Home Forums Deep Time Journey Forum Is the universe a "living system"? Reply To: Is the universe a "living system"?

Ed Lantz

<p>I have to agree with Ursula and James here (and I also agree with James’ framing of the “extraordinary claims” quote – what is extraordinary to one scientist may be routine observation for another). Unless there is additional evidence to support this claim, it would seem to be an uphill battle to convince mainstream scientists that the universe (galaxies, planetary systems, etc.) are “alive” in the same way that biological organisms are alive.  </p><p> </p><p>This is not to say that Duane and others should not continue this line of research…</p><p> </p><p>I personally resonate with and appreciate the values that you are trying to express, Duane! However, at this time, the scientific evidence for the assertion that inanimate matter is actually a living system is so sparse that it feels to me like we are promoting a spiritual belief or philosophy. Scientists will (rightfully) rail against these sort of assertions because science is, by design, very careful about vetting evidential claims. The watchguards of science will fiercely attack such claims like antibodies attacking a foreign bacteria. I don’t recommend subjecting yourself to that sort of treatment (though it sounds as if you already have!).</p><p> </p><p>As a side note, science can be very slow to progress in new areas that might seem obvious to the lay person. If a flying saucer picked you up and took you to Venus and dropped you back without any physical evidence, while it would be personal proof to you that aliens exist, this is not scientific proof that aliens exist. Similarly, many of us have experienced firsthand in our personal spiritual practice the perception that the entire universe is alive with consciousness. I expect that science will eventually be able to substantiate a similar conclusion. However to scientists, our personal experience remains nothing but an anecdotal datapoint on the scatter plot of bizarre claims without factual substantiation. As a scientist I accept this. I also see it as my life’s dharma to understand and explore the question of consciousness in a more scientific manner.</p><p> </p><p>So often it has been said that “faith” has no place in science. However as we uncover the “science of faith” we find that beliefs act as tuning filters on our perceptual filters. Beliefs can have very real effects on our brains, our minds, our bodies, our cultures and global behaviors. Understanding global challenges, and more importantly, global solutions, and having faith that there is hope for humanity to “get it together” is an unsubstantiated belief system that, when accepted on faith, can tune humanities’ perceptual filters in a way that helps to bring about the awesome future that we envision.</p><p> </p><p>Many on this list including Duane are doing just that. IONS has investigated “worldview transformation” http://noetic.org/research/program/worldview-transformation/.  There are also educational initiatives such as the Worldviews Network that are using earth data in immersive environments to shift consciousness: http://worldviews.net. </p><p> </p><p>While it will be an uphill battle to get scientists to recognize the universe as a living entity, there are many concerned scientists out there that are devoted to making a better world for humanity. The challenges to our biosphere – both human-caused and natural – are very real concerns and should pique the interest of any caring scientist. Rather than clashing with scientists, I think it is wise to find common ground with scientists and work with them and for them. Presenting scientists with tools for communicating global concerns and influencing the general public to demand meaningful and important changes to public policies is one way to engage the scientific community. Storytelling is one such tool. </p><p> </p><p>Duane and all on this list who are writers, producers and storytellers – let’s keep getting our stories and perspectives out there!  We can draw upon hard science when warranted, but we can also springboard off of scientific evidence (inspired by our personal spiritual experiences) to enrich the public with meaningful stories and perspectives that emotionally engage and motivate the public to act in positive ways. Scientists are great at crafting theories and gathering evidence. But they are not generally very good storytellers or interpreters of that data.</p><p> </p><p>Scientists will agree that the universe is a complex, evolving dynamical system to which we are integrally connected, and the fate of humanity depends on us understanding and working intelligently within these systems – not necessarily to “preserve” them in a kind of nostalgic stasis – but to be conscious co-creators in the evolutionary path that we are an integral component of. As “unconscious co-creators” we’ve already set off a chain reaction of climate change and biodiversity loss that is probably irreversible at this point. However as Elisabet Sahtouris has said, this really is nothing new on our planet. We’ve been here before:</p><p> </p><p>“Humans within this planet now are the newest experience of the universe in what, biologically, always seems to come down to cycles: of unity to individuation, through which arises conflict, negotiations happen, cooperation is arrived at; and we go to unity again at the next higher level…”</p><p> </p><p>”And that’s why the story of evolution is so important today, to help us understand where humanity is, and what is our next step. If we look to the lessons of evolution, we will gain hope that the newly forming worldwide body of humanity may also learn to adopt cooperation in favor of competition. The necessary systems have already been invented and developed; we lack only the understanding, motive, and will to use them consciously in achieving a cooperative species maturity.” </p><p> </p><p>– Elisabet Sahtouris</p><p> </p>