The Dark Side of Science: Contagious Blindness and How This Infects Your Life
Imagine if you could travel through time.
Quantum physics tell us that ‘space-time’ is one stretchy, unified substance that makes this possibility completely achievable – as soon as we develop the required technology.
Say you travelled back less than 200 years ago to the 1800s. This was a time when rapid industrialisation, new invention and the power of science enthralled with its possibilities. Perhaps you met with scientific leaders and tried to explain the modern world. You could tell them how most people have in their living rooms a box where – at the flick of a switch – small people emerge on screen and offer entertainment and world news. Many have another type of box in their study or workplace which – by moving their fingers over it – can instantly communicate with others through words, moving pictures and sound, accessing information live from anywhere in the world.
Would you be more likely to be treated with curiosity and evaluation, or contempt and dismissal? Would you be seen as offering a challenging new worldview that usefully exercised perception, or as a charlatan selling nonsense to the easily duped?
The answers depend on the choice of ‘spectacles’ that are used for viewing the world. The lenses will have a different tint and degree of clarity according to education, gender, age, the conditioning of family, culture and how you have processed or interpreted life events. It is due to these differences that two people can observe the identical situation, yet describe it so contrastingly.
Obstacles to an Open Mind
The attitudes that are typical to the modern world – and its defining pillars of science and technology – were substantially shaped during a critical historical period called the Enlightenment. This 18th century movement emphasised the infallibility of reason and science, with a focus on individualism and unending progress. It developed alongside the first thrust of the Industrial Revolution, a period which utterly transformed how you live and think. Before this your forebears worked, married, ate, communicated, and were aware of little more than what was applicable to a village radius of a few kilometres. Unproven superstitions about black cats, ladders and every other daily detail held attitudes in confining bondage. The new findings of physics and other disciplines offered needed refreshment through vigorous dissection. This helped verify or disqualify suppositions by subjecting them to repeated experiment and eventually peer review, rather than solely basing principles on ancient doctrines of the Church.
This is an excellent process when you want to determine many physical properties. Thanks to Sir Isaac Newton and later luminaries we know why apples fall down not up, how to measure light, colour, sound and the movement of planets. What science continues to conclude about such properties, and the life-enhancing technologies that have developed from this level of understanding are brilliantly impressive.
As the Enlightenment author Alexander Pope wrote, “Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in the night, God said, ‘Let Newton be’, and all was light”.
Before this historical shift, when Galileo looked through a telescope he was not allowed to state what he actually saw. Suggesting that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way round as assumed, was considered heresy by the Church and treason by the State. Nor could art dare display on any type of canvas new vistas not yet officially sanctioned. The Big Four of Church, State, Science and Art had not yet been teased out (psychologically or sociologically) as distinct entities – a process which allows for clearer viewing of each and the relationship between them. This evolution should encourage respectful space and cross-communication. Then Church and Art can consider the largely interior world of values, symbology and innate being, while State and Science examine the largely exterior world of manifest being, in its expression through quantifiable form.
The Parallels of Personal and Cultural Development
This is akin to your own development as an infant. At first you and mother seemed as one, as was your teddy and your toe – until you tried biting them (your first scientific experiment) and felt the different consequences. This differentiation should lead to greater understanding of how all the parts fit together into one grand whole. Human beings should mature into an appreciation of how they are uniquely individual, yet at the same time inextricably part of humanity and the one vast web of life. Instead the process of differentiation can distort – at a personal or cultural level – into a sense of fragmented separation between parts. This may be within a context that is rigidly tribal and exclusive, or so flaccidly liberal it is devoid of meaning and connection.
In the 20th century as the Industrial Age became the Information Age, the Big Four gradually deferred to one dominant authority. Enlightenment Science developed into a techno-charged juggernaut whose creation of wealth and world power trivialised other contenders. Without its previous co-pilots to help guide this mighty engine, it became competitively and solely focussed on material advancement, unencumbered by moral deliberation. Its operational motto – “I’ll only believe it if I see it” – swept aside considerations which can not be seen until they are believed worthy of regard.
It is this one-track version of Science through its applied arm of big business that influences government, and through media and advertising the desires and fears of the populace. It is one-track Science through technology that orients your daily life so you set aside health and family concerns to achieve its latest must-haves. It is one-track Science through technology that produces grossly manipulated forms of food with genetic engineering, toxic sprays and additives, refined starches, deodorised fats and fragmented proteins designed for improved shelf – not human – life. It is one-track Science through technology that packages the arts into celebrity-driven, downloadable and disposable bling.
And it is one-track Science through a closed loop of industry-backed laboratory studies published in self-serving journals that derides subjectivity as random neuronal traffic; that dismisses spirituality as a superstitious opiate or psychotic interlude. Don’t worry; they have drugs for that!
