Reality? What reality?

Cosmos

By Enrique Lescure

Introduction

Ultimately, there are two constants in the existence of sapient life: The self and the exterior of the self. We can refer to “the self” as “the mind”, while everything exterior of the self (from unconscious bodily functions to far away galaxies) can be referred to as “reality”.

Our body interconnects our minds with reality, through sensory stimulus and the need for nutrition. However, we are not born (or arguably able) to understand what reality is. It can have something to do with us being evolved not for understanding the mysteries of the Cosmos, but rather for surviving and procreating on the African plains.

Anyway, here we are, operating a civilization that we ultimately are ill-equipped to understand by virtue of our biology, and trying to make sense of the complex world we are finding ourselves in.

There are several tools for understanding reality, but the two most utilised have been Mythos and Logos.

Mythos is a way of ascertaining reality by forming a comprehensive world-view which often is normative, meaning that it is focused on mending the gap between the material and moral realities, and to establish a meaning with life. We won’t really focus on Mythos for this article, but preoccupy ourselves with various ways of understanding Logos, and of the arguably damaging effects of neo-subjectivist ideas.

I am talking, to an extent, about the discourse of the conflict between hermeneutics and positivism, and about what separates The Earth Organisation for Sustainability from The Venus Project and many of the “RBE Organisations” which have plopped up during the last few years.

What is science?

Most human beings are to an extent employing science when they determine which way is the best way. It can be everything from cooking, building treehouses and gardening, to arranging furniture and making music together with your friends. In short, science is not in itself complicated.

Science is to make judgements out of experience and test results, rather than from opinions, biases or authority, and then be open for that new and improved information can be available, rather than to prefer the old information.

Of course, it should be stated that scientific fields are not testing randomly, but are building on what previous generations have made and are employing mathematics, chemistry, physics, engineering principles and various research methods, as well as peer reviews and standardised reporting techniques to establish a transparent and secure process for attaining new knowledge and be able to apply it within various areas.

The foundation

For science to work, there must be several conditions met. Experiments must be falsifiable, meaning that they must be possible to conduct and repeat under controlled conditions, and that they must be open for criticism based on science. Moreover, the experiments must be possible to repeat by researchers who have vastly different biases, and yet yield the same results. Also, the process must be open for examinations by other experts in the same field.

Moreover, if there are several possible conflicting interpretations for events, then the usual manner in which how to proceed has been to first look at the most simple explanations, rather than to move to wildly divergent scenarios.

Positivism

The traditional way of studying natural sciences (or “hard science”) has been to follow this process and learn new experiences from it. Positivism, as the underlying “scientistic” norm has been referred to, have several weaknesses, which have been addressed both amongst adherents to positivism and to critics, usually from the New Left academic environment, who formulated different types of scientific methodologies (one of which is Hermeneutics, which is very questionable itself as a methodology).

What I however want to criticise with the RBE movements is not Hermeneutics, since the RBE movements seem to originate from a idiosyncratic fusion of youth disillusionment, New Age, Conspiracism and The Venus Project rather than from New Left Academia.

The problems with the RBE Cosmology

Free_Energy_Orgones

I would argue that the biggest enemy currently of the RBE movement is the RBE movement itself, or rather the over-enthusiastic followers of RBE concepts, who seem to understand science as a substitute for religion. Let me explain my position with this illustrative image from above.

While I do not doubt that most RBE followers genuinely want to help the world, there is a problem which I have spotted amongst many vocal RBE followers, and that is their ignorance of the scientific method, as well as (even more sadly) a disinterest in the scientific process.

I have seen RBE followers share Wilhelm Reich, Nassim Haramein, Drunvalo Melchizedek, David Icke and other conspiracy theorists uncritically, and whenever such posts are erased from the EOS Facebook group, we are accused of censoring information and of being authoritarian. I have seen RBE followers being drawn into anarcho-primitivist groups, new age groups and antisemitic conspiracy groups.

It can almost seem like when the foundations of reality are changed, everything passes, and people stop using their critical faculties to disseminate information.

But this does not only pass for false information. It is troubling as well when it passes for true information or information that has a scientific basis.

I would be very worried if tomorrow EOS would get 200 new followers, who all would profess a nearly religious faith in the teachings of our movement, and the current EOS director (no offence, Dr. Wallace 😉 ). Equally troubling it is when people profess blind faith in Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking or any other contemporary figure within mainstream science.

To some extent, a lot of people have shown a predisposition for a need to believe in something.

Anyway, often times, we have heard that the reason that we do not work together with some specific other RBE associations (for example, The Venus Project), is that we are petty and have “big egos”. The people framing such criticisms seem to either be surprised by our reply or ignore it, but our reply is the following:

We cannot know whether or not a RBE is working before testing out the principles locally.”

Jacque Fresco himself is evidently a positivist, at least to the point where he affirms that the scientific method is the foundation for TVP. However, there are several problems with TVP, firstly that Jacque has achieved a guru-like status within the organisation, and secondly that there are no other scientists or engineers apart from Jacque within TVP, and also that most of the followers of TVP seem to have this nearly religious belief that a RBE certainly will solve every problem with everything imaginable, and that all issues of scarcity will be removed permanently (Limits of Growth beg to differ).

