In previous blog posts I made the case that science needs to proceed to the next paradigm shift, despite resistance from defenders of current beliefs, many of which are outdated and hold back true scientific progress. Science, being the central pillar of intellectual and technological components of modern societies, must lead the changes. This is crucial if humanity is to proceed to the next stage of its evolution.
Some may wonder why I emphasize changes. Will they not occur anyway with the passage of time? And why now?
The Time Is Now
We are witnessing an era of unprecedented changes in human welfare, the global economy, and the environment. We are in the midst of rapid evolution in everything around us, an evolution that often seems uncontrolled even though a lot of it is being driven by us.
There are forces in the world that are pulling apart everything that was stable in the past or was slowly evolving. This includes beliefs, societal structures, ways of living, even the environment around us. We have unleashed forces driven by our technology, by our very ways of living, that place stress on the environment, on our societies, an on us as individuals. Things are now to the point where we are not only causing the extinction of countless species but may even eventually cause our own. It is now time for humanity to utilize all means in our power, to step back and see where we are going. There is no better time than now. Tomorrow may be too late.
It seems that humans feel challenged by fast changes. Most of us like to keep things as they are even when that may lead to disaster down the road. Our ways of living are not sustainable. I submit to you that deep inside, even those who cast doubt that climate change is happening, who doubt that modern societies face serious problems, that the economic systems face great instabilities, that we collectively face a crisis of morality, know that something is just not right. If everything is rosy, then why are we living in such unstable times, with changes that seem to be uncontrollable? Maybe it is time to embrace change rather than push it away, time to guide change to the next stage of rightful evolution of the species and the planet that sustains us.
We need to embrace change, embrace the unknown, but always be ready and alert to see where the changes are taking us. We need to decide what needs to be done and adapt to the new situations that arise. This will not happen in isolation; it will not happen if all the stakeholders pursue separate paths or narrow interests. Groups and governments of humanity try desperately to hold to the sand flowing through our fingers, the sand of our own self-centered view of life and ways of living.
Change Cannot Occur Without Dialogue
Our old ways of strife, strife against our fellow human beings, against nature and the environment, against what we know deep inside to be true, will not yield anything except the likely outcome of global disaster. We are not isolated tribes anymore. Everything humanity does matters to the whole of existence on this planet. The Earth is too small, a mere speck of dust in the infinite expanse of space and time, yet it is our only home as we wander through the universe.
Science has provided so many advances and ways that we understand the universe, ways to make our external lives better and use the life that sustains us. As we move forward, we realize that what used to be the focus of philosophy alone, deep questions of existence, can now be approached by science. But science by nature is blind to ethical issues, the ethos of what is and should be the right living. Right living not just for ourselves as individuals but for everything and everyone around us that sustains us. The centerpiece of moving forward as we embrace change also lies in true and honest dialogues. And it starts in the true and open dialogue between science and spirituality, between the best in rational thought with the best in the human experience and spirit.
The dialogue is crucial. And in carrying out the dialogue, we will realize that what binds everything together and allows these diverse ways of thinking and living is the underlying consciousness of all. It is the foundation of both science and spirituality, of science and philosophy, of science and religion, of thought and ethos.
in future blog posts I hope to develop this view and how it applies at every level, including our personal lives. For us, as individuals and collectively, as citizens of the world, as curators of life on Earth, the message is simple: Embrace change, enable dialogue.
Menas C. Kafatos, is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics, at Chapman University. He is a quantum physicist, cosmologist, and climate change researcher and works extensively on consciousness. His doctoral thesis advisor was famous M.I.T. professor Philip Morrison, who studied under J. Robert Oppenheimer. He has authored more than 275 articles, is the author or editor of 14 books, including The Conscious Universe (Springer) with Robert Nadeau, and is the co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book Who Made God and Other Cosmic Riddles (Harmony). He acknowledges valuable input by Lefteris Kafatos.