The reality of endarkenment

We are told that when our civilisation emerged from the chaos of the so called  dark ages, it embarked on what became known as the age of enlightenment.

During this time, from the 17th Century onwards really, the trend was away from superstition and tyranny and towards  rationality, philosophy  and the beginnings of proper scientific thinking. There were great leaps forward in all aspects of  arts and sciences. The ideas of  one scientist in particular resonate with us still today. That is Sir Isaac Newton.

 Sir Isaac Newton

It was during this time that Isaac Newton wrote his famous work.  philosopiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, laid the foundations for most of classical mechanics.  In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. The great rational breakthrough was his concept of the natural laws. He felt that  the workings of the universe were predictable and constant. The world was like a machine. If we did not understand the results, it was because we did not yet  understand all the processes. Everything, in the end, would be explainable. This was explosive, groundbreaking but enlightening, stuff.

Endarkenment

Having reigned almost supreme for at least three centuries science now feels under attack. Some scientists feel that the principles of rationality and scientific proof are now under threat. The feeling is that the beliefs of the new age thinkers, such as those that I have been discussing for the last 18 months, are threatening this enlightenment. In moving away from the absolute proofs of science, from the Newtonian notion of the universe as a predictable machine, we are turning the clock back into the superstitions of the dark ages. We are moving into the age, not of enlightenment, but into endarkenment.

Are we endarkening?

There are several points to consider;

  • High science, in the form of quantum mechanics, is itself threatening the Newtonian scientific model. Fundamental particles at the quantum level are fundamentally uncertain in their behavior. Everything is made from these fundamental particles. This is scientific fact not superstition.
  • The belief in many alternative healing systems, like homeopathy and acupuncture, which have empirically, if not scientifically, been seen to be effective are considered to be a step back into the dark ages. However, possible scientific explanations for their working are beginning to be looked at. They would not have been used so extensively for so long in our culture if they were only “witchcraft”. The science may be there, just not understood yet. Pursuing this should be seen as a step to further enlightenment, not endarkenment.
  • Perhaps we are ready for another great leap forward as a race. It may be that we are mistaken in some scientific principles and that the total big picture of our existence may be not what we think it is. Limiting our thinking,  automatically dismissing anything not provable by current science, may be a fundamental error.

Some people will always fear change, transitions in thinking are always difficult. Indiscipline and chaos are always to be avoided. People are scared of losing certainty.Yet there are so many clues that there is a bigger picture to our existence, not yet provable by science, that should not be dismissed out of hand as mere superstition. It may be that future generations will think of now as the dark ages!

What do you think?

Marian

 

 

 

 

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