Reason and experience are the generally accepted means to gain reliable knowledge. Objective principles of the scientific method that applies these means are first summarized. Then, its successes are briefly overviewed, as well as limitations revealed by its successes. For example, the principle of subject/object independence core to the scientific method is no longer adequate. Particle entanglement, nonlocality, and the observer’s influence on measurement reveal deeper interdependence (and unified field theory would mean even universal interdependence). Further, limitations in mathematical logic (reason) and ordinary sensory perception (experience) as the scientific method has been practiced are now evident. With just a little deeper reflection, both reason and experience are recognized to be subjective mental processes. This points to the possibility of deeper levels of reason and direct empirical experience in the mind that can unify objective matter, energy, and information with subjective intelligence, mind, and consciousness.
progress in modern physics in the past century to more abstract, holistic theories extend the known range of nature – classical, quantum, quantum field, to unified field theories. Mind and consciousness are now also being examined – which is needed to include the full range. This paper introduces a completely holistic ancient model, with some detail on how contemporary models can map onto it to include the full range of nature. We ‘ll start with the simple ‘ocean/wave’ analogy to help clarify what a completely holistic account means. It also can help, as we proceed, with an intuitive sense of abstract quantum theories difficult to grasp even for many scientists.
The means we use to gain knowledge have far-reaching practical consequences for our life. The pre-eminent means is the objective scientific method, which has yielded a massive body of reliable knowledge and rigorous standards of validation, getting us out from under many past shadows of superstition by the light of science. It has strengthened our belief in nature’s order, and our great fortune to witness its ever-expanding display in the vast and extraordinary universe.
Importantly, however, its laudable successes also are now revealing its fundamental limitations. Practicing the objective scientific method, our understanding and experience have remained separate and isolated from the natural world (subject/object independence). This has become so engrained in our everyday life that the underlying unity of nature and its practical value have been almost completely overlooked. It is increasingly evident that the knowledge gained so far by practicing this method has left our lives fragmented, devoid of fundamental meaning, anxiety-prone, and unfulfilled. Even the most successful theories – relativity, quantum, evolutionary theories – contribute to widespread views and lifestyles of groundless relativism, uncertainty and indeterminism, fundamental randomness, and meaninglessness.
Much further, things have gotten so far out of hand in applying modern scientific technology that existential risks to life on Earth are immediately at hand: chemical and electromagnetic pollution of our external and internal environments; nuclear, bio, and cyber weaponry; post-humanist genetic reengineering of our natural genetic inheritance; and uncontrollable AI robots. ‘Hard science’ has contributed to many practical solutions but has led to even harder, more dangerous problems. The situation is quite unhealthy and too intrusive, threatening, and obvious to be ignored. To get to the heart of the issue, the knowledge we want most still eludes us: practical knowledge that alleviates suffering and creates a safe, healthy, deeply fulfilling life experience. Modern science has not gotten us there; applying it, we’ve gotten ourselves into existential crises. It’s imminent cause for a deep pause – to get to what we’ve overlooked in ourselves and our precious home of planet Earth.