Category: Science


Reason, danger in Vedanta

I am in the middle of watching Frank Huguenard’s movie “Beyond Reason”. It turns out that the movie is about Vedanta, I have nothing against Vedanta – it is not my tradition – but if I had known I probably wouldn’t have watched it.

Before I go into the movie I must make my usual caveat. Vedanta is a long established tradition, from before the Buddha, so in discussions about Vedanta it is understandable that they don’t talk about the 1%, but in his introduction to the actual Vedanta (32.00 mins) Frank discusses happiness. Basically he says science does not bring happiness, his emphasis being on the development of science and why it hasn’t brought happiness. At this point it could have been appropriate to say that the 1% are the problem, but throughout the movie’s emphasis is on science because they are emphasising that Vedanta is a type of scientific method. But in so doing they ignore the reality of socity as it is, they do not explicitly express the awareness that the primary factor that contemporaneously is preventing spiritual development is the 1%-system.

I was first attracted by the clear exposition of the history and dichotomy of knowledge by the Elder Brothers, they then went on to discuss quantum mechanics which I found interesting, which I suspect is true because of their understanding of science, but which I don’t know for sure. But then began discussion of Vedanta, literally the “culmination of knowledge”. Basically there was an appeal to the rational. There was an attempt to show that Vedanta was a scientific method with its own axioms and methodology – primarily raja yoga. They are the teachers – it is their tradition, but for me this leaves a gaping chasm that can lead to poor practice. The axioms and methodology of Vedanta are concerned with an examination of the mind through raja yoga. It is not about books, Frank’s analogy was that to learn to swim you must go in the water – no amount of reading about swimming can teach you to swim.

But here is the chasm that I am so concerned about. Our education system teaches us that all is rational, and if a system of understanding such as Vedanta places itself on a parallel with that supposed education system of rationality, then western students are instinctively drawn to reason and so will not go “Beyond Reason” – Frank’s title and purpose of the movie. Undoubtedly the movie makes clear that currently science does not seek knowledge (the 1% don’t want us to know they want us to accept their system), what needs to be emphasised is that Vedanta is a genuine search for knowledge as opposed to the rational science and technology that has been hijacked by the 1% for their profit-making. Vedanta is not concerned with profit, it is about understanding, truth and therefore happiness, values completely alien to the science the 1% has diverted.

Here is Frank’s scientific approach:-

This is a compromise game on the part of the teachers and presenters whose rationale goes something like this:- western students accept academic science so to involve them in Vedanta we will use the same terminology that academia uses. The danger is that western students will then use the same distorted minds – distorted by an extreme over-emphasis on the faculty of reason, and approach the learning of Vedanta with the same academic distortion of their upbringing – NEVER going beyond reason.

Now I am certain that Vedanta, as a scientific methodology in its own terms of searching for knowledge, can lead to an understanding of the spiritual Path – even though I don’t practice it, but the scientific methodology that Vedanta must practice has to be greatly different to the scientific methodology practised by academia. I met an academic and we got involved with a long discussion about Insight and reason. He sought the transcendence discussed in the movie. However all that he did was take the discussion of Insight to be an expansion of the academic rationality, so whilst he knew in some sense the importance of transcendence he never transcended because all he saw was rationality. Beyond reason is essential, comparing Vedanta methodology with science creates dangers.

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There are a series of movies by Frank Huguenard entitled “Beyond”:-

Beyond me

Beyond belief

Beyond reason

Anything that is beyond pleases me. However they haven’t gone down too well, Beyond Me sent me to sleep. The creator, Frank Huhuenard, is from a Vedanta tradition. This doesn’t make him right or wrong – it is just not my tradition so I am not knowledgeable about it.

But anyone who is beyond his tradition has got to be listened to so I must persevere. And I did so a little to hear the Elder brothers giving an excellent description of science. There are discussions about science and knowledge in my earlier blogs but for sound-byte culture here is a short clip (15 mins) of the dichotomy of knowledge into science and religion relegating non-measurable knowledge into the realms of superstition.

Because that was so sound I have included this clip on quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is beyond me, not a good beyond – I don’t understand it. Because their discussion on science so resonates with me I have included this clip on quantum mechanics without understanding it. The clip on science exposes science as not being knowledge, quantum mechanics has an image of explaining all; the Elder brothers places parts in the realms of intellect and not knowledge. I don’t know how to go into the intricacies of what they presented but I am happy with what they say.

Ignorance – avijja

avijjá: ‘ignorance,’ nescience, unknowing; synonymous with delusion (moha, s. múla), is the primary root of all evil and suffering in the world, veiling man’s mental eyes and preventing him from seeing the true nature of things. It is the delusion tricking beings by making life appear to them as permanent, happy, substantial and beautiful and preventing them from seeing that everything in reality is impermanent, liable to suffering, void of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, and basically impure (s. vipallása). Ignorance is defined as ‘not knowing the four truths, namely, suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the way to its cessation’ (S. XII, 4).

This is a definition for avijja taken from a Buddhist Dictionary. It goes beyond what I wish to discuss here but it is mainly the first sentence I wish to use. The problem with ignorance is that it is susceptible to the claim that it is just your opinion. In the above definition, the second sentence is typical of this. Buddhists, including myself, believe impermanence, liable to suffering and void of I (Pali – anicca, dukkha and anatta), and therefore a Buddhist might say it is ignorant not to believe this.

