An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

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Andreas Freund is a retired, internationally recognized physicist, who wrote several hundred specific papers in neutron and x-ray science, looking at the invisible structure of condensed matter at the atomic scale to understand how microscopic processes influence macroscopic properties of materials. He is Yoga teacher for more than a decade and has a Yoga school in Bordeaux with his wife Jahnavi.

Who defines
the question?

Reply to the Lanes, Astin and Visser

Andreas Freund

If Wilber says that love is at the origin of evolution, I would accept this without any problem.

I am a physicist by education working in the field of crystallography (including structural biocrystallography) using x-ray and neutrons to "see the invisible". This also includes quantum physics.

Let me make some comments on your exchange with Astin and the corresponding article by the Lanes.

Modern physics, as you may know, has shown that there is no indepence between the observer and the object observed. Because science was created and is being created by the human being, there is no way of avoiding metaphysical elements in physics. This has been proven and can be documented by many stories and events in the history of science. I can give interesting examples if you like.

To know more about quantum physics, there is an excellent book, easy to read (but finally not so easy to fully understand): Anton Zeilinger (2010): Dance of the Photons: From Einstein to Teleportation (Ed. Farrar, Straus, Giroux).

Then the essential question is: what is "Science"?

In German the word "Wissenschaft" (Science) litterally means: "what our vision creates". We see reality not as it is, but as we are (Anaïs Nin, poet). As I would express it: "Wissenschaft ist eine Erkenntnisform, die mit Wissen schafft, was die Erkenntnis formt". I could continue with citations from others, but let us come back to the question about the definition of science. If it contains metaphysical elements, we have to take these elements into account by adding the scientist and the question of "WHO" to the questions "WHAT" and "HOW". (It is already widely accepted that the question "WHY" cannot be answered by science).

Who defines the question, who selects background information, who designs the experiment and under which boundary conditions, who analyses and interprets the results and draws the conclusions? Finally, who gets together to establish, often by consensus, what is right and what is wrong? Modern physics teaches us that this question, still often ignored, has to be included. The illusion of "objective science", even if the frames are accurately set, must be transcended. It is the physics itself that comes to this conclusion!

Chaos and randomness (which are not all the same thing) are human inventions, simplifying mathematical schemes overlaid on observations to explain or rather to adapt nature in a reducing fashion in order to grasp its properties and to make predictions. But nature never can be imprisoned in such patterns. It can be neither nor or both chaos and randomness.

The choice or intention made at the moment of observation defines what kind of answer nature in turn will choose to give us. Any answer is pre-conditioned: "Once I get the answer I know the question I have asked" in terms of what was my starting point when I asked the question". We always get information about ourselves when we get an answer. "Mon regard change en regardant", I would say (sounds nice in French).

If Wilber says that love is at the origin of evolution, I would accept this without any problem. If somebody objects that this statement is non-scientific, I would say: get out of your belief that there is no place for love in science and try to formulate your questions to nature on a more expanded scheme. Be more imaginative and try to see science not just as a search engine for understanding the functioning of nature, but as an integral and unseparable component of the deep and loving wish to take part in the creation of our reality and to experience truth implying the whole of your being. Like an artist who perfections playing techniques to express the beauty of a composition. Is Aristotle's "WOW" non-scientific?

I am puzzled to see that this fight of evolutionism against creationism is still going on. We know that is always room for "one and the other" instead of "one or the other" if we are willing to set aside our ego. If you ask the question to nature: is the electron a particle with a certain mass or is it a wave without mass showing interference phenomena? Nature kindly replies: "As you like, my dear, choose your experiment". And it can be both, depending on how you set up the experiment.

If I imagine God looking at these excited debates, I would see a smile appearing on his face: "My dear children, don't you have more important and enjoyable things to do? Why do you fear that you could be wrong and tend to proove that the other is wrong? Is my existence or non-existence really that important and if yes, don't you have learned from the past that this leads to war and misery?" If there is no such God, we can ask these questions ourselves and decide about the answer.

Andreas Freund, PhD
92, rue Abbé de l'Epée
33000 Bordeaux, France

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