! To name something, you must qualify and quantify it, which is what measurement is. Then it can be known, and then it can be shared with others, it can be told. The Tao te Ching described one of the fundamentals of quantum physics thousands of years before quantum physics even existed! Difficult to believe that's mere coincidence.

Beyond the measured reality is the Tao, and I could write a whole book about the Tao without ever actually capturing what the Tao is. It's easier to describe it by what it isn't, it's not what you can know. The Tao has plenty of other “names” as well, I like to call it the Unknowable. Many people know it as God, and in the New Age it's often called Source. Of course, the names are all just fingers pointing at the Moon, don't get so caught up in the finger that you miss what it's pointing at. When you see the Moon, who cares about the finger?

The Tao isn't something you can grasp with your mind, it's fundamentally unscientific, it's the realm of the mystic. I know there's many scientists who want to steer clear of mystical things, what they often call “woo”, but it's very difficult to separate mysticism and science. The father of modern science, Newton, was an alchemist and a theologian. The Big Bang theory, the prevailing theory about the origin of the Universe, came from Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest who was inspired by Christian theology. Then there's Max Planck, whom quantum physics originated from:

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

I like science, as a quest for knowledge it's a beautiful thing, and science has certainly proven its usefulness. However, it's currently being used as a tool by militaries, governments and major corporations to further their own wealth and power. Where science used to be largely controlled by universities, it's now mainly controlled by private businesses. It's no longer a quest for truth, but a quest for more money.

People are wise to be skeptical of this kind of science. Science isn't being used to discover what's best for humans and their environment, instead the major driving force is corporate profits. Just like with politics, the influence of money has proven over and over again to be a corrupting influence, yet scientists as a whole seem to be okay with this. Of course, they get paid more, so it's not really a mystery as to why many support that system.

A scientific study can say what's best for the average person, the only problem is, there's no such thing as the average person. Even if something is proven to be good for most people, there's no guarantee it's good for you. Science attempts to disregard the anecdotal and the subjective, but the problem with this is that our whole lives are anecdotal and subjective. It's a fact that no human being has ever even seen this objective world that science is so concerned with. Obviously we have this shared experience, but the true nature of it remains a mystery to the limited mind.


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