Now in terms of science this question of belief is taken to extreme. Because belief is subjective then science rejects all beliefs or categorises them as belief and NOT science. This position is absolutely ludicrous as it therefore categorises as “NOT science” most of human experience. Science sets as the benchmark of that which is knowledge as all that can be proved by scientific method. Essentially this scientific method is proof by logical reasoning, but science in general does not examine the axioms upon which this reasoning is based, yet it claims to. There is also much that is dubious about the scientific proofs that come under the heading of qualitative research. I interpret this research as follows:-

Quantitative method is an incontrovertible method of proof (given that it is applied appropriately – and there are many cases in which it isn’t) based on numbers and objective measurement. However academics found this proof limiting when it came to the area that is not known as Science (maths, physics, chemistry etc.). Academics wished to introduce a method that would allow academic respectability for the social sciences, and they called this qualitative research. Such a methodology often based on case studies can often lead to useful conclusions but what it cannot give is incontrovertible proof as with quantitative research. Personally I don’t mind this, qualitative research is a useful indicator but it is not proof.

A friend, self-professed worshipper of reason, uses the word “verifiable”, I like this word as it does open the door to genuine knowledge, but academia does not wish to enter. First up is the need to discuss empirical evidence, and for me acupuncture is an excellent benchmark when it comes to considering whether academia respects empirical evidence. For thousands of years empirical knowledge, thousands of years of case studies, has led to that bank of medical knowledge that is known as acupuncture. Yet science rejects it. There is a simple explanation for this – money. As has been discussed often on my sister site, specifically here, the medical establishment has been subverted by the finances of Rockefeller etc. and allopathic medicine is the only medicine that can be accepted. Therefore acupuncture whether it has a verifiable basis or not will never be recognised by western academia.

Meditative method is the next empirical method that is worth considering. Somewhere His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) describes the method of meditation as a science. Basically all meditators gravitate to the same point of view. By my recollection he described the method of meditation used in Tibetan Buddhism as always leading to the same understanding, if that is true then there can be no better description of a science – scientific method.

I am not here attempting a proof by quantitative method, and as I assert that this is the only incontrovertible proof accepted by academia what I assert here is not science. However if one accepts that qualitative research through the empirical evidence of case study is actually science then everything I describe has a scientific basis. However I have no wish to contend this because quantitative proof is a misdirection and leads to limited understanding. What is needed is a different epistemology, and that theory for me is based around insight. This epistemology requires an education towards a belief and acceptance of insight, and the use of that skill of insight is the measure of science and the tool that breaks through the veil of ignorance. Of course western academia can never accept this. Whilst they can fool themselves that qualitative research is a substantive proof, they will never accept a subjective methodology such as insight.

But this is typical of the “axioms” of science, they are limited and often erroneous. This blog started with looking at Bruce Lipton’s examination of “genes maketh the man”, this might be true of denim (ha ha) it is certainly not true of people in general. In the last blog I promoted the notion of unity over separation as an axiom for understanding life. This axiom comes from insight, but not mine alone; it is a fundamental axiom of a number of religions and a number of peoples’ insights. At the same time insight brings into question the inadequate model that is separation. Quite obviously separation fits in with quantitative method and observation on an external level. Because of this obvious acceptance such a separation has become an axiom, we are fundamentally separate units as human beings. But the question then is “whilst we can observe bodies of separation, does that mean we as human beings are separate?” Once we start to investigate that question we can see that separation as an axiom is a big assumption. Various words immediately spring to mind to undermine this assumption, gestalt consciousness, collective unconscious, archetypes, etc.

Then we can start to examine Nature. What about ants? Quite clearly they have separate bodies but do they function as separate beings? That is open to question. What about the sea? When you look at the sea you see waves, but can you separate the wave from the sea? That is a ludicrous question. Can you separate individuals from unity for me is an equally ludicrous question? But unfortunately I am in a small minority who think so.

What is preventing science from seeing unity as the axiom? The consequences of the axiom of separation is beneficial to the established order – the 1%, as discussed in the last blog.

Here is an axiom that needs to work hand-in-hand with other axioms – compassion. If your axiom is not beneficial to humanity, and therefore by consequence, ONE planet, then your axiom is flawed. Should compassion be an axiom? Of course it is common sense that any axiom we adhere to has to be of benefit to us all. Measure Insight and Unity by Compassion. When I talk of Insight people argue like “what about Hitler’s insights? Are they insights?” Compassion floors Hitler’s insights.

Look at the consequences of the model of separation. We have competition, we have people “stabbing each other in the back”, and we have the actions of the 1% who think it is acceptable to exploit the 99%. Is this compassionate insight? Have you determined your axioms through insight measured by compassion?

Returning to the theme of ignorance we have some people living in a world where they think they are happy. Their happiness lacks compassion because their happiness is founded on exploitation of others. They lack insight because if they developed insight they could see the way they are. Maybe they look after their families but beyond this they lack humane compassion, and this lack of humanity can exist because they consider that we are all separate and therefore our individual lives matter irrespective of what happens to others. However in unity there has to be compassion, seeing ourselves as one means that compassion is integrated into our being; there is no question because our actions cause ourselves suffering or not. The ignorance of separation means that we cause ourselves suffering, and we delude ourselves that the suffering of others that we cause does not matter. But it is a delusion that it does not matter.

So in the end there is only compassionate insight.

Superior Human?


Recently a friend posted on facebook that scientists stated something like animals have the same consciousness as humans. This winds me up a little, but of course it is full of holes. There is a kind of western myth that animals are almost human, especially amongst some who humanise their pets. Dogs and cats are not people, they do not have human characteristics – they are animals and have animal characteristics.

I’ve got a puppy to act as guard in my house. Along my street there are many with guard-dogs, this is the functionality of a dog – it protects. I had a wonderful dog in Botswana. Whilst neighbours’ houses were robbed my own was not, and even a drunk neighbour was saved from robbers by my dog. Cats kill rats. In my neighbourhood there are a few stray cats who are tolerated – I even fed one, and I hear the result of such toleration with the scrambling in or on my roof as the cat(s) clean out the vermine. This is a somewhat natural scene as opposed to pointless money being spent on Fifi’s hairdo. Now my description of animals is intentionally functional to prove a point, and according to Karmic theory pets can take on human characteristics en route to reincarnation as humans; I can never know this – God knows – Karma knows.

