Our present day common worldview is aging. It springs from the Enlightenment, some 350 years ago, with Descartes’ assumption of the division of mind and matter at its core. From these ideas Newtonian physics developed and many more of the cornerstones of Western society. The Cartesian/Newtonian worldview has become self-evident, causing us to forget it is ultimately based on a set of assumptions, not facts. For over a century, it is being challenged by findings in fundamental physics pointing at aspects of reality yet to be recognized in mainstream awareness. The subject is highly academic, to say the least, accessible only to those who are well proficient in physics and the philosophy of science. What we need is a sufficient language in which to speak of these findings.
The way we understand the world we live in is changing. Our traditional understanding is being challenged by developments in physics, including quantum mechanics, and our inability to explain certain complex phenomena such as consciousness. In this book, scholars from a variety of backgrounds discuss how our understanding of our world is expanding to include such phenomena.
‘The Universe, Life and Everything’ is a book about the way we view the world. It is about the way we understand reality: the world we live in, our place in it and the universe around us.
The way we view our world is changing. There is a perceivable shift in the way people (both scientists and non-scientists) think about it. Furthermore, this is a necessary and timely shift. Our modern understanding of reality dates back to the work of Descartes, Newton and their contemporaries, some 350 years ago. It is the backbone of modern-day, Western society and it has been a manifestly successful way to understand the world around us, bringing us science, industry and the Enlightenment, leading to spectacular increases in wealth worldwide, allowing culture and society to flourish. However, there are areas where our current scientific world view falters. There are phenomena that it cannot explain, as we will see further on.
The premise of this book is that there is a shift occurring in the way we understand reality, precisely because our current world view is reaching its limits. People are beginning to understand the world and themselves as interconnected, rather than as individual entities bound together only by cause and effect.
The goal of this book is to sketch a picture of what this new, connected world view might look like.