Science and Wisdom
'There is no Blackfoot language, or
Navajo language, in the European sense of vocabularies
and wordlists --
instead, there are about 80 roots in Blackfoot [each
of which stands for a kinesthetic prime of animate motion}'
Dan Moonhawk Alford
the beginnings if its time on earth mankind has explored
the nature of the Universe. Over the ages ancient and
indigenous cultures achieved extraordinary levels of
understanding about natural processes and 'wisdom traditions'
developed that preserved and protected these bodies
of knowledge. Imaginative and intuitive ways of acquiring
knowledge were highly valued and seen as vital to the
creative process. Wisdom, in this respect, was the accumulated
body of understanding handed down from one generation
to the next in order to guide and preserve the generations
yet to come.
Prior to the 1700s the study of nature and the physical
universe was known as 'Natural Philosophy'. Over the
course of the nineteenth century, however, the word
science in the Western world came to be associated with
the systematic study of phenomena based
on observation, experiment, and measurement. To be termed
scientific, methods of inquiry increasingly needed to
be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable
evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.
Outer enquiry was separated from inner and knowledge,
rather than wisdom, became the focus.
science, however, never followed this model. For example
measurement is part of Native American Science, but
does not play such a foundational role. Instead there
is a focus on the 'coming-into-beingness' of the world.
Native Americans never cliam regularities as 'laws'
or 'finalities', but rather accept constant dynamic
motion anf flux. They see science as the 'search for
reality', but do not constrain what that reality is.
science is beginning to acknowledge that in the sub-atomic
realm there are no longer any things: there is only
a dynamic flux of process and relationship - and this
is opening up all sorts of possibilities of reconciling
modern scientific enquiry with the teachings of ancient
you can access resources that explore the nature of
scientific enquiry and read the thoughts of people now
seeking more wisdom-based approaches.
question is how can science, when it is based on a fragmentary
attitude to life, ever understand the essence of real
problems that depend on an indefinitely wide context?
The answer does not lie in the accumulation of more
and more knowledge. What is needed is wisdom. It is
a lack of wisdom that is causing most of our serious
problems rather than a lack of knowledge'
Peat - Science, Order and Creativity
Mathematics Society - 2009 Mathematical Art Exhibition
Robert Gray Projects
Maxwell's site ' From Knowledge to Wisdom'
Philiips - 'Pythagoran Aspects of Music'