So we have an extreme in which humans personify animals and we have an equally absurd position where egotistical science functions as if it does not have to be in harmony with Nature. Many scientists try to control nature through their scientific knowledge leading to all kinds of crassness of which for me Oppenheimer was the worst – although retrospectively he admitted it.

My own position is very clear. The human mind is distinct and superior to all other forms of life on this planet, but, and a significant but, understanding that mind would also mean that the mind must function in harmony with Nature. In truth it is not always science that drives the lack of harmony. There are huge profits to be made if we frack, if we tap water, and if we make unnecessary nuclear weapons or drone technology. This profit directive motivates science into being technologically-oriented because such orientation produces profits. Applying such motivation means that science cannot accept its position of harmony in Nature, even if the scientists so choose. Oppenheimer was directed to create such a destructive weapon by the authority of the Allies, and the Alamo team’s desire for knowledge then took over – working “above” Nature instead of in harmony. Such imbalance in my view would not have happened without the motivation that brought the funding. So when people claim the imbalance of science I don’t see that, I see the imbalance of finance, of the profiteers. Unfortunately both are humans.

With these background thoughts I began watching “Superior Human” – up to here was written before I had finished the download, and now to my reaction to the movie:-

Irritated. The brown bear says my hearing is good, the human says I am intelligent, because these are exclusive then they are equally valid judgements. This fundamentally sums up the position of this academic nonsense. If you went down the pub and the guys talked such rubbish you’d call them drunken fools, academics say it with long words and you get a programme out of it.

I suppose they were trying to say “respect fellow creatures on the planet” but does that mean we are equals? If we are “superior”, can’t we still be respectful? It started with a picture of the mad scientist, surely an academic position is beyond that of the mad scientist. Can’t we be more discerning than to say we are superior and therefore in charge of nature or we are the same as animals?

But then I have to think about GM, and there we have science playing with Nature but in truth that is not science as a whole, it is a few who are bought off by Monsanto – watch Genetic Roulette. In the case of GM there are sufficient scientists who have stood up and lost their jobs, I do not accept criticism of science in general with regards to GM it is the 1% – money and Monsanto.

Why should I be so irritated? Maybe I am just tired – long week. But I am irritated because there was nothing even vaguely resembling ONE planet. When you went to discuss man animals and consciousness wsith supposed leading thinkers on the planet and there is nothing about Unity, respect for Nature, or whatever kind of terminology you want to use. But of course there can’t be because academia can only talk logic, and start from errant axioms. We are not separate people but ONE planet, respect is inherent in that. And then there is no inconsistency when we say humans are “superior”.

I was recently pointed to scientists saying consciousness is the same in man and animals. Is the mind of man and animals the same? This is surely what needs to be considered. But academics can’t consider it because they need an agreed definition of mind and consciousness, and this they can’t get because some name pops up with some sceptical viewpoint destroying common acceptance.

And why can they not reach agreement on this? Because they live in the world of reason do not use insight, do not meditate. HHDL talks about meditation as a science, although science would refute that. Following the methodology of meditation we always come up with the same conclusions about mind and coinsciousness, that is science, knowledge, a process of learning that leads to understanding. As opposed to academia a process of refuting learning by asking destructive questions so that no-one can learn, and the people who ask the questions have no control of their minds, cannot meditate, and become professors with wealth and status.

Irritated, yes. Worth a rant? Equally yes. Any point? Not really. These people have their jobs, follow the Richard Dawkins School of the destruction of all that is insightful, and academia does not move on. Learning does not occur.

A Scientist

I was going to call this “A Man of Science” but this applies to all scientists and I couldn’t find an appropriate phrasing. A scientist has a field of expertise, and this field has usually developed through the scientist attending university moving into research, writing papers – even a book, and then being recognised as an expert. Effectively this scientist has become immersed in a field of study, and propogates that field of study by their way of life – papers lectures etc.

All of this is reasonable until you begin to question the context of this field of study. I am thinking of someone I know who would qualify as this type of scientist. He has become immersed in his field of science and the way he applies it. He is a strong man so this immersion is complete and shuts out those who don’t accept it. He appears not to have questioned axioms, and delivers his scientific knowledge unquestioningly. For most people he is extremely sure, and he brings that assuredness into his personal life where people admire his confidence and the assured way he deals with life and his family. I do hear him fend off inconsistencies such as chi with barbed wit and determined challenges, dismissing chi as non-existent and suggesting that those who exercise using chi somehow gain physical strength by “swatting flies”. A past master of this barbed wit is Richard Dawkins. His dismissal of religious understanding is completely destructive, and his popularity amongst intellectuals merely creates barriers to understanding rather than using his intelligence to develop a wider agreement.

I compare such scientists to thorn bushes. A thorn bush is strong and impenetrable. In its life its branches grow spouting more thorns that protect it. In a detached way a thorn bush appears isolated often distanced from other plant life in deserts or other barren surroundings, yet in reality this bush is an integral part of life itself. How does the thorn bush grow? In Nature. Underground its roots require water, its minimal foliage takes water from the atmosphere, and its breathing is as much a part of plant life as any plant. So whilst the thorn bush might profess insularity it is part of what Thay calls interbeing (For Thich Nhat Hanh, nonviolence is a natural and necessary part of Buddhist religion. To understand his teachings, then, one must start with the most basic religious foundation: “In Buddhism the most important precept of all is to live in awareness, to know what is going on…to be aware of what we do, what we are, each minute.” When we are totally mindful—in direct contact with reality, not just images of reality—we realize that “all phenomena are interdependent…endlessly interwoven.” This is the foundation of Nhat Hanh’s approach, not only to nonviolence but to all of life. He calls it the principle of “interbeing.”).

