Discover more from Chronicles of Alkemix
Escaping the Subsensible Realm
Overcoming humanity's "descent beneath matter"
“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” ~ Werner Heisenberg
The modern scientific method is a reductionist approach that has developed into an inexorable non-acceptance of anything which cannot be weighed and measured, thus limiting our acceptance of ourselves. Of course, it has provided us great technology, and there is some great research and learning within, but all at what cost to our health and psyche? Look at how disconnected society is from Nature!
In the modern scientific paradigm, only the inertial properties of dense matter are accepted as real, the so-called “primary qualities.”
Anything in reality which offers experiences to our being - pleasure, delight or whatever - are considered as “secondary qualities,” mere vibrations (in nothing apparently) interpreted as though we are nothing more than mere computer-like brains in biological boxes with wires feeding vibrations in to create experience solely subjectively.
Reality isn’t really real, just ask a scientist. Though you may get a different response from the tax man.
Arthur Eddington, in his Nature of the Physical World, argues that modern science is limited by its own methodology. Science can only describe and measure physical phenomena observable and testable in the laboratory. Thereby science is unable to answer fundamental questions about the nature of reality that go beyond the physical realm.
Science cannot explain the subjective experience of consciousness, within which its “secondary qualities” arise, or the actual nature or substance of life itself. It assumes life and consciousness are mere epiphenomena of inert matter.
We got lucky.. yeah, right :)
Eddington, in Philosophy of Physical Science, states that “ideally, all our knowledge of the universe could have been reached by visual sensation alone - in fact by the simplest form of visual sensation, colourless and non-stereoscopic.”
Ernst Lehrs, in Man or Matter notes this expresses that “in order to obtain scientific cognition of the physical world, man has felt constrained to surrender the use of all his senses except the sense of sight, and to limit even the act of seeing to the use of a single, colourblind, eye.”
In other words, a meter-reading science. All accepted knowledge of the physical sciences can be gained from such.
“Out of everything that the world brings to the totality of our senses, there remains nothing more than mere movements, with certain changes of rate, direction, and so on. The picture of the world received by such an observer is a purely kinematic one. And this is, indeed, the character of the world-picture of modern physical science. For in the scientific treatment of natural phenomena all the qualities brought to us by our other senses, such as colour, tone, warmth, density and even electricity and magnetism, are reduced to mere movement-changes.” ~ Ernst Lehrs
Thus is defined the “onlooker consciousness” of the modern materialist.
Only the subsensible is accepted as valid scientifically - that which is beneath the senses. All direct sensory experience is subjective, not worthy of scientific acceptance, being “secondary qualities.”
Galileo Galilei, is mainly known for his astronomical discoveries of the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus (the later of which support the heliocentric perspective) through his improvements of the telescope. Galileo sold his knowledge of the telescope to the Venetian Senate as a military tool, which earned him the healthy stipend of 1000 florins (some sources say yearly) and the title “Mathematician and Philosopher to the Republic.”
Galileo's work and philosophy played a significant role in the formation of the Academia del Cimento, a scientific society established in Florence in 1657. Galileo’s approach to science was grounded in the idea that only measurable and reproducible phenomena can be studied and understood. This is the origin of the “only that which can be weighed and measured” diktat of reductionist science. The finer forces of nature are not allowed, simply because they cannot be measured by equipment.
Measurement defines not only physics & the physical sciences, but also the resultant worldview. Measurement quantifies, reduces things in principle to centimeters, grams, and seconds. Whatever is not reducible is “filtered out” by the modus operandi of the scientific process and is eventually demoted to the status of a mere “thing of the mind”. It is this scientismic denial of the non-measurable aspects of our experiential reality that in a way defines our culture & moreover engenders a dichotomy from nature.
A wholistic perspective is impossible in this regime.
Galileo wrote a book on ballistics Two New Sciences wherein he presented his research on the motion of objects, including cannonball trajectories - with range tables. This work was significant not only in the development of modern physics but also in the development of weaponry, both of which remain intertwined to our modern day.
The cannonballs of Galileo still underlie modern physics. At hadron colliders like CERN, there is ongoing the measurements of weeny cannonballs (protons) accelerated through space and smashed together (like little boys with their toys). Their destructive patterns when collided are believed by the reductionists to be the basis of the formation of our universe. Concomitantly, there is the little known or discussed weapons application side of that research. The most massive device ever built, just to “do science”? Umm, yeah, ok..
Black holes, those imaginary objects of the theoretical astrophysicists that don’t exist except in equations and the reductionist belief system, are, in effect, the metaphoric final landing places of Galileo’s cannonballs. Any new discoveries in space must be attributed to black holes, whose definition thereby continually changes whilst mathematicians scramble with their equations to keep up.
The end of the road of the materialistic sciences. It can only traverse into spiritually-vacant metaphysics from there, which it does in quantum philosophy with its mistaken connections to ancient mystical pathways, confusing the subsensible and supersensible realms.
