Science, Nature and Worldview

by Brad on December 6, 2010

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, each of us has a worldview, made up of the “context,” or framework, we draw around our lives that defines what we see as possible … the rules of how life “should be.” Ben & Roz Zander, in the most excellent book The Art of Possibility, suggest we can change the way we experience life by drawing a bigger frame around the same life circumstances. That’s “managing context,” and allowing the details to take care of themselves, decidedly “the art of possibility.”

My thoughts lately have been focused on how, as a society and as individuals, we have allowed classical science to define our worldview for at least the past 400 years. Science is a great thing; science has helped us understand our world in amazing ways. But science is not “the world,” but rather a way to see the world. By its own rules, however, science doesn’t explain subjective experience (in classical science, the observer is removed from the observation). Human consciousness doesn’t work the way classical science works. Personal experience, intuition, dreams, the world of soul and spirit all fall outside of the objective. So as great as science may be for explaining the workings of the universe, it’s a terrible template for a worldview, because it explains nothing about subjective human experience. No wonder we feel lost.

I vote for nature, not science, as the basis for a new worldview, a worldview one that opens us to the amazing potential that has always lived inside us. Nature simply is; and nature simply is, independent of whether we prove it, know it, accept it, understand it, or experience it. Unlike science, nature is big enough to encompass all of life; nothing is left out. Original cultures on the planet knew this well. They didn’t “know” nature’s laws, as science does, but they “knew without knowing,” living their lives in reverent reciprocity for the world that sustained them. Perhaps if we might re-member ourselves “In Nature’s Image,” (as in, return to the source, from whence we came) we might find the same characteristics in ourselves we so deeply love in nature – resilience, balance, sustainability, creativity, acceptance, rhythm, opportunity, connectedness. There’s a natural order to life, and it lives just below the surface chaos we experience as everyday living.

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