I just finished reading this really good book by Willis Harman.
I wrote on Amazon my invite to read this book
For everyone who is working with sustainability and is trying out new, deep, participative forms of leadership in order to create together meaningful future scenarios, this book is a must. Also recommended for those fascinated by the emergence of the ‘new’ scientific paradigm (from Einstein and Bohr, onwards) with all the implications about the role of consciousness in the new science.
Willis Harman was an authentic futurist, in fact in his pages originally written in 1985 he hits the heart of the matter in so many key points of today’s civilization: the link between economic growth and environmental degradation, the perception of nature as a mere ‘resource’, the eroding sense of meaning that today’s societies are facing despite an apparent wealth of scientific knowledge. Lastly, it gives many good insights in the type of leadership that was emerging in the early 80ies (still very relevant today).
From page 101 on there is a nice dissertation about the old idea of causality in science. [Causality for beginners – If I let a drop of black ink fall on a white sheet of paper and one second after the sheet has changed its color I can say beyond doubt that A caused B. Simple, no? Well, not so simple]. The mechanistic worldview, on which modern science is grounded, has given us so many benefits and helped us so much in our exploration of nature and our capacity to predict and control events. But the implication was that a worldview rooted in the concept of causality and the aim to predict and control was in essence seeing the relationship with nature as an exploitative one.
So here a big question arises. How much do we owe to the old, carthesian, mechanistic worldview? How much of it is still relevant today, taking into account all its positive implications (it makes our life easier to know that water boils at 100 °C, that time on this planet can be counted in standardised ways, to know the table of elements, etc)?
And how much do we blame this worldview for the negative (say, unwanted?) side effects? Have our worldwide troubles happened because of such worldview? Despite it? Or it didn’t make any difference?
And here comes Harman to help:
“Perhaps the mistake of modern society has been to assume that, ultimately, reductionist ‘scientific’ causes should explain everything”. So for one thing this science has led us to believe that was all encompassing, able to “explain everything” but at the same time was leaving at the door values, consciousness, and a conversation around the implications of this worldview. The paradox is that this science has given us gret powers to manipulate nature, harm each other as a human species, and flip the balance of some key ecosystems thresholds on which we depend. So science (defined in this old, traditional sense) has continuously eroded the ground for values and the ‘spirit’ (human consciousness) leaving those who didn’t agree with this mechanistic worldview dispute with poets, the Church and the dreamers.
Small wonder there is a spiritual crisis and a value crisis today -in a time where the most fundamental problems are not about science but the values that will suggest where to direct our attention and efforts.
Well spotted some twenty years ago by Willis Harman. Who at the beginning of this great book wrote, looking into an issue extremely relevant today as well:
“If the world that science tells us about is reality, how does it happen that we don’t feel more at home in it?”
“No economic, political or military power can compare with the power of a change of mind” – Willis Harman #
Reading “Global Mind Change” by Willis Harman great link between the old and the new paradigm #