This post is about the current limits of knowledge concerning ourselves as living beings, and the ways the inventive human mind has attempted to transcend the percieved degree of ignorance we labour under.
We humans evolved/acquired speech and the ability to handle abstract concepts.
We developed ritual and spi-ritual procedures to extend consciousness ‘beyond the body’.
We developed metaphysics to explain the unexplained.
We developed logical constructs to order and categorize experience.
We developed empirical investigation to inform and confirm theory.
We developed instrumentation to measure and investigate micro and macroscopic phenomena.
A schism developed between direct cognition of self through introspection (spiritual awareness) and the empirical examination of the material body leading to the mind-brain identity theory (materialist philosophy).
Realisation dawned that the categories provided by the periodic table of elements and the knowledge of their interactions (inorganic chemistry) and the concommitant theory of matter-energy (sub-atomic physics) are insufficiently developed to explain the activity of living biota (organic chemistry). This has spawned new disciplines which try to explain the extended capability of living entities to intereact with their environment, one example is the field of epigenetics.
Outside of mainstream science there are other approaches to understanding of self, others, life and cosmos; Alchemy, orgone energy theory, Jungian psychology, alternative medecine, the practice of meditation, yoga, T’ai Chi etc. These tend to follow a more holistic paradigm, which escape the Cartesian dualism of seperate mind and body through the presumption of wholeness and the implicate order (Bohm). Others are re-evaluating classical science and discovering anomalies, lacunae and developing alternative re-formulations of classical theory.
A new appreciation of the degree to which humans formulate the ‘reality’ of the cosmos which surrounds them through consensus first elucidated by Plato in his analogy of the men round the fire in the cave has been brought into sharp relief by the study of the behaviour of scientists in institutional organisations (Polyani, Kuhn, Lakatos, feyerabend), and more recently by the climate debate.
New insights into the fundamental role of electrical energy at all levels in the cosmos from the biggest cosmological scale structures to the smallest biota open a wide field of new investigation. Recent comments on other threads from Richard Holle, Adolfo Giurfa, Zeke and others can be pulled together here for a round-table barnstorming session.
Bring it on.