So what is the knowledge of the scientist? Even though s/he might be immersed in a particular discipline that discipline fits into a whole sphere of knowledge with integrated disciplines – an interbeing of knowledge. Whilst the scientist might focus attention narrowly that is a choice, an approach to learning, Whilst the scientist might be considered innovative within her/his field the reality is that the branches of the thorn bush are growing but the thorn bush still remains isolated. It is this separation that I characterise as important to much that is science.

But in truth this is not the way Capra sees science. In chapters 2 and 3 he describes a systems approach that perceives science as overarching networks that he calls “Web of Life”. This fits in with the deep ecology he described in Chapter 1, and that I have called ONE planet; it is not inconsistent with accepting ONE planet as axiomatic, but without asking I couldn’t say whether he would accept ONE planet in this way.

So if science is developing towards ONE planet where is the problem? The problem lies not with the direction of science but the direction that is imposed on it. Fundamentally systems thinking is an anathema to the 1%. The 1% likes a mechanistic model, a model of separation. This atomism allows business to create a plant and products that yield profits. But then it doesn’t have to be responsible for futher consequences. I see this most obviously in the production of plastics. Science discovered the flexibility of using plastics, and business designed plants for productivity and profit. Over the decades as these plastic products have worn down there have been environmental consequences such as the gyra (see clip).

Once environmentalists determined that produced plastics were creating these problems they sought solutions. Unable to budge the 1% from their sole focus on profits the environmental lobby seeking some sort of solution targetted ordinary people in the hope that these people would improve the environment. But that approach can never be a solution whilst business continues to churn out all these plastics. So whilst a significant proportion of people have developed an environmental conscience concerning plastics the global environmental problems just worsen. World forums such as COP17 could seek solutions but rather than deal with the problems the 1% refuse to let go of their profits. To effect this the 1% have promoted climate-denial institutes such as Heartland, whose ambit is to promote the notion that the environmentally-damaging policies of their businesses are not causing “global warming” – and that they are not responsible for any damage that their policies in the past have caused. This is the exact antithesis of systems thinking in which responsibily lies with the totality of the systemic consequences.

What is worse in the case of plastics is that the problem can only be solved by business, because plastics are not biodegradable (like natural products such as made from wood). Plastics can only be recycled by production plant, and business as opposed to local authoritoes are the only people with the finance to create such plants. All that local authorities can do is remove the eysores from one neighbourhood – and create eyesore landfills containing the plastics. These landfills are on the increase as are the numerous gyras.

Not only does business refuse to clean up the plastics they also ignore the alternative recyclable solutions, here are some examples.

The way the 1% dodge their responsibility for the environmental damage connected with plastics is atomistic thinking. Basically they examine their own little thorn bush, and determine that they need to do such-and-such to make a profit, and then they use their power and influence to blame everyone else.

Here is a bit of systems thinking that deals with plastics. It is a recognition that we are all part of ONE planet. It uses existing infrastructure, marginally increases the cost (thus excusing the 1% from participation), but would be clearly beneficial. The atomistic approach that is in place, for example with regards to bottled water, is that the 1% misuse government authority to go in and take the water they need from wherever they choose. Then they build plant to make the plastic bottles and then deliver the bottles to their supermarkets for sale. This is an atomistic process that enables them to make their profits, disadvantages the communities they collect the water from, cause lung disease where they are making the plastic bottles and leaves the bottles to be dealt with “by society” after they have been consumed. If it wasn’t so common place we would look at this process and wonder how we could have allowed it.

Note here, drinking water from plastic bottles is not a healthy option, and I don’t recommend it.

Given that we wish to continue consuming bottled water, what do we do? This requires an examination of the system which includes the consumer, sanitation, and the bottled water business. Once consumed the bottles are in refuse or in plastic bottle banks. The sanitation department takes the refuse and sorts it – this is an additional cost. The refuse is divided up into refuse that can be disposed of sustainably, paper products that can be used for recycling, plastics that can be stored awaiting collection. The sanitation department provides collection points where business can collect this “refuse” and business would collect it as part of its routine for delivering to the supermarkets. The materials for recycling are then delivered to plant where the new item for sales is manufactured. Here is a clip that talks of the potential of plastics:-

It is described as malleable but it is not malleable for you or I, however business can make anything if they invest in plant. So if business invests they can profit from recycling in coordination with sanitation and the consumer. As it stands at the moment, if this system were to be introduced business would get their puppet government to develop the new sanitation aspects, they would use the media to impress upon people the need for recycling and charge them more taxes, raise prices because of the increased costs due to recycling, and then make huge profits from the new plant and the new recycled resources. But by a system approach these additional costs would be shared as would the increased profits from the recycled manufacturing.

With a systems approach based around ONE planet we have an equitable solution, under the 1% approach the problem is denied until we are forced to act, then they take advantage of politics to profit from the outcome. System solutions exist but no matter what approach is offered the 1% can exploit, again pointing to a recognition that paradigms are not the solution when you are dealing with the 1%.

I have another example of a system that works, or at least I think it did. I had a friend who managed a company with a turnover of approx 1 and a half million a year. According to him, and I have no reason to disbelieve him, he worked hard as did his team of workers. In the end he was shattered and retired in his 50s to build a castle in the sky. Now I don’t know how ecologically sound his product was, and from that point of view how his production fitted into the wider system, but it sounded a fair system to work for based on mutual interest, respect and compassion. This man called himself a capitalist – as would many, but he was just running a small business. He made a reasonable living, worked too hard as probably did his workforce, but together they made it work. Within the business itself exploitation was minimalised.

