As long as we remain within the current dominant paradigm of science–of universal materialism and mechanism–the puzzle of subjectivity will continue to confound us, and we will continue to be troubled by our failed efforts to find value and meaning in the complex dynamics of chaos and emergent order of insentient atoms in the void. If we don’t know how to face the paradoxes they will, sooner or later, manifest as intellectual, psychological, or other systemic pathologies (Radical Nature, Christian de Quincey, p. 7).
The days of thinking that the scientific method alone will solve all the conundrums of human existence are over. We have moved into an era where a strictly mechanistic and materialist worldview will not suffice. One reason for this is that we have recognized an enigmatic paradox behind the practice of science itself. Science studies the empirical and the quantifiable, and makes conclusions based on empirical data and rationality. The puzzling catch is that the consciousness of the scientist is utilized, in that she observes and experiences the data of the experiment, to arrive at a scientific conclusion. Yet science tries to deny that consciousness exists, even though it is required for the experiencing of the empirical data!
The future of human thought rests with whether we accept some form of thinking beyond ratiocination, or whether we remain in our current materialistic and mechanistic morass. To move forward with the former, we will need to formulate a new brand of paradoxically-based thinking that will move beyond empiricism. Instead of thinking of this new form of thought as transcending the old scientific method, in the sense of rising above it, I propose we think in terms of moving beyond it in all directions, as waves move outward after a stone is tossed into a pond. Transcendence smacks too much of the upward movement to Heaven. God knows we’ve heard that until we were blue in the face! We need a lateral movement toward each other, if this world is going to survive.
We have been duped into believing that “thinking” is just cogitating, rationalizing, and empirical observation. It is much more! What type of thinking would you say Einstein used in his most famous though-experiment, where he imaginally chased after a beam of light? This is certainly not ratiocination. There is imaginative thinking and paradoxical thinking. There is mythopoetic thinking, as well. There are experiences that cannot be classified as empirical. Dreams, visions, and such realities are just as valid as observing how a subatomic particle behaves in a particle collider. These types of meta-thinking will all play a very important role in the new paradigm, the Epoch of Soul.
Blaise Pascal said this:
Reason’s last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it.
It is time we learned this and get on with making our world a better place to live out our days.
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