Forgetting History

My family moved to Santa Clara County in California when I was 8. What has become *Silicon Valley*: home of the tech giants like Apple, Google, Intel, Cisco, HP and hundreds of various and sundry other hi-tech start-ups, existed then as a few scattered towns surrounded by orchards. More trees than houses, literally. Today there are trees in yards, trees on school grounds, and trees in the scarce parks that break up the concrete and asphalt of a modern metropolis that rings San Francisco Bay. When I tell people what it was like, *back in the day*, they scoff. It is unimaginable; like reminding them that people used to live satisfying, fulfilling lives before electricity or indoor flush toilets. That people won’t die from internet-abstinence. Or that science is only four hundred years old.

Waaaaiiitt a minute there…you mean there was civilization before science? You mean humans made cultural, emotional, and even intellectual progress before there was science? You mean shamans weren’t just always blowing smoke up their tribe’s rear ends? Of course: that is what is meant by *evolution*. But it is important to understand that progress doesn’t always lead to heaven; to borrow an image from John Michael Greer, sometimes we find ourselves in a dead-end alley with the grill of our car pressed up against the brick wall that blocks our way forward. Sometimes the only way *to progress* is to go back. Sometimes it pays to acknowledge that although one end of the spectrum might well be *do you believe in magic* that the other end, one just as problematic in fact, might be *do you believe in science*.

Waaaaiiitt a minute there…what’s wrong with science? Without science we’d all be dead before the age of thirty, right? Without science we’d all be starved and freezing, right? Without science who’d be able to restart our heart after that stress-induced heart attack, right? So I’m going to ask a few questions that are very difficult to face. Nature is fractal, science is linear: can humans be successful, as a life form on Earth, if we insist in remaining linear now? Science can’t explain gravity; oh it can use what it observes about gravity to send men to the Moon and return them to Earth all right, but how it works…no clue. Think we might not always be successful controlling events that happen inside a gravity field if we don’t understand everything there is to know about gravity? Or what about light…is light a particle or a wave? Sometimes it acts like one sometimes the other. Which is it? In fact, and this circles back around to forgetting our history, science has been trying to answer this question about light for a very long time, nearly the whole four hundred years that logical, replicable experiments have been de rigueur in our culture. As far back as a hundred years ago the physicists at the leading edge of research into the nature of light made startling, counter-intuitive discoveries as they probed light while trying to control it: light changes its properties and behavior depending upon whether or not it is being observed. Even worse, science has spent too many dollars to count trying to find that tiny ultimate piece of matter that is the fundamental building block of the Universe, the little piece of stuff that everything is made of. To no avail…

…because it seems that energy, which we sense as light, or heat, or sound, or even as something solid is not made of anything solid. This is the counter-intuitive part: the screen or the paper you are reading this on; the chair or the floor you are sitting on; even the can or the glass that contains the drink you are holding while reading this…not solid, none of them, and not really *out there*. It is a result of the observation of the universal energy field by consciousness. Until science acknowledges that there is more to life, more to our world, more to each of us than the *mere* physical, objective, determinate matter that we *think* we see around us; until that time that science brings consciousness into physics as the most important facet of our world, we will face that wall that is blocking the grill of our car from progressing out of the alley.

In matters of matter consciousness matters.

Ready to dive in? Haven’t been frightened away, or totally confused, or balled up this paper and thrown it against that *solid* wall nearby? Then ask yourself this: when was the last time you changed a deep, fundamental belief, like believing in science as our only way to explain our world? Or, have you ever made a change that radical? If you have though, what triggered that dramatic, forceful change in world view? What happens when you allow that maybe, just maybe, subjective trumps objective? Waking to reality is a process and none of us are as awake as we will be. Question what you are being told. Enjoy the ride!

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2 Responses to Forgetting History

  1. There’s no question that the scientific method that has dominated the last few centuries has carried with it an implicit sense of linear progress. I do not think physics is asking quite the right questions now. However I doubt that the reality of it is a function of human perception. The question of how we perceive what is around us is pertinent, but a different issue.

  2. Paul Heft says:

    Darned if I know how much material reality depends on consciousness. In everyday affairs, I am more comfortable believing in the solidity of my furniture rather than imagining my chair as an energy field or something. Let the physicists play with those ideas.
    But with regard to nonmaterial concepts–such as nation, economy, boss, money, parent, knowledge, mine, female, race, class, youth, health–I am much more reluctant to let scientists and other experts tell me the “truth”. For those concepts, when we lose sight of the fact that they are products of our consciousness, we can become delusional rather easily. And still, letting go of fundamental beliefs is difficult and frightening; I don’t do it very often! I suppose that’s why they’re called fundamental!

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