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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The infancy of knowledge

Times are very busy at present, with books, papers, and promotional work to do. I don’t always have time to write an entirely new blog post. So today I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite passages from my book Integrated Intelligence.  This is an academic book about a spiritual intelligence which transcends the brain and extends into non-local space, which is based on my doctoral thesis. However I did write it in such a way that the knowledge contained in it would be readily accessible to most people. I even got in a quote from new age author Stuart Wilde! (my examiners probably didn’t know who he is). The following passage is found in the conclusion of the book, and gives perspective on the way we think of mind and intelligence at this time in human history. Sometimes it is easy to forget that the present in just one unique moment in history, and that the nature of our scientific knowledge defines not so much the boundaries of the cosmos, but the boundaries of our dominant worldview.


In this book I have compared and contrasted two different constructs of intelligence (Integrated Intelligence, and mainstream models of intelligence), which emerge from different ways of knowing, and different worldviews. It is appropriate to end with a reference from representatives of both schools. Contemporary mystic Stuart Wilde writes:

An energy shift that’s prevalent in the world today sees one group of people moving gradually from ego towards spirit, through the realignment of their consciousness, while anther group is threatened by changing circumstances and moves increasingly in the opposite direction, toward the ego, seeking greater manipulation, guarantee, and control over human affairs (Wilde, Whispering Winds of Change).

Mystics such as Stuart Wilde, Ken Wilber, Maurice Bucke, and David Hawkins commonly equate the unbalanced rational mind with the ego, while skeptics often see the mystics as “the enemies of science” (Yuri Efremov). Yet it need not be a battle of extreme and incompatible paradigms. The interplay between these two worldviews stands as a potential interface where human knowledge might expand beyond its currently defined boundaries, as Richard Tarnas has noted.

Finally, as long standing former editor of Nature, John Maddox, in What Remains to be Discovered argues that science is “far from being at an end”. He finds that “there will be many unknowns brought to attention in the years to come”, and that “The 500 years of modern science are a good beginning, but only a beginning”. He states:

The truth is that the sheer success of science in the past half-millennium has engendered a corrosive impatience. We too easily forget how recent are the empirical and theoretical foundations of present understanding. Prudence, or merely good manners would dictate a seemly recognition that they may also be incomplete.

There is much to learn.

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