This part, after a reminder of the classical epistemology, introduces the basis of General Epistemology, which allows to exactly apprehend the inner experience, or consciousness, in more of the classical physical and material observation. For this we must explain the error of classical materialistic science, in its principles, in its language, and into numerous concrete examples.
(Permalink) Epistemology is the science of knowledge: How to acquire knowledge on the world. Of course, if somebody just wants that others accept his opinions whatever they are, then he doesn't need epistemology. Epistemology is to discover things as they are, independently of our personal desires. An epistemology is a method to explore and know reality, generally based on the notion of evidence. The most well known today is the scientific method.
The basic concept of scientific epistemology is that of experimental proof. Any statement about physical reality must be proven by the observation of this reality. A statement which does not match physical reality is false. A statement which is not checked is uncertain, and thus unusable.
Generally, we prepare a theory, which is an axiomatic system (see the first part on Logic). It takes as axioms some already observed facts, thus known and safe facts, in order to predict other facts, by means of reasoning. Ideally we look for reasoning which would be rules, to which the considered physical phenomenon would obey in a constant way. When we think we have found such a rule, then we prepare an experiment to test if the physical reality actually behaves according to the rule. If so, then our theory is true, and the rule is a «law of physics», which can be used to discover other laws, or to design useful objects or machines. If not, then the theory is not true, and it allows for no use of no sort.
Thus we discover natural laws, which make possible to make other predictions, leading to other experiments, other laws... This is the very process of scientific search.
The scientific method in practice:
-The notion of evidence.
-The notion of observation.
-The reproducibility of experiments, and collective testimony, as warrant of the exactness of results.
-The concept of testability.
-The institutions and peers referee play a foolproof role.
This science at this end of 20th century is certainly not perfect, but thanks to these protective mechanisms and to this methodical rigour, neither fraud nor error was ever able to settle here durably. Except for the one we shall see further.
(Permalink) The history of science clearly illustrates the intent of this book.
Science such as we conceive it today was founded by people like Copernicus, the first theorist, Galileo, the first experimenter, and Newton, the first to formulate a physical law. A while later people like Leibniz, enthusiastic, wished «to show the existence of God with mathematics». This ambitious project failed, because nobody really saw how to undertake such a demonstration. So, the century of the Enlightenment preferred to devote to more concrete tasks, geometry, astrometry, techniques, natural history. These people were still Christians, but this preoccupation was no longer interfering with their study of physics, that they already considered as a field different of spirituality.
The French revolution reinforced science without changing its essence. But, with persecutions against religious people, the radical refusal of religion had become a heavy tendency in society, which also counted members among scientists. The idea to use scientific methods to dispute religion developed.
The 19th century developed a science very proud of its material achievements. But this very success in the material domains was understood as a valid motive to deny the spiritual domains, especially to state the inexistence of God and of the spirit, thus leading to modern materialism and rationalism.
The 20th century saw a very strong science, enjoying an unconditional support from the political powers, with the development of large public institutions, but also strongly infused with rationalism and technocracy, which also spread into the administrative power. The matter and the «reason of Techniques» reign there as an undisputed master, often as a «revealed religion». Criticisms which appear (ecology, preservation of landscapes, spiritual rebirth, unexplained phenomena...) cannot make show their legitimacy and all the more not their possible validity. Despite this, some strong characters like Einstein, Wignier, Chalmers… recurrently actuated the topics of spirituality or consciousness, in the frame of the institution, or while approaching Eastern spiritual conceptions.
In the 21st century science could at last play its true role, with giving clear and institutional warnings about climate change. But we are however still far of a correct working: then science showed the true existence of parapsychology phenomena and UFOs, but its own institutions still «ignore» these results, a breakthrough however much more important than electricity.
To twart this censorship, the scientists gather into private groups: IANDS, SETI, etc. But what is interesting is, rather than producing an «alternative science», their results end to be accepted by all the scientists, which leads to the idea of a one science, independant of the political or ideological adventures.
(Permalink) (This chapter being essential, I did not summarized it much)
As I clearly stated from the very beginning, I, and many others, are not completely satisfied with today science, in spite of its undeniable and deserved success. The main reason is that, if science as a mean to know the world triumphs in physics and technique, on the other hand it is remarkably absent in immaterial fields like spirituality, ethics, significance of life, politics... In such an extend that it is said that these field «are not science», that they are open fields for all kinds of arbitrary «opinions», «beliefs» and even for dangerous ideologies that we are not free to refute in spite of their obvious falseness, as we «must not» speak of this. So we arrive to a «legitimacy of belief» into these domains!
Traditional science clearly made a CHOICE of the subjects which it agrees or not to study. Of course this choice of allowed subjects and taboo subjects is dictated by ideologies (it thus arises only from the psychological bias). These ideologies have for name rationalism, scientistism, technocracy, atheism, materialism... but we have to wait a while, as we did not yet defined these words (chapter II-6) nor we studied in detail these ideologies (chapter II-7).
How an exact science could itself limit its objectives? How the project of a general science, such as envisioned by its very founders, Newton, Leibniz and others, has been abandoned? Why these ideologies, let us say approximately materialistic, could manipulate and ensnare people who were, far more than many others, able to show their method, their sincerity and their capacity of self-questioning? For this there is a major reason, an unconscious paradigm, a basic confusion into the method itself:
FROM THE VERY BEGINNING ONE WAS INTERESTED ONLY WITH MATERIAL EVIDENCES.
THE CONCEPT OF REALITY HAS BEEN CONFUSED WITH THE CONCEPT OF MATERIALITY!
All what is not material is not regarded as real, is not considered as observable, and is thus not considered as worthy of study. Worse, the idea was spread that any assertion in the immaterial fields like ethics, spirituality, politics, significance of the life, not being able of being materially demonstrated, not making any physical sense, comes within the domain of beliefs, and thus that it arises only from the psychological bias!
This even sometimes led to very dangerous statements as what morals or human beings would have no value, a very practical mean to justify their exploitation… but this is only an opportunistic infection on a much more profound disease.
How did we arrived here? How so obvious and enormous a mistake could went unnoticed for centuries? A second reading of the history of science (chapter II-2) will explain us how this gross error disguised itself into a «basic truth accepted by all»:
Galileo found in his observation a material proof concerning an assertion considered as belonging to the religious domain (on the organisation of the solar system). It was deduced from this that the material proof was the effective method, without realising that the word «proof» was enough: there was no need to reduce its range and effectiveness with specifying «material».
At the Century of Enlightenment, without disavowing the subtle religion and other matters, scientists forsook its study because no material mean was available to check or deny the religious, ethical or spiritual statements. Already at that time this approach left the intellectuals without defence in front of marquis of sade's nonsenses, leaving the religion alone on the moral front, which it defended very awkwardly: their dogmatism and prudishness gathered everybody against them. And those who presented legitimate revendication (freedom, democracy) had to fight the Catholic fundamentalism… which, on its side, claimed to be Christic love! This heap of confusions resulted in a very strong resentment against the religion, which abruptly took the shape of anti-religious persecutions in the French Revolution.
This resentment became an habit in the 19th century, which developed a great aversion against religion, and the «associated» moral and spiritual matters. It went so far as being perceived as an «evident truth»: the materialist dogma, still under the pretext that it is impossible to approach the world of the mind with material