Already with Galileo, modern science was pursuing a resolve
to ignore the qualitative aspects of the world. Carried
forward (and even strengthened) into our own day, this resolve
has resulted in a science well adapted to the machine-like
aspects of the world. But it is not at all adequate to the
active becoming, the contextual relatedness, and the living
wholeness we discover in the world's phenomena.
Given that the central scientific enterprise has moved
so resolutely away from qualities, any attempt to explore
the terms of a new, qualitative science promises to be radicaland
not at all easy. At the same time, there really is no escape
from qualities; subtract all qualitative content from your
thoughts about things, and there will be no things left.
Try to imagine a tree without color or visible form, without
sound in a breeze, without the smell of sap and leaf, without
felt solidity, and the tree will have ceased betraying any
sign of its existence. If you are inclined to redeem the
situation with talk of molecules or subatomic particles,
try to characterize those without appealing to qualities!
So the qualities are there in science. It's just that they
go largely unacknowledged, and therefore their treatment
escapes the normal discipline and rigor associated with
science. The issues relating to their recovery are vast
and largely unexplored. The new, qualitative sciencewhich
means, a science more adequate to the world we actually
live inis young and untried. Virtually all the work
of The Nature Institute bears on this science in one way
or another. But here are some pointers of primary interest:
Seeing Nature Whole A Goethean
This research program, spearheaded by Nature Institute Director,
Holdrege, includes the "whole-organism studies"
for which he has become so well known. See, for example,
his studies of the sloth and
of the elephant.
See also our guide to the entire "Seeing
Nature Whole" program.
From Mechanism to a Science of
papers gathered here are the early representatives of
an ongoing project by Steve Talbott to offer a critique
of the foundations of conventional science, demonstrate
the necessity for a new, qualitative science, and show the
character of this new science. Articles available to date
"The Language of Nature"
"The Reduction Complex"
"Do Physical Laws Make Things Happen?"
Our online newsletter, NetFuture,
has a topical
index of many articles related to the critique of inappropriately
mechanistic thinking and the nature of a qualitative science.
Most centrally, look under these headings in the
and reductionist science
Many articles under the following headings will also be
A few articles inaccessible by the foregoing routes:
"From Two Cultures to One: On the Relation Between Science and
Art," by Vladislav Rozentuller and Steve Talbott, In Context
"A Way of Knowing as a Way of Healing," by Steve Talbott,
In Context #1.
"Seeing Things Right-side Up: The Implications of Kurt Goldstein's
Holism," by Craig Holdrege, In Context #2.
An Important Book
You will find on our website the full text of
"Being on Earth",
published in 2006 by two physicists (Georg Maier and Stephen Edelglass)
and a philosopher (Ronald Brady). This extremely valuable work explores
the epistemological, aesthetic, social, moral, and educational aspects
of a qualitative science -- that is, a science properly grounded in the
irreducibly participative relation between human being and world.
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