Seeing Beyond Science?

“Old boundaries are dissolving, and science is beginning to expand its scope.

The Super-Paradigm

When considering the limits of contemporary science, it is important to remember that we are talking of the current paradigm, not science as an endeavour. A scientific paradigm is the set of assumptions within which a particular science does its business. Quantum theory, Darwin’s Theory of evolution and the psychoanalytic theory of the unconscious mind are all examples of paradigms.

Over time paradigms change. For nearly two thousand years Plato’s belief in the perfection of circular motion dominated the science of mechanics. In the seventeenth century Newton’s Laws of Motion became the paradigm. Today, Einstein’s Theories of Relativity are regarded as a more accurate description of how matter moves in space and time.

Unfortunately—as Thomas Kuhn showed in his masterful exposition, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions—paradigms do not change easily. They are so deeply embedded in the scientific and wider social culture that they are seldom questioned. Evidence that contradicts the current view is overlooked or rejected; or, if it cannot be so discarded, incorporated in some way, often clumsily, into the existing model. Believers in the old paradigm would rather die than give up their assumptions about the nature of reality. And they often do. New paradigms arise in a culture, not because people change their minds, but because the adherents to the old die out.

The current scientific world-view holds that matter and physical energy are the primary reality. When we fully understand the functioning of the physical world, we will, according to this view, be able to explain everything—including the human mind. This is more than just a paradigm within a particular field of study; it is a belief common to almost every branch of science. It is more of a super-paradigm.

To question this super-paradigm is to question something really big. Little wonder then that any evidence for telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, healing, prayer, or any other phenomenon that suggests consciousness is not so dependent on matter, is either ignored or ridiculed by the establishment. Within the accepted world-view, it simply cannot be true.”

 – Peter Russell, one of the leading figures in the Human Potential movement, is fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the World Business Academy, the Findhorn Foundation and an honorary member of the Club of Budapest.

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