The birth of western science was also the birth of a freer kind of human thinking. Galileo was a pioneer fighting for the freedom to think about reality in a way that respected no other authority but respected only the truth as he saw it. He stood for the inviolable right of the scientist to follow one’s own conscience, free from outside pressure. This fresh, young scientific paradigm represented by Galileo became mature over the next couple of centuries. It became well-established and institutionalized, and now has become entrenched and very powerful. Now the free spirits in science are again having a hard time. Of course, it’s not the church which threatens freedom of thought in science, it is institutionalized science itself which stifles individual freedom and creativity. Most Americans today believe that a scientist is free to pursue the truth as she or he sees it, free from any influence whatsoever. This is sadly not the case.
History is repeating itself. Corruption, immorality and tyranny that fueled the Reformation in the 16th century are now happening in institutionalized and commercialized science and medicine. These are symptoms of a terminal illness in a paradigm that has already made its greatest contributions to the evolution of humanity, and is now too old and inflexible to adapt to the changing consciousness of the 21st century. When a paradigm dies, all of its gifts which have stood the test of time are honored, taken up and given fresh new life by the infant paradigm which succeeds it, just as in successive generations of human beings. Paradigm shifts are deaths and births that are part of a greater evolution.
We are at a crossroads and the forces of change are moving in two opposing and irreconcilable directions. We have a choice between actively working for the birth of a more human centered paradigm, or standing by while the present dying paradigm in biology and medicine further expands its world domination. Today’s institutionalized and commercialized biology and medicine will apply its knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of physical reality to create a mega-technology with ever increasing power over the forces of Nature, both in the environment and in the human being. Science will develop the 200 or so vaccines now in the pipeline and will also increasingly develop and apply genetic engineering, gene therapy, cloning and a host of other things. It’s often said that you can’t stop progress, you can’t put the Genie back in the bottle. That’s true. it would be going backwards in human evolution to try to put the Genie back in the bottle. But the real point is, we need to have the awakened moral discernment to reexamine our concept of progress and to understand just what kind of Genie we are dealing with and we need to learn to master that Genie and not be its slave.
A new more human-centered paradigm will be based on an ecological consciousness, on a realization that we humans are intimately interconnected with and inter-dependent with all of creation.
The basic assumption and attitude of the new paradigm will be that we must humbly respect and learn Nature’s ways in order to live in harmony with her, in order for the human spirit to survive.
I am reminded of some lines by the poetplaywright, Christopher Fry, from his play, A Sleep of Prisoners the title alone describes our modern consciousness very well:
“Thank God our time is now when wrong comes up to face us everywhere, never to leave us until we take the longest stride of soul we ever took.”
If humanity is to evolve in the direction of greater health and freedom, then our new paradigm must be one that puts the human spirit at the center of medicine and of science.
Philip lncao, M.D. is an Anthrosophic doctor who is practicing in Crestone, Colorado. Athroposophy embraces the whole person, body, mind, spirit, nutrition, environment, even color. Pale colors are calming and reds are stimulating.