Posts Tagged ‘challenging the statusquo’

Quotes from famous thinkers on the nature of truth, its rejection, and acceptance over time

February 27, 2021

It seems to take a generation for scientific truths to be accepted as facts. Even in today’s political arena, science and its findings are either accepted or rejected depending on vested interests. Each group holds on to its version of the truth and is threatened by opposing views. Same thing occurs in the scientific realm.

What is it that turns the tables from non-truth to truth, from fiction to fact, from illusion to reality? Time, and the evolutionary growth of knowledge and understanding, which becomes the conventional wisdom.

This phenomenon is known as a paradigm shift, a concept identified by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn. It is a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline. Even though Kuhn restricted the use of the term to the natural sciences, the concept of a paradigm shift has also been used in numerous non-scientific contexts to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events. (Wikipedia)

Throughout the ages, now famous scientists and philosophers experienced this kind of repression during their lifetime. Since their findings could potentially shake up the status quo, challenge current authority, like the church, they were threatened, and their work was not allowed to see the light of day. Here are a few wise quotes about this unfortunate situation in the history of human thought.

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. — Galileo Galilei (1564–1642)

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. — Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. — Max Planck (1858-1947)

Two versions of understanding and living life by Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)

It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

See more here: Two kinds of knowledge about living and learning.

Understanding the physical universe with consciousness

When it comes to the unseen yet measurable influence of large group meditation on stressful societies, the same resistance shows up with many scientists not accepting this phenomenon, even when demonstrated by a growing series of scientific studies.

This all depends on their worldview, whether they see consciousness as the epiphenomenon of physiology, or the other way around, with consciousness being primary. Same with the natural extension of the different ways we can influence our surroundings.

In his comprehensive review of a new book, An Antidote to Stress: Evaluating the Evidence, by authors Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders, David Orme-Johnson, Ph.D., concludes his comments with a description of how knowledge progresses, challenging the current worldview, in this case, The Maharishi Effect, and its ability to reduce negative trends in society. He writes:

The Maharishi Effect is not everyone’s cup of tea, and this is how it should be. Science advances through a dialectic between conservative forces that try to hold on to the prevailing worldview, and evolutionary forces that try to expand knowledge to a more comprehensive framework that encompasses more of reality into a consistent picture, in this case integrating our understanding of the physical universe with consciousness.

Source: A thoughtful and well documented account of the greatest scientific discovery of our time.

Also related: Rainer Maria Rilke and Carl Jung on learning how to live with life’s unanswerable questions.


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