The Unmapped Inner and Outer Universe
Apparently the universe is 80%-90% filled with ‘dark matter’ about which science knows nothing. So at best we have information on 20% of what is around us. Experts can not confirm how we came to be here, when we got here, where exactly here is, or who else might be here. Humility sounds like an appropriate position. Your brain can be superbly and minutely mapped, but top neuroscientists remain unable to say what you are thinking. This status can only be determined by talking with you and interpreting the results – a process requiring messy subjectivity.
No one has yet fully defined or located your mind. There are emotion-receptive endocrine cells in the heart, and sites producing 95% of your serotonin (your calm, feel-good neurotransmitter) in the gut. Can the mind then be said to reside solely in the brain? Critical and governing aspects that qualify you as a human being – such as consciousness and love – can not be prodded or scanned. Does this mean they do not have existence or validity? Demonstrably, there are interior and exterior realms of a nature that are not assayable by the tools and perspectives of Enlightenment-style methods.
Medical school textbooks remain narrowly based in the tidy, substantially unchanging principles of chemistry and biology. However, since the early twentieth century, quantum science has transformed the definition of all matter – from potatoes and plastics to people. Yes, matter has properties as described by Newtonian laws. But it also has the quirky, relative properties of energy, which can defy those. Einstein’s E=mc² means that energy is simply fast moving matter. And matter is a slow, condensed form of energy that just appears to be solid. To only apply the early findings of science to the world around us is to ignore half the facts. Yet in mainstream health circles, anything which is not verified by the old core of science gets ignored – despite its professed tenets of observation, experimentation, and suspension of judgement.
Persuasion of Big Money
Large scale studies require big money and investors such as pharmaceutical companies understandably want profits at the end. Only by achieving a patent is this likely to be ensured and only artificial substances can be patented. So even though Omega 3 fish oil can ‘thin the blood’ and lower cardiovascular and diabetes risks at least as efficiently as aspirin (while also helping bones, joints, skin, mood, mental function, and lowering inflammation linked with most disease) and without weakening the stomach lining as aspirin does, guess which one reps tell GPs to promote?
Until studies are accomplished, doing your own interpretation of long term, large scale correlates is ridiculed with one of science’s sneers as ‘anecdotal’. This stance rightly censors poorly reasoned, unsubstantiated ideas. However over the centuries – like an empire that cannot imagine it could ever be surpassed – this has lead to a mentality that if something has not been confirmed by science then it probably does not exist at all. Modern science can be as dismissive and dogmatic as the feudal Church from which it once broke free. Its branches so specialised, it can be lost in a forest it no longer observes.
Since medicine has no technologies for them, there is a tendency to view those hard to isolate immaterial aspects of being – related to your thoughts, emotions, motivations, conditionings, and deeper sensings – as not relevant, even though they determine your actions and thus your consequences. Hence most doctors do not ask about your lifestyle, family and work issues, or anything much beyond what a blood test in a sterile container can determine. The equivalent of GP robots are being designed to streamline a process that many see as already mechanistic.
Different Tools For Different Jobs
Modern health science is exceptionally adept when it comes to crisis management. If you need a skin graft, a bone set, care immediately after a heart attack, raging infection, or car accident, their skill sets are exemplary. However if your problems are of a chronic nature – high blood pressure or cholesterol, arthritis, asthma, eczema, fatigue, weight gain, digestive or hormonal problems – they still rely on the same arsenal of medications and surgery.
These mechanisms are equivalent to a major military assault. They are completely appropriate when your life is threatened in crisis. But for chronic conditions they suppress symptoms without addressing cause. They encourage a sickening list of side effects that can lead to new disorders and then more medications for those! Such an approach is like ordering an armoured tank division over a neighbour with a loud stereo (however attractive this image might be) – an extreme response which will create more problems than it solves.
Interestingly, medical training, hierarchy and jargon mirror that of the military. Choice of language reveals the essential perceptual lens. As the Bible states, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth so speaketh”. Medicos speak of the “fight against cancer” and other diseases, rather than a focus on exploring cause and establishing balance and health. The body is attacked as if it was an enemy, rather than being enlisted and supported. There is a unique constellation of factors in play for each particular client that needs to be discussed, analysed and interpreted. This requires a larger tool box with a sizeable array of components: tailored advice about diet, exercise, supplements, sleep, work and domestic habits. Such a treatment style contributes a wide range of side benefits instead of side effects. This is in glaring contrast to dispensing one or more drugs after the average 12 minute consultation with a time-rushed GP.
This does not make modern science or medicine the enemy. The perspective which insists on finding an enemy to blame and destroy is the real culprit. Focus instead should be on what creates health and what creates disease. To solve such puzzles requires both reasoned objectivity and discerning subjectivity to find the best path through the maze.