133 – The Failure of Natural Science

Natural Science, as an Institution for the advancement of Knowledge, has failed to apply the discoveries of its physical theories to Humanity as part of the natural Order, perpetuating the myth that human beings are separate from Nature, and therefore sharing in great part the responsibility for our ignorance about our relationship with Nature.

This failure is mostly due to the complete exclusion of the human being from the physical theories. Let’s take a couple of theories and look at some of the human properties they describe but are never applied to us:

1 – Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence, embodied in the symbol = (equal) of the equation E=mc2 and elucidated in his own words: “The mass content of a body is a measure of its energy content”, implies that energy and mass are the same thing, increasing and decreasing content simultaneously in equivalent amounts … energy increases as mass increases, and energy decreases as mass decreases … while the body, the container, the system, continues a relatively stable relationship with its environment. Is this not, fundamentally, what we do in our every day life? You and I? Do we not … as the body, the container, the system … decrease our energy by exerting it in action and motion and force, and then increase it when it begins to run out with relatively equivalent amounts of foods and liquids and rest? Do we not inherently know how to keep these transactions … this increasing and decreasing … in measured equilibrium as we continue to develop our relationship with the environment? We tend to identify E=mc2 with the power of the atomic bomb, but do we not have the potential energy to change how groups, communities, countries, entire civilizations act and think?

2 – Niels Bohr’s Complementarity, embodied in the particle-wave duality of Light, implies that some objects have multiple properties which appear to be unconnected but are instead indivisible complements of a whole. Light is particle-like and wave-like, not one or the other, both at the same time. We can experience the wave-like property of Light in sunrises and electricity and aurora borealis; and with the appropriate instruments we can experience the particle-like property of Light in the activity and impact of individual photons. But although we may experience these properties as unconnected, they are indivisible; one cannot exist without the other. Similarly, we can experience our particle-like property … our individuality, the utter uniqueness of our minds … as we can experience our wave-like property … the movement of human history, the evolution of the species … but although they may have the appearance of detachment, they are indivisible; one cannot exist without the other. As Light cannot be wave-like streams without photons, Humanity cannot be a wave-like evolutionary force without us.

Light is a duality, and so are we. Light is photons and waves; we are individual human beings and the moods, the fears, the evolution of a species. Either part cannot exist without the other. Accepting this fact of our reality will throw us into a whole new era of wonder.

Without scientific insights into the physical nature of reality, we could not have achieved our level of technological advances. But the current, almost exclusive focus of Natural Science on Reductionism have us going around in a blind circle, believing in the illusion that we can understand Life, our Universe, by reducing them to their minutest particle-like properties, while leaving aside the wave-like complement that makes them whole; this is really like trying to understand a picture by focusing on one of its pixels.

Natural Science is, without question, incredibly ingenious and daring, but not enough to debunk the myth that we are separate from Nature. The consequences of this failure are obvious in the state of our world: Great scientific advances, but a horrible humanitarian and devastating environmental record.

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