Conclusion

There is nothing wrong with enthusiasm, but beware that enthusiasm is always based on a bias. One of the reasons why we in the EOS are trying to break our own design by various simulations and tests, is that the design itself is of less importance than whether or not it can contribute positively to the future of the planet and to sustainability. We need to learn to distance ourselves from our emotional entanglements and behave like scientists.

We need to understand the scientific process.

There have been many problems with science, including elitism, dependency on multinational corporations, dependency on governments, biases connected to prejudices about social groups and a disturbing homogenity of the composition of the science corps. These issues are not addressed by throwing out mainstream science and replacing it with a wild subjectivism where people “put their faith” in various gurus.

These issues can only be addressed by teaching people the foundations of the scientific method from an early age, and learn children how to apply science themselves.

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5 Comments

  1. October 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    […] I would like to use this article as a continuation of my previous article, Reality? What Reality? […]

  2. November 26, 2014 at 3:24 am

    It seems to me that you have your basics wrong. You say “However, we are not born (or arguably able) to understand what reality is. It can have something to do with us being evolved not for understanding the mysteries of the Cosmos, but rather for surviving and procreating on the African Plains”. If you want to make the claim that we are not capable of understanding what reality is, you’ll have to face down accusations that you’re advocating an orderless universe. Or you’d have to argue that Order is an illusion, even an apparent Order. It seems to me, by virtue of our recognition of Order in Nature and all things, that, at the least, our minds are able to understand what reality really is, and that is its function. Whether that purpose applies to the whole of the human being is an open question, but I think that’s likely. We’re talking teleology here. It doesn’t make any sense to suppose that the purpose of a creature is to survive on African plains, except within a certain greater context, such as an evolutionary one, but evolution in turn points to a great one yet. After all, why sustain existence, if not for some purpose? We’re talking teleology here.

    • Eos Umeå said,

      November 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Greetings. ^^

      The thing is that the order we are seeing in the Universe is perhaps not because the universe itself, but because we have developed ourselves for pattern recognition. One can easily imagine that alien species – with entirely different senses – would develop entirely different things than pure pattern recognition. Moreover, our instinctual pattern recognition in our brains is flawed because it is based on our subjective viewpoints. For example, the sun is not rising, rather the Earth is rotating. But it is counter-intuitive to think that the first thing you do. Our natural pattern recognition cannot explain the Cosmos, but theoretical physics have utilised advanced maths to establish hypotheses about the real macro level (we do not even know if that is a macro level yet).

      It should also be noted that autistic brains often have an impaired pattern recognition, or none at all.

      If we already knew what reality is, there would be no need for cosmology, theoretical physics, quantum mechanics or similar.

      With kind regards
      /Enrique

  3. November 26, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Enrique,

    I don’t think that argument holds. The idea is that the human mind creates the illusion of order and the real thing, if there is one, remains hidden from us, graspable only by the mathematics of the natural sciences.

    But consider, if Order were not implicit in the universe, how would humanity come to see it everywhere? How would our mind utilize it, why would our entire being grow and evolve and act as if there was real Order that we experienced if it was not there? Take it far back enough and we get the something from nothing argument.

    Pattern recognition is not, I think, instinctual, nor necessarily in our brain, nor flawed because our experiences are subjective. Pattern recognition, aka learning, occurs in the mind, and we don’t know if the mind is synonymous with the brain. I’ve come to think it is not, and that the Scientistic materialists are wrong there. Nor does the subjectivity of our experiences preclude objective awareness.

    It should be noted that all the sciences are technologies of the human mind used to understand the world. Science is not separate from man, though the laws of nature presumably are. If we can come to understand even a small aspect of reality, with or without science, it points to the subjective understanding of a real Objective Order in the universe.

    I wanted to point this out for you seem like a man with a good heart, and bad priors can poison future thought, a la post-modernism. That would not be good. I look forward to future posts.

    • Eos Umeå said,

      November 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Yes, science is derived from observation, but science also recognises that pattern recognition can be wrong. Regarding the issue of meaning, I believe that meaning is constructed by societies, and that humans in general *need* a sense of meaning to be able to form larger societies.

      You can yourself see what widely divergent cosmologies different human civilizations have had. For example, within our tradition (I assume you also have been brought up in the western civilization), we generally think that everything had a beginning, while in the eastern tradition, time is seen as cyclical, and as never having started. If India for example had spearheaded the scientific revolution instead of the west, maybe the idea of a Big Bang would never had any fruition?

      Lastly, not all human beings are born with pattern recognition as a trait.

      I agree that we do not know if the mind is synonymous with the brain. I am not a researcher nor a neurologist, but I’m choosing to be conservative and not basing any theories on the nature of the mind on theories of our minds being separate. 🙂

      I am not a follower of “scientism”, but the most conservative (in the sense of moderate) statement one can make about the world is that we know that two things are existing, our minds and reality, and that reality exists outside of our minds.

      Post-modernists seem to be subjectivists in the regard that for them, reality is nearly meaningless. Reality can be meaningful without us knowing everything about it. In fact, our lack of knowledge is hopeful, since it means new discoveries will come. 🙂


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