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Posts Tagged ‘Cartesian Newtonian thought’

The level of disconnection we humans have reached from our life sustaining environment, originated in the Cartesian philosophy of separating mind from matter and conceiving the universe as a machine is at the very the root of the problem. Fortunately it also holds the key to the solution. Descartes and Newton developed a new sterile but nonetheless irresistible conception of reality where the universe was a predictable and subsequently controllable machine. Such view gave humans tremendous sense of power, control and comfort as science and the industrial revolution brought unprecedented material progress and standards of living.
The noble effort of finding objective truth and eradicate ignorance, injustice and superstition unfortunately madescience came unfortunately at the high cost of stripping its new view of reality from precious human feelings, values, sensitivities and even morality. Scientific materialism created a fragmented reality conceived as a collection of separated objects interacting in linear deterministic ways. Its reductionist analysis which breaks down things, beings and phenomena into their constituent parts to understand their nature and behavior of the former brought so much material success that science has become hard to question as the legitimate way of explaining reality.

In the last hundred years the foundations of classical mechanics unquestioned for over 300 years were shattered by scientific discoveries by modern physics. Quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory and general relativity showed the universe as an endless network of relationships. Even the unquestioned believe of scientific objectivity stopped making sense as it was demonstrated that the observer influenced and became part of the scientific phenomena observed.

Although I support the objection to the illusion, I would call addictive hallucination of unlimited economic growth and resources on which our current economic system is based on, I need to consider such believe more the symptom than the root cause of the actual disease.

The disease is our erroneous view of reality based still in the Cartesian universe. Until we can learn in our minds but also at the emotional level that we are not separated from nature but just a manifestation of it, we will NOT be able to achieve a safe and truly sustainable future. We need to realize the world is a huge ecosystem rather than separated collection of machines and objects acting like clocks or billiard balls. The world looks more like a never ending web of complex of relationships that we can study as systems within systems within systems all intimately through which matter and energy flow. What we call each entity in the universe, thing, being or phenomenon is ultimately an abstraction that separates a part from its bigger whole. Our human mind has had to use such abstractions to break down and ultimate make sense this infinitely complex reality which is the world. Man has also being able to overcome the overwhelming feeling of such complexity by realizing that despite our mental limitations, approximate knowledge is all we need to cope with reality and perform our mission as humans.

As philosophical and apparently impractical this assertion may seem we realize it is imperative to understand for it is only when we embrace the infinite connection and interdependence in nature and the world that we will understand our actions on nature and the planet are ultimately actions on ourselves as we are nature since we are part of the planetary ecosystem or biosphere.

Our environmental problem which distills to a mental and emotional problem was originated by a cultural problem, an oversimplified but powerful conception of reality. Shifting such conception of reality or paradigm in theory should fix the problem. Unfortunately waking society or at least the Powers that Be to the actual eco-systemic nature of reality is going to take longer than we have to mitigate our global crisis.

I do believe in the capacity of society eventually realizing this truth. However we cannot wait until that shift in consciousness happens. We need quicker solutions. I fear we are not going to listen to the scientific evidence that urges us to embrace the eco-systemic view of reality and calls for immediate radical action changing our unsustainable existence in the biosphere, devouring resources and degrading our life sustaining systems (from forests to polar ice cups). Someone however is going to awaken us from our toxic hallucination. And that someone is the very same one we are trying to avoid, the global crisis and the multiple disruptions and catastrophes that is bound to bring.

Only when we become overwhelmed by the effects of resource scarcity, global climate change and environmental and social order degradation will we question our “way of life” which some of us have so worshiped and imposed including the former US administration. Given this emerging scenario I have decided to develop life-saver type solutions that will help the planet survive the upcoming crises while teaching that the permanent and final solution is the transformation of our human infrastructure into an ecosystem that can ultimately and seamlessly be integrated in Nature.”

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