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

Ed Lantz

<p>Ursula: “It’s not remotely the case that scientists are in “complete and utter denial of the inner realms of experience.” If you go here http://religious-naturalist-association.org/human-nature-mind-and-culture/ you’ll find clicks to 2 good books, Self Comes to Mind and Consciousness and the Brain, that should get you started. The wiki entry on qualia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia also has lots of stuff.”</p><p> </p><p>Thanks for the references!  I do think we’ve been hanging out with different scientists. My debates are most often with physicists who are, for the most part, quite adamant about the the universe being purely “mechanistic” and not having an informational dimension.  Consciousness research is a very recent field of study. So is positive psychology (the study of happiness as opposed to treatment of disorders) which attests to my claim that this domain has been long ignored by both neuroscientists and many psychologists (particularly behaviorism) and is only recently being seen as something of value. A few exceptions aside, I believe this is a historical fact and am happy to dig up references to support this claim.</p><p> </p><p>Personally, I have had endless debates over the years with hard-nosed scientists (I worked 7 years for a company that employed 3000 engineers and scientists in my division alone), only a small handful of whom placed any value on the study of subjective experience. Subjective experience, anomalous mental phenomena and consciousness studies were nearly taboo topics in many of the circles that I moved in. Never mind spirituality (which I equate with phenomenology – focus on one’s inner state of affairs)… I have been shamed for that. </p><p> </p><p>Nontheless, our debate is pointing to a leap in reasoning that I initially warned against and I will now have to take my own medicine. We really should not be making generalized statements about “science” and “scientists.”  “Holistic” concepts and studies are now bubbling up in all of the sciences. An expansion in thinking is afoot. We need to support this movement by highlighting those scientists who are leading this charge (as you are doing, Ursula).  Better to discuss specific cases and topics.</p><p> </p><p>Science moves slowly by necessity. Things that may seem patently obvious are often very difficult or expensive to formally substantiate. The perception of a living universe is, to me, largely a phenomenological observation and is far from being substantiated. Scientific observations are very precise when measuring interactions within the physical domain. Using the tools of science we see ordinary matter is relatively inert, following simple rules of chemistry and physics, while biological organisms are highly active and intelligent. In other words, non-biological matter does not behave as if it is alive or conscious.</p><p> </p><p>However the EXPERIENCE of unity with all things – now that’s a different cup of tea altogether. While this experience can radically shift worldviews, there really is no objective, factual basis for the literal interpretation of what is – essentially – a mystical experience of unity. That does not invalidate the experience – it just means that you need to experience yourself it to “get” it.</p>