The true foundations of reality are accessible through inner experience and intuition, rather than solely through external observation or empirical evidence. Materialistic science is limited in its ability to understand this true nature of reality, because it is based on the assumption that only the physical world is real. The physical world is only one aspect of a larger, multidimensional reality that includes spiritual beings and forces, which are experiential with proper knowledge and experience.
With this perspective, we see experiments involving quantum concepts like entanglement as providing only a limited, partial view of reality. While these experiments are interesting and valuable in their own way, they, by their very nature, cannot provide a complete understanding of the underlying spiritual principles that govern the behavior of material substances, especially in living systems.
Oh, but “science” is an open field, where evidence rules and that’s how progress is made. One of the fairy tales of scientism.
And that’s just scientists within their academic realm. There are pathways out.
Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy has some similarities to quantum theory. Both view world as a dynamic and interconnected process, emphasizing the role of relationality and indeterminacy in shaping our understanding of the world. Both perspectives view the world as composed of events or processes that are intimately connected and influence each other.
However, Whitehead's philosophy is primarily concerned with the ontological nature of reality, the nature of becoming in the world, while quantum theory is focused more on the mathematical description of physical phenomena as recorded in laboratory experiments.
While quantum theory focuses on subatomic particles and their interactions, Whitehead's process philosophy considers the entirety of the universe, including its macroscopic and human aspects, as essential to full comprehension of reality.
Whitehead’s teleology posits that the universe has a purpose, constantly evolving, emerging through the creative advance of “actual occasions,” which are the fundamental units of existence in his philosophy.
Whitehead believed that matter has a kind of proto-consciousness, which he called “prehension.” Prehension is the capacity of an actual occasion to take in or “prehend” aspects of other actual occasions that have come before it in the ongoing process of reality. Every “actual occasion” in the universe is characterized by its own unique prehensive activity, which allows it to incorporate and be influenced by the prehensions of other “actual occasions.”
Each “actual occasion” has two aspects: a physical aspect, which includes the material components of the occasion, and a mental or subjective aspect, which represents the occasion's experiences and feelings. The subjective aspect is what makes each actual occasion unique and gives rise to the creative potential of the universe.
Prehension is not the same as traditional human consciousness. Instead, consciousness emerges from the complex interplay of prehensive activity at higher levels of organization, such as in the human brain.
Whitehead doesn’t deal with which came first, consciousness or matter, to him they co-exist. The universe constantly evolves and transforms, bringing forth new forms of experience and novelty. This creative process is driven by the interaction between actual entities and their environment, which includes other actual entities, events, and the wider universe.
Whitehead was highly influenced by the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and he incorporated some of Goethe's ideas into his own philosophical framework. Whitehead believed that Goethe's approach to nature was in line with his own process philosophy, which saw the universe as a dynamic and evolving system of interconnected entities. He admired Goethe's attention to detail and his ability to see the whole in the parts, as well as his rejection of reductionism and mechanistic explanations of nature.
Whitehead viewed Goethe as an important precursor to his own philosophical ideas, seeing his works as a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding the fundamental nature of existence.
However, there is far more to Goethe’s work than can be seen through Whitehead’s unique, complex process philosophy. Whitehead remained an observer of his view of processes, not a conscious participant as can be gained through Goethe’s method of training observation and thought.
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy, saw that Goethe's approach to science provides significant advancements to the field. Goethe's work is a wholistic approach that considers the relationship between the observer and the observed, as well as the interconnectivity of all phenomena. Goethe's scientific approach is characterized by an aware openness to the dynamic processes of nature, rather than a reductionist, mechanical view of the world.
Steiner taught that Goethe's scientific approach leads to a more profound comprehension of nature and the development of a truly wholistic science, crucial for addressing the complex problems facing humanity.
The world of our senses, that which enriches our souls, is considered only a perfunctory adjunct to the “primary qualities” of matter as defined by materialistic science. We inherently know there is more to the “secondary qualities,” but how do we access such knowledge?
Future articles in this series will explore how to overcome these limits imposed by discursive reductionism, gaining insight into our higher purpose, while not rejecting the facts of the material world. We do this through learning of Goethe’s participatory process of science, wherein we require discursive knowledge of the processes of nature upon which to build higher modes of cognition through development of the intuition.
This journey leads into many astonishing threads of qualitative science which will be covered in subsequent articles on how to learn of and comprehend these ideas as integral stages in the development of consciousness. Many perspectives will be addressed. And perspective can be the greatest of teachers when one considers others beyond their present structure of consciousness, remaining always grounded in proper process.
“As scientific understanding has grown, so our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos, because he is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional ‘unconscious identity’ with natural phenomena. These have slowly lost their symbolic implications. Thunder is no longer the voice of an angry god, nor is lightning his avenging missile. No river contains a spirit, no tree is the life principle of a man, no snake the embodiment of wisdom, no mountain cave the home of a great demon. No voices now speak to man from stones, plants, and animals, nor does he speak to them believing they can hear. His contact with nature has gone, and with it has gone the profound emotional energy that this symbolic connection supplied.” ~ Carl G. Jung
Next article: Approaching the Supersensible - an introduction to the Goethean approach
Thanks for reading Alkemix! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.