Unfolding the Enfolded...

Cosmos, Mind & Soul

The Emerging Worldview of a Living Cosmos

Intro

Rupert Sheldrake asserts that primarily in physics a world view of a living cosmos is emerging:

 

MECHANISTIC UNIVERSE

Machine
Inanimate
Purposeless
Inert Atoms
Earth Dead
Determinate
knowable
Disembodied Knowledge
Uncreative
Eternal Laws

LIVING COSMOS

Developing Organism
Fields
Attractors
Structures of Activity
Gaia
Indeterminate, Chaotic
Dark Matter
Participatory Knowing
Creative Evolution
Habits


Sheldrake's Explication


First of all, the idea of the cosmos as a machine has given way to the image of the cosmos as an organism.  The Big Bang theory, which has bee orthodox since around 1966, tells us that the Universe began small and has been growing ever since. As it grows, a succession of new structures and forms appears within it. This is nothing like any machine we know of.

The idea that Nature is inanimate has been replaced by the idea that Nature is organized by fields. Fields, like souls, are invisible organizing principles.

In area after area of science, the old idea of the soul as an invisible organizing principle has been replaced by the concept of field.

Souls motivated organisms by attraction....This kind of motivation by attraction was dismissed from science in the seventeenth century.   It has recently been smuggled back in through the concept of attractors. These are central to the modern science of dynamics....

The idea that Earth is dead is giving way to the Gaia hypothesis. Gaia is the Greek name for Mother Earth.

The doctrine that everything is determinate, in principle totally predictable, suffered a blow with the development of quantum theory in the 1920's,...More recently, the recognition of chaos and chaotic dynamics has made the old idea of determinism untenable not just in the quantum realm, but in the weather, in breaking waves, in the activity of the brain, and indeed in most natural systems.

The idea of the whole of Nature as totally knowable has also suffered a terrible blow with the discovery of dark matter: It now turns out that ninety to ninety-nine percent of matter in the Universe is utterly unknown to us.

The idea of the disembodied knowledge of the scientist is giving way to a sense of science as participatory. The observer is involved in what he or she observes.

The idea of Nature as uncreative has been superseded by the idea of creative evolution....In an evolutionary world, creativity is an ongoing feature of the developing cosmos.

And finally eternal laws. These made sense in an eternal world,...

I prefer the idea of Nature as governed by habits....The habits are maintained by a process I call morphic resonance, the influence of like on like. For example, if rats learn a new trick in London, then rats everywhere should be able to learn the same thing quicker....

This hypothesis is of course controversial and is still being tested. Most of the results so far point toward these effects being real. Nature may well have an inherent memory rather than being governed by eternal laws.

Excepts from pages 21-25 of Natural Grace