Compare that with a transnational whose structure is based on coercion and exploitation. The transnational is run by the 1% but at all levels of management there is coercion based on career structure. If the middle and upper echelons of the transnational wish to progress they have to exploit the people under them on the ladder. The people employed in the factory are never encouraged to have loyalty, and they know there will be none in return – if the workers don’t accept exploitation, the low wages and try to unionise then the transnational moves its plant to another country. And who ensures that? The immediate manager, and if there are doubts the manager is pressurised up the ladder. 1% transnational companies function on coercion and exploitation, an approach that lacks a system that can work sustainably. It matters little to the 1%, they cut and run. That is the system, atomistic exploitation whose only guide is the profits of the 1%.

Contemporary science has begun to alter the axioms of science, and one example is Capra’s Web of Life. But even if science does alter this “worldview”, does it have any real impact on society? How connected is this new scientific knowledge to the reality of daily life? Clearly 1% influence is more powerful than that part of the scientific establishment that is recognising a systems approach. It is almost a clash – the atomism of the 1% and the systemic development of knowledge of ground-breaking science such as Capra. How do these forces exist together? That is the question that governs any paradigmatic change.

Paradigm

Capra begins the next section of Web of Life with discussion of the word paradigm. Starting from Thomas Kuhn’s definition as applied to science Capra expands it [p5]:-

“to that of a social paradigm, which I define as “a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself. ”

As Matriellez, I described one of the four dominating aspects of education as the corporate paradigm. Capra’s adaptation of Kuhn’s defintion would apply very well to this corporate paradigm “a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself. ” It doesn’t need any alteration, it fits as a perfect description of the way things are except for one important caveat, the Mandtao caveat, that ought to be included:-

“a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself but whose totally dominating influence is the increased profits of the 1%.”

No wonder science is embraced by the 1%, they sugar-coat reality for the benefit of the 1%. Where is the genuine understanding of what is without a recognition that the paradigm profits the 1%. It is the same as saying we live in a democracy without saying the Mandtao caveat “democracy whose totally dominating influence is the increased profits of the 1%.”

He goes on to describe the mechanistic view of life, Newtonian Cartesian paradigm, as disappearing. Because he does not include the Mandtao caveat it appears reasonable to see this change from the mechanistic view as feasible, but with the caveat we can understand the failure of science to embrace the changes he so eloquently described in his earlier books. In his scientific paradigm he considers developing awareness, but with the caveat one has to ask “will the profits be affected?” And that is difficult to answer. If his awareness change demands a sustainability pre-requisite then such a change is in direct conflict with 1% profitability to such an extent that the 1% has established a think tank whose specific purpose is to promote climate change denial.

To be fair to Capra, I could interpret the rest of the chapter as tacitly including the Mandtao caveat. He promotes deep ecology as described by Arne Naess (I came across him when I relived my 20-something ecosophy – amusing). This deep ecology is a more elucidated version of the ONE planet page in which humanity recognises itself as integrated with all being – as opposed to shallow ecology which sees a separation and natural resources to be used in a “nice” way.

Capra also drew an interesting distinction between holistic and ecological [p6]:-

“A holistic view of, say, a bicycle means to see the bicycle as a functional whole and to understand the interdependence of its parts accordingly. An ecological view of the bicycle includes that, but it adds to it the perception of how the bicycle is embedded in its natural and social environment – where the raw materials that went into it came from, how it was manufactured, how its use affects the natural environment and the community by which it is used, and so on.” I have a particular beef about plastics. The plastics industry produces an excessive amount of plastics, and leaves government to clean them up (discussed here). This is complete dishonesty because the only way they can be cleaned up is for business to build plant that can recycle the plastics. The gyra and other plastics eyesores (as discussed in “Tapped”) are completely caused by the 1%, and with all the will in the world the 99% cannot do anything about it because plastics requires plant to convert them – despite the efforts of the industry spokespeople to blame the 99% and government. Because of my beef about plastics I say that ecological disposal of manufactured items needs to be part of the ecological outlook (I have no doubts at all that Capra was including this ecological disposal in his “and so on”).

I choose different words than ecological. I consider that the businesses of the 1% need to be accountable for the environmental damage they cause, and by accountable I mean that they must pay. It is ludicrous that in Tapped the water spokespeople were allowed to blame the local councils for the failure to provide sufficient collection points for their plastic bottles. It is not up to the local council to provide collection points, it is up to the businesses. Furthermore those businesses also need to provide plant where these plastics can be converted into other useful plastic items. Once created plastic does not biodegrade as does wood or other natural products. The plastics become an eyesore causing environmental damage because they have been created by business. It is up to Bill Gates to build factories that recycle the polystyrene, not anyone else. This is the benefaction that community responsibility requires, not usurping Africa with Monsanto GM seeding.

Here the problem lies with the legal, social and scientific axiom concerning the environment. Our legal system is controlled by the 1% but it tries to give the appearance of compassion, and occasionally judges risk the wrath of the 1% control and dish out environmental settlements. But throughout these legal processes the lawyers funded by the 1% tie up the legal process with law, case law, previous settlements and so on. There are many scenarios where Erin Brockovich fights for the rights of people and the planet against big business; in the movies the person who wins is miraculously portrayed, in real life there are few legitimate cases that are actually won. This is because the fundamental basis on which the law is fought is the Mandtao caveat, the protection of the 1% and not the genuine axiom of ONE planet, Capra’s ecological imperative.

