NSL Blog

From a mechanistic to a natural philosophy of science

November 3, 2013

Rupert Sheldrake takes us on a journey to stand in a different place and look at science from a natural perspective rather than a mechanistic one. Whether we think about science, management, organisational design. Our machine age: Newtonian and deterministic has permeated all aspects of our daily living lives. Sheldrake represents a broader philosophical evolution of reappraising how we see our world, universe and cosmology. Joining up the dots, Edgar Mitchell’s observation. ‘we are all stardust’, makes the point beautifully.

Edgar Mitchell, scientist, astronaut and lunar pilot from the first lunar landing, experienced a transcendental moment called the overview effect when up in space as he watched the sun, the moon and the curvature of the earth at the same time. He wanted to understand it better, more deeply. Retuning to earth, Mitchell sought out literature that might explain what was to him profound, life changing, even sacred. He found an explanation, neither in modern religious or scientific texts but in ancient literature. The term used was salva corpus amanti, this is Mitchell’s interpretation of this phrase,

 You see things as you see them with your eyes but you experience them emotionally and viscerally as it was ecstasy and a sense of total unity and oneness. The molecules in my body and the molecules in my partner’s bodies, and in the spacecraft had been prototyped in some ancient generation’s stars. In other words, it was pretty obvious… we’re all stardust.

There are significant implications on how our society, and economies evolve if we see the world as a highly connected, dynamic organism.

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