Category Archives: Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom

One of the bi-products of modernity and the notion of constant progress that is part of it’s world view is that Traditional ideas have been discarded for the new. In the Modern world view, reductive science is the measuring stick by which we make sense of the world – we know and we believe because we can measure and experiment. If we can’t measure and verify under controlled conditions we reject. The unintended consequence of making sense of the world this way is that we exclude anything that we can’t objectively measure and quantify – anything subjective is invalid. The consequence is that we have a medical system that rejects the role of thoughts and emotions on health because they can’t be measured excluded. Any talk of an energy system that can’t be measured is rejected. The end result is we treat what we can measure and that is the external manifestation of disease – the symptoms. The “hidden” causes of the disease remain untreated. In the economic world the consequence is that we have the free-market system that externalises costs. The present result of this is that we have built ourselves an unsustainable economic model.

This section looks to reclaim ancient wisdom and when it is “rediscovered” to point out its “original” source. Part of this process is to point out how the latest scientific discoveries are validating ancient wisdom. My view is that we will eventually rediscover Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine because they are more accurate models of how the world works than reductive science. In modern science speak they are complex adaptive systems models.

Bad news – 20 reasons why Depression 2 is just around the Corner – Good News from Carlota Parez is that it is part of a cycle which ends in a “golden age”

If you think we are going to escape another great depression I suggest you take a read of  Paul Farrell’s article at Market Watch titled “20 Reasons Global Debt Bomb explodes soon -which trigger will ignite Great Depression 11”

Yes, 20. And yes, any one can destroy your retirement because all 20 are inexorably linked, a house-of-cards, a circular firing squad destined to self-destruct, triggering the third great Wall Street meltdown of the 21st century, igniting the Great Depression II that George W. Bush, Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulson and now President Obama have simply delayed with their endless knee-jerk, debt-laden wars, stimulus bonanzas and bailouts.

So how do we make sense of this and what can we hope for after the meltdown?

One of the best pieces of analysis I have seen – and without a doubt the most positive – comes from Carlota Parez – Author of  Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and the Golden Age.

She has seen this all before – the financialisation of the economy, asset price inflation bubbles fuelled by speculative debt and ultimate crash – not once but 4 times since 1770. In her opinion we are half way through a 5th cycle that is following the same dynamics as the previous four cycles.

If she is right – and we have sufficient energy and an ecosystem to support us – we should emerge from this in what she calls a “golden age” of wealth redistribution off the fruits of the infrastructure investments made since 1971.

But we need the crash first and we will need to see re-regulation of finance and the end of the belief that the value of the stock market equates to economic growth. And by the by – for all of us in Australia who still believe that house prices will continue to go up for ever – and its somehow different here – she predicts that house prices will once again become affordable.

Apart from her though leadership interview, there is an excellent slide presentation of her ideas of the golden future of growth after the crisis at slideshare .

You can also listen to an mp3’s of her talks and videos – there are links to these at her website

Carlota Perez: The Thought Leader Interview

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Filed under Economics, Evolution, Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom, Technology, Uncategorized

The “delusion” of scientific research

Have you noticed how often we see one story about science proving something just to have another story a few months later proving the opposite? What is going on? 

 

The big myth is that science produces accurate results – recent research by John  Ioannidis titled “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” has demonstrated that the majority of scientific findings are wrong.

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“Old wives tales” developed and persisted because they had practical benefits over time, Dismiss them at your peril.

Then there is the myth of “scientific discovery”. How often do we hear the words “scientists discovered …..”

 

And in most cases this is as accurate as saying Columbus discovered America. What about the people who were living in America when he arrived there. 

 

Science is usually a follower rather than as discoverer

What most people have forgotten is that science is more of a process of trying to find out how existing processes work than discovering new processes. More often than not, science follows technology rather than the other way around.

Take for example the invention of the steam engine by James Watt. If James had believed in the science of the day it would never have been built and we would still be stuck in the dark ages. According to the laws of physics at that time his invention couldn’t work. But clearly it did. And that lead to the rewriting of the laws of thermodynamics by Carnot. 

We don’t say Carnot discovered the steam engine we say Watt’s did. So what has happened to our society that we now so often fall into the trap of crediting scientists for discovering something that already exists? Clearly the media has a role in this. The headline “science discovers ….” is likely to gain more attention than “scientists who were examining the existing phenomenon of X think that they have a way of understanding how it works. However this is only provisional and someone else may come up with a better approximation in the future”.