Here we have the underlying problem. Our system is based on the 1%, the Mandtao caveat “whose totally dominating influence is the increased profits of the 1%”, and not on ONE planet. ONE planet needs to be applied across the board, our law, our economy, our science and our society. To be civilised means to be in harmony with ONE planet not creating technology that allows the continued domination by the 1%. This is the reality of discussing paradigms. Token changes from mechanistic world views might rock the world of science but if our whole system does not change this basic axiom there is little chance that such paradigmatic scientific change will be anything other than whistling in the wind. How far along this road did Capra go?


“But this realization has not yet dawned on most of our political leaders. The recognition that a profound change of perception and thinking is needed if we are to survive has not yet reached most of our corporate leaders, either, or the administrators and professors of our large universities.” [p 4]

On the same page as worldview at the beginning of the first chapter is the above quote. Again I find this an irritating academic quote. Occupy brought into focus the terminology of 1%, but bourgeoisie was not a new idea. Whilst there was a clear recognition that the corporatocracy was powerful Occupy has changed that focus into a recognition that Wall Street controls government.

But in truth these realisations are not new. Yet throughout we continue with the academic rhetoric of not “dawning on our political leaders”. This is compromise, it is the compromise forced on academia, a compromise that many academics readily accept, that the problems we face are a lack of awareness on the part of and branch of the 1%. And why do they present things in this way? To maintain the false delusion that academia can change with awareness, that academia is not controlled by the forces now known as the 1%.

Awareness hasn’t reached the corporate leaders, administrators and professors. Absolute rubbish. When awareness reaches these people, mostly they walk in the other direction. A typical example of their response “what can we do about climate change?” Since Capra wrote this book (1996), these same scientists have been bought off and afre providing us with denial science. Is this awareness? Absoultely not, it is money. They keep their jobs if they get funding, and where is the funding? In the dastardly lies of the 1%.

In Free to have a worldview?, I said much the same thing – the 1% control the knowledge through funding. Similarly they control awareness though funding and influence. Our academics learn to control aspects of their minds, and in that control they do not open their minds to knowledge but close them off – close them off so that their perspectives can be funded. Of course they do not present this delusion as awareness, and maybe even for some their blinkered vision triggers an exclusion mechanism where they eschew all that is true or all that is too difficult to do anything about. In reality all they are saying is that I will only seek knowledge where the funding will allow me to go.

There is of course a negative aspect to my continually raising this point, and that is aversion. When the point is raised once the mind might engage with it, when it is raised several times the mind reacts emotionally and rejects it – aversion. So should I continue because of this aversion? And the answer quite simply is this – what is the truth? Does funding control knowledge? Yes. is the search for knowledge fettered by funding – by the 1%? Yes. If academia is to be considered the institution that searches for knowledge, does it need to recognise this funding reality and do something about it? Yes. Is the discomfort of aversion a necessity?

Absolutely. Consider the post-hippy compromise years. Throughout society, especially including academia, there have been a sprinkling of these hippies whose message of the 60s and 70s could have opened us up to a wiser future. But they compromised. They said that they will work from the inside to seek a solution. And what happened? Their energies were used by the system to give the system greater credibility. The system never compromised. Of course there were token victories along the way, but in the end they were unwilling captives of the system.

Do I point the finger at Capra or others and blame them? Absolutely not. How they lived their lives is their decision. I point the finger at myself, of course. I made myself ill fighting. I love teaching and I had to retire early – although I teach a bit now. I can say about myself, I gave the system credibility when the students gave the system credibility because of my dedication. And what about the system as a whole? How much has this system benefitted from the outpourings of wisdom that was the undercurrent of the 60s and 70s? It is worse, far worse. War continues unabated, science through drone technology now makes war more easily accessible to the 1% and its politicians because the people of the metropole don’t have to die. The 1% tell us we have a financial crisis whilst they increase their profits and syphon off more funds into their personal bank accounts. People lose their homes whilst they add zeroes to their Cayman contents.

And science talks about awareness, it was never awareness it was always intentional exploitation of scientists who choose to wear blinkers.

So what should science do? What one name is associated with Hiroshima? Truman who gave the order. No Oppenheimer who invented it. Scientists, are you to blame? If you continue to wear blinkers and accept the channeling of knowledge into the profit-making ventures your funding defines, then you are to blame.

But then what, science, is your course of action? Can we walk away from the search for knowledge? Absolutely not. What can science do? That is so hard to answer, and is an individual decision. But honesty has to help. And to describe the problem as an issue of corporate, political and administrative awareness is not honest.

Can we find knowledge without funding? Perhaps genuine science needs to say that we will search for knowledge without funding. Who can know? But Fritjof, awareness is not the problem.

Updated almost immediately:-

After finishing this blog I ate and began listening to HHDL’s Consciousness in a Single Atom. Almost the first thing that hit me was Richard Gere saying “Because I am an internationalist at heart one of the qualities that has moved me most about scientists is their amazing willingness to share knowledge with each other” [CD1 Prologue 1 of 2 – 3.26 mins]. Whilst I don’t accept this is true of 100% of the scientists, and whilst this willingness to share becomes less so as science becomes increasingly dominated by the need for funding, I do not take this quote as a refutation of my argument. When one can observe that, given this genuine desire for the search for knowledge and its sharing does exist, the body of knowledge that makes up science has narrowed and has become focussed on technology, then we can assess that this narrowing is because this technology is a platform for profit. Given that scientists desire to share knowledge this shows that the dominant force of discovery is not the scientists’ search for knowledge but the influence of the 1% in its channelling towards profit.

He concludes the section on p4 with:-


“A sustainable society is one that satisfies its needs without diminishing the prospects of future generations.” This, in a nutshell, is the great challenge of our time: to create sustainable communities that is to say, social and cultural environments in which we can satisfy our needs and aspirations without diminishing the chances of future generations.”

