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Can Science Liberate Our Mind After All?


Guest articles > Can Science Liberate Our Mind After All?


by: Joss Lace


Since the birth of modern science in the seventeenth century, man has been constantly inventing and using an array of ingenious instruments, from the telescope to the electron microscope, to seek to find better understandings of not only the workings of the world around him, but also insights into himself. As the ancient Egyptian temple inscription states: ‘Man, know thyself... and thou shalt know the gods.’

It seems to me though that in recent years people have become disillusioned with science generally. Whilst science has been the driving force behind technological advances that have provided us with an array of amazing devices to entertain ourselves and to make our lives more comfortable, I can’t escape the feeling that science today, in particular the prevailing mechanistic (or reductionist) approach, is leaving us feeling somewhat cold. Is there an illuminated hope-filled world of real meaning at the end of science’s imperious journey? The world-renowned English physicist Paul Davies succinctly summed up the deficiencies of mechanistic science in a 1991 article entitled ‘Living in a non-material world—the new scientific consciousness’ (The Australian, 9 Oct. 1991) when he said:-

‘For 300 years science has been dominated by extremely mechanistic thinking. According to this view of the world all physical systems are regarded as basically machines…I have little doubt that much of the alienation and demoralization that people feel in our so-called scientific age stems from the bleak sterility of mechanistic thought.’

The alternative to the dominant mechanistic scientific approach is teleology, which is defined as ‘the belief that purpose and design are a part of nature’ (Macquarie Dict. 3rd edn, 1998). The intrinsic nature of teleological science is a holistic one, to look at the overall picture, rather than focusing in on the minute details of a particular subject. It subscribes to the theory that there is a tendency for goal-directed change in nature, rather than randomness. This quote from Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of analytical psychology, sums up this tendency towards order:- ‘In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.’

When we take an objective look at the overall picture of the state of the world today, we can see that there are many seemingly insoluble problems that need addressing. The list is endless, and a quick scan of CNN International Edition’s news headlines will confirm how critical the situation is. How do we possibly make sense of the world’s problems and also find a way through them? Does science have a role to play in the solution?

In the research that I have done into the latest teleological scientific publications, there are I believe three key findings:-

  1. The problems we face as a species are man-made;
  2. These problems are psychological in nature and stem from a deep insecurity about our self-worth;
  3. There is a direct relationship between the psychological state of the individual (the micro) and the psychological state of mankind (the macro).


To my way of thinking, these three findings add up to a big positive, because it means that if science can explain and thus eliminate the underlying psychological insecurities in the individual, it can ultimately go on to solve the critical problems facing humanity! This quote, another from Carl Jung, reinforces the need to look at our underlying psychological condition:-

‘Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.’

I feel that science is on the verge of waking us up! Science will be fulfilling its role as the ultimate liberator of humanity, by providing the ultimate knowledge – knowledge about our fundamental self-worth. Science can bring about peace on earth, as this ancient Egyptian proverb so beautifully pronounces:-

‘For knowledge ... you should know that peace is an indispensable condition of getting it.’

Author Bio: Joss is a writer who is passionate about changing the world – starting with changing the issue of self. She recently read a write up about Jeremy Griffith who is a biologist addressing the deeper issue of our human condition and has written an interesting essay titled What is Science? which has certainly got her thinking!

Contributor: Joss Lacey

Published here on: 10-Jun-12

Classification: Psychology


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