Universal Science

"Universal Science" - if I can use such a term in the singular (probably not a good idea) -  moves beyond the compartmentalisation of standard science, and seeks to provide a bigger picture, even a complete picture, of the cosmos and all it's component realities.  As such Unified Science tends towards grand theories of metaphysics, and esoteric world-views.  It would however be simplistic and incorrect to call theories of universal science "esoteric" and conventional science "exoteric".  Rather universal paradigms of science are more strongly intuitive based, and in many cases are science-inspired systems of metaphysics.

To briefly review some universal paradigms within Science (note, the following list is terribly incomplete!):

James Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis does away with the normal compartmentalisation of the sciences into biology, geology, meteorology, etc etc, and looks instead at the entire planet Earth as a single homeostatic system; that is, a system that maintains it's own internal environment, it's own metabolism if you will, at optimum conditions.  Life for example is a homeostatic phenomenon, and for this reason Dr Lovelock and his co-worker Dr Lyn Marguilis have suggested that the Earth as a whole can be considered a living super-organism.  The human race, man as a conscious entity, is also part of this vasrt super-organism, and man should not be so arrogant as to assume himself apart from or above nature.

Note: although Lovelock's version of the Gaia hypotheis is still science, indeed it is very much within the realm of physical, falsifiable, even reductionist, science, the many spin-offs and developments and interpretations of his superb hypothesis are not.  That fact does not make them incorrect.  It simply means that they are not science in the sense that it is defined here.

Professor Erich Jantsch's superb book The Self Organising Universe incorporates the Gaia hypothesis and more, much more.  In fact this book, now sadly out of print, is perhaps the best example of universal science I have ever come across.  It is presents an explanation of the universe, of the earth, of life, consciousness and society, as evolving and self-developing, self-organising, autopoietic structures.  The same principles apply on every level and at every stage of evolution.  This is also what the new mathematical sciences of fractals and chaos theory also assert.  Yet at the same time (which chaos theory etc does not take into account) each new organisational level brings a new stratum or aspect of consciousness into play, a new form of "mind" unfolding in the universe.

Professor Jantsch's self-organising universe is profoundly evolutionary in a way that Dr Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis is not.  After all, once Gaia has come into existence, what then?  Gaia simply maintains her metabolic state at optimum equilibrium.  But Gaia does not (in Lovelock's original formulation) evolve into greater or more superior states.

Jantsch in contrast observes three evolutionary phases - physical, organic, and social evolution, with the latter two characterised by a new grade of mind - metabolic mind and neural mind, with the hint of a third mind, spiritual mind as the next step.

This evolutionary paradigm, and even the same series of stages, has also been independently described by two great visionary teachers, the Jesuit palaeontologist and philosopher Teilhard de Chardin and the Indian yogi poet and visionary Sri Aurobindo, perhaps the profoundest teacher of our or any age.

Yet accomplished philosophers, theologians, visionaries and mystics as they were, and even in Teilhard's case scientist to boot (he was instrumental in the discovery of Peking Man, but to be fair his paleontolgical contributions in no way came anywhere near those of, say, von Heune or G. G. Simpson), neither of them formulated a science as such (unless it be in the metaphorical sense, e.g."science of yoga.  But not a natural science).

Edward Haskell et. al.'s Unified Science

Arthur M. Young's Reflexive Universe

A. P. Bermanseder's Omniscience

Goethean science is a radical approach that is as much art as science, and involves a holistic and unifying approach to the phenomena of nature.  In marked contrast to the mechanistic and rationalistic models of science (and even the universal sciences described here so far are still rationalistic, even if they are no longer mechanistic), it does away completely with the subject-object dichotomy (well Quantum Physics is the same  ;-) and seeks to understand the processes of nature through phenomenological experience and a sort of integration of senses and imagination.  The result is nature understood as an on-going process of morphogenesis.

Yet for all this, Goethean science is still science, albeit a science that is totally non-falsifiable.  But it is science in that it explains nature in a causal manner, according to specific laws and processes.  A powerful development of Goethian science has been the Annthroposophy of Rudolph Steiner and his successors.  This combines astonishingly profound intuitive insights into the workings of nature with statements of such childish absurdity that it is embarrassing that any adult could believe it.  In fact, even as myth or fantasy genre Steiner's accounts of, say, the Lemurian and the Atlantean epoches are absurd.  One of my goals is to try to liberate the genuine insights of Goethean-Anthroposophical science from the nonsensical elements (mostly deriving from Steiner's clairvoyant visions) that are stifling it.  Two things to junk first off would be the anthropocentrism and the young-earth timescale.  Untill this is done the Goethean-Anthroposophical perspective can never work as even occult science.  While originally Goetheanism is simply too undeveloped, and does not accommodate the discoveries of the last 170-odd years.

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page uploaded 11 Feb 2000