But it is more than the media. For we are now allowing people and businesses to patent nature.

This makes me so angry that I fantasise about teaching the limited world view that facilitates this process a lesson. My fantasy involves mirroring the process that is currently used to patent nature –   I research breathing and then patent it or some aspect of it. That way, everyone in the world would have to pay me for every breath they take. In my fantasy this would be unacceptable to the masses and it would lead to the recognition of the delusion and danger of the current system and its abolition.

It is impossible for science to be totally objective because it is performed by subjects

Many scientists and people believe that science is an absolute process – a study of “reality”. But exactly who is studying the reality and what are they using? People are doing the studying using their minds, their consciousness. They are using their cognition and this is subject to many different biases.

For example, David Sackett (1) identified 7 areas where experimental bias can occur and he documented 56 different possible types of bias in these areas.

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Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom to save the human race

One of the by-products of modernity and the notion of constant progress is that Traditional ideas have been discarded for the new. In the Modern world view, reductive science is the measuring stick by which we make sense of the world – we know and we believe because we can measure and experiment. If we can’t measure and verify under controlled conditions we reject. 

 

The unintended consequence of making sense of the world this way is that we exclude anything that we can’t objectively measure and quantify – anything subjective is invalid. 

 

In the medical world the consequence is that we have a medical system that rejects the role of thoughts and emotions on health because they can’t be measured. Any talk of an energy system that can’t be measured is rejected. The end result is we treat what we can measure and that is the external manifestation of disease – the symptoms. The “hidden” causes of the disease remain untreated.

 

 In the economic world the consequence is that we have the free-market system that externalises costs. The present result of this world view is that we have built ourselves an unsustainable economic model. We are destroying our ecological support base and claiming that this model is a success story that the rest of the world should embrace. For example, global commercial fish stocks are projected to be zero by 2050. We are loosing ecosystem services from forests at the rate of $2-$5T p.a. and rising – this is two to three times the size of the projected losses of the current economic meltdown.

Who are we to look to for leadership to extricate ourselves from the mess we are in? The leaders of this world – politicians and business people – are locked into a view of the world that rewards them for short term “profits”. The “rules” of the system reward behaviours that deliver short term “benefits” at the cost of the destruction of the asset base that delivers them.

Clearly we need a new way to look at the world if we are to come out of this one alive as a species. This means that we have to reconsider our place in the world and how it works. Reductionism has failed as a model.  We need models that include the complexity and the interconnectedness of the planet and the whole universe. We need models that place humans in the larger system of Nature, as part of the system and dependant on it for survival. We need models that take into account the long term.

 

Our health and the health of our planet are at stake. My opinion is that the roots of our new human health problems and the health of the planet are connected. We will be unable to heal the planet if we cannot heal ourselves. We need to find a way to live in harmony with our own individual natures as well as with larger Nature.

 

 Our major diseases in the western world are now self created “chronic diseases” – the product of living a lifestyle and eating food that our bodies were not evolved to cope with. We are suffering from an intelligence failure. We do not understand our own natures and how we work. As a result we don’t know how to live in harmony with ourselves.

 

In my opinion there are existing models of the universe, the world and life that can help us understand ourselves and the world and live in harmony with it. These are the models of Yoga, Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and the like. However most of these models have been discarded  by modernity because of their antiquity and their lack of scientific validation. Famous scientists like Richard Dawkins have written them off as Mumbo Jumbo. Yet Richard Dawkins is wrong. His blind faith in the validity of scientific research as indisputable truth is not born out by John Ioannisis’s work that has demonstrated that most published research findings are false.

 

As it turns out subjects like evolutionary biology and genetics are changing the way that scientists think. It is no longer a case of Nature vs Nurture. It is now Nature via Nurture. These scientists are rediscovering the principles of Yoga, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine (and even Jyotish) without knowing it.

 

One of my interests is to facilitate the reclamation of ancient wisdom for the good of all species.

 

Every day on the internet I see stories about new discoveries that are really only rediscoveries of the principles of Yoga, Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Most of the time these stories make no reference to these traditional systems as the source of their inspiration.

 

The result of this failure to connect scientifically validated rediscovery with ancient wisdom is that we take longer to join the dots. 

 

My view is that we will eventually rediscover Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine because they are more accurate models of how the world works than reductive science. In modern science speak they are complex adaptive systems models.

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Filed under Ayurveda, Economics, Raising Health, Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom, Sustainability