This is in direct conflict with the interests of the 1%. How can sustainability work with the singular corporate motivation of increasing profit leading to increased personal wealth of their CEOs? Whilst this conflict does not negate the purpose of this book, it does indicate a cloistered solution, one that is academic and not relevant to daily life.

Free for a worldview?


“Ultimately these problems must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception. It derives from the fact that most of us, and especially our large social institutions, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated world view, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with our overpopu lated, globally interconnected world. [p4] ”

I am going to thrash this out now, because otherwise it will be nagging me throughout. It is not the worldview that is the issue, it is power. The worldview implies within it a notion that we can choose our view of the world. Because of the egos of academia or science there is an unwritten assumption, knowledge is out there and it is only a matter of discovery that this knowledge can be found. Then a scientist has a “eureka” moment and the truth of that knowledge becomes integrated into academia per se. This is so far from the truth it is staggering that the intellectuals within these communities actually believe it.

Let us consider the process that might be called academic apprenticeship. School, we must pass exams; university, we must pass exams; if we then pass those exams we get admitted into a reserach programme where there is a rigorous method to be adhered to. You have already been inculcated by this stage – jumped through so many hoops. In research you study all previous knowledge on a subject and then extend that knowledge. Sounds reasonable until you actually examine how that knowledge is extended. Numerically is the best way I can think of conveying this. Suppose we consider that the axioms that science is based on be specified as level 0, maybe the Greeks were discussing these axioms. As academics did further work these levels increased and increased until their work had little connection with the original axioms. The academic work that a Ph D student might work on could be that s/he consider levels 95-100, and through detailed study they examine minutiae at this level, detail it and cross-reference it with existing literature, and a Ph D is awarded if the researcher has been rigorous. One of the major criteria would be a recognition of innovation, but that innovation would not be concerned with the questioning of the axioms but that at the appropriate level their work had not been seen before.

This process of meticulous minutiae is reinforced by the academic job structure. A professor is installed based on published work. If the published work is recognised as some level of quality then a university wants to be associated with that quality. Within the department the people climb the ladder the same as they do anywhere else, and their position and commensurate salary is based on how they increase the body of work associated with the professor. If a professor gathers a team of people who work together well, the work can attract funding, and this reinforces the position of the professor. The essence of academia is the reputation of the professor and the amount of research funding they can attract.

And who is there to ensure this happens? Above the professors, the people who could be innovative, are a set of bureaucrats whose ambit is not the search for knowledge but the protection of the institution. Let me elucidate what happens to the search for knowledge by considering research into treatments for cancer. Cancer is on the increase, and there is much money connected with it. Cancer is not understood but the established approach is to consider that cancer develops from the genes. Once the cancers grow from these genes, then a regime of chemicals, chemo and radiation therapy are applied usually with little success. And the typical result is death. One horrendous by-product of this process is that the cancer industry makes huge profits, and there are many people employed dependent on these profits. It is significant to understand this, many of the people involved in the cancer industry are dependent on the status quo view of cancer and its treatment.

However there are a small but significant group of people who claim alternative approaches to cancer. They claim that cancer is a lifestyle disease, and that an improved approach to life including healthy eating avoiding of chemicals etc. could lead to the healing or avoidance of cancer. People who say this follow macrobiotics or Gerson. On top of this there are people who say that B17, cannabinoids or baking soda can destroy cancer cells. I am not qualified to attest to these, but Harvard scientists are, MIT scientists are, Oxbridge scientists are. So the question is why aren’t these institutions carrying out this research. Politics and funding? Scientific research is expensive, and who has the money? The cancer industry favouring the status quo. Suppose such funding became available to a reputable scientist then the institutional protector would prevent its usage, and if it got beyond that stage influence would be applied with threats of the withdrawal of funding elsewhere being issued.

In the movie Forbidden Cures W Edward Griffin describes how the 1%, in this case Rockefeller and Carnegie, took over medical schools:-

Prior to this, in the 19th century, US medicine was both homeopathic and allopathic. Homeopathic medicine attempted to aid nature to heal the body itself, and allopathic medicine used chemical or operations. At the turn of teh 20th century the film says people did not favour either. After the financial take-over of the medical schools doctors treated with pharmaceuticals.

Quite simply academia is typically now not free in its search for knowledge.

However philosophical worldviews don’t usually directly affect the profits of the 1% so much as possible cancer cures, yet approaches to academia which could change academic direction into a more open consideration of knowledge would be discouraged by the institutional gatekeepers. When Capra says that we subscribe to an outdated world view he does not say that that world view is restricted by the influence of the 1%. Does he perceive it that way? I don’t know but for me it is important to state from the outset that science is not independent. The scientists are controlled by funding both internally and external to their particulalr institutions. The search for knowledge is completely fettered by these restrictive forces, and any discussion of the current search for knowledge cannot possibly be complete without stating this caveat as being of fundamental influence.

I want to note here that my views could be discounted for bias (see Academic Failure)

Finally I want to discuss the chicken and egg of scientific discovery. Which came first the chicken or the egg? is an amusing question. No answer. But in science which comes first theory or practice is routinely answered as theory, it is one of those scientific axioms that is unwritten yet fundamental. Which came first Free Trade or Adam Smith? Scientific ego answers Adam Smith, the non-egoic answer is that there could have been any number of Adam Smiths who could have slipped into the slot that the practice wanted. In other words the prevailing powers wanted a theory that would allow for the exploitation that became known as Free Trade. Who is Milton Friedman? He is trickle-down economist with many prizes. Jamie Johnson made him angry with insubstantive arguments about the wealth gap, Friedman is not wisdom at its highest. Friedman does not usually have to defend his position because trickle-down economics are the lies the 1% want us to believe so that governments can be free to give all kinds of money to the rich including bailout to bankers. Friedman does not appear to me to be a wise man, he was the stooge whose theory fit the capitalist need at the time. Theory and practice? A simple discussion can yield doubt.

Scientists want to believe that they are in control of scientific worldview, that is their ego, that is their claim to fame, so when you read a book on science this position has to affect your perspective.


I should note here that I am not an academic success, in truth I have wasted my abilities. But Nana have I?

That is a reference to a lasting memory I have of my father’s mother who was a teacher. We were sitting in her house playing cards, I was about 14 at the time, and she asked how I was doing at school? I told her I was doing enough to get by, that I would do enough to get O and A levels (I’m that old!!), and go to university. She freaked and stormed out of the room crying. I was knocked back as she called out “You are too intelligent to be like that, it’s such a waste”. I never grasped what such a tremendous compliment that was, I am not saying she was correct in her assessment but my education became just as I had said and it was such a waste. I did maths because I found it easy, went to uni and got a second class degree in alcohol and maths, was able to extend my drinking for an extra year as I did a year’s advanced study, and throughout there were many asides that I could have achieved far more.

And I could have done far more except for tha fact that I never had desire for knowledge and learning until I grew older. That started when I left uni, and met people searching for knowledge in the London underground scene. It was then that I got switched onto a plethora of 60s and 70s heroes who opened my closed university mind to the wealth of knowledge that was available as learning. Pirsig will always be my biggest such hero, but Capra, Zukav, Colin Wilson, and others were all heroes whose writings taught me to question. That questioning then took me to religion as hitting bottom with the alcohol again opened my mind to what was available in life. Nana, this questioning was the intelligence you sought for me, and your flagging it has always been with me, but in truth schools were never the place for such intelligence as a life as a teacher has taught me.

My search for knowledge left the London underground as a compassionate nature took me into child care and teaching. And when I recovered from the daily compromises that those institutions required of me, learning occasionally occurred during the holidays. 20 years later I found myself in Botswana where other expats spent their time drinking and chasing the beautiful women. As I didn’t drink that chase was curtailed a bit for me as the associated Aids was not a price I wanted to pay. My first year I met someone who said he was doing an M Ed to pass the time, I scoffed “a waste of time” and then the next year started one. It was a great experience, and it is the process of that experience which has led me to this blog. Near where I lived was Shashe Dam, the local reservoir, whose levels rose and fell with the season. At low water you could sit under the reeds overlooking the water, it was so peaceful. During that peace I would study and really get into the learning that became my M Ed.

That M Ed brought out in me the search for knowledge that schools, Nana, could never have done – my Nana was into schools and did not understand they were exam factories and not places of learning. The M Ed I did allowed me to develop areas of professional expertise I had worked on as a teacher, and reinforce them with academic understanding. Books and experience is an ideal combination for the development of genuine learning. When I was qualifying for the M Ed I spoke to my tutor who encouraged me to think of a higher level of qualification.

Then I met the gatekeepers, these were the people who I would have to do research with. My dissertation had been concerned with the underachievment of black students and significant for me in that dissertation was the recognition of mind and its motivation. Now mind was something I knew about through personal religious work and meditation, and I worked on a rather grandiose research proposal – seeking the commonality in religions on what mind was about. I sought not a consensus because academics don’t seek a consensus on mind, they are happy to have disparate views so that they can all hold their professorial seats. But insight dictates a commonality in the understanding of mind, and as academics in general do not use insight universities are not places to further a study of mind.

But I pursued it. I first met this American at my Scottish university, and all I saw was this rigid gatekeeper. He was a young child with no understanding just full of books. He had no ability to recognise that experience has much to offer in the field of knowledge. He told me, a man 20 years his senior that I needed to go back and be an undergraduate. So from my tutor encouraging me I am knocked back by this child, and returning to the tutor I was told “not my bag mate”, but he made calls. To the institution’s credit they offered me an unpaid tutor but he told me the same thing “go back and learn”. I did try but I changed jobs and had less free time. When I did submit something it was dismissed as “Hindu-Buddhist inclusivism” or something like that.

To be quite honest I didn’t have the time anyway, so the rejection was beneficial. I did further studies in religion, primarily developing meditation until 5 years later I found myself in a position to retire early and spend time studying. In some ways the M Ed was useful. The course required a high level of self-direction, and with that self-direction being partially rewarded I am prepared to confront the establishment and say my studying is valid even though I didn’t get past the gatekeepers. That self-direction is also to be found in this blog, it is my intention at the moment to produce something substantive that would be that confrontation. We’ll see

Academic failure, Nana? Yes. Failure in the search for knowledge – absolutely not. I love learning. Here I am now sat at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the surf rolls in as the waves increase with the season, and I am writing blogs about science and axioms and Capra and …. loving it.

My M Ed can be found here.

Bruce Lipton is on a complete collision course with the cancer industry. He shows that the central dogma is a fallacy as previously discussed. I will be investigating further what the implications of this, but here is a clip from the movie “The Forbidden Cures”, a movie about cancer:-

This is the established view of where cancers come from, and Bruce completely contradicts these unsubstantiated methodologies of the cancer industry, if the genes do not control man then why is the cancer industry promoting the genome project and seeking such expensive solutions.

What about other cures?

Here is a movie on Dr Simoncini’s use of baking soda as a cure for cancer. Of the ones I have mentioned this is my least “favourite”, but what is clear is that there is sufficient evidence to warrant research. What is clear is that “acidic” conditions are conducive to cancer growth, and baking soda is a tried and tested method of alkalising the system – however drastic it might be.

Are the other cures based on disproven axioms? No. have they been proven? Equally no. But why not investigate? Pure science would investigate, 1% science controlling the cancer industry does not wish to investigate losing a potential goldmine.

Bruce, you disprove the cancer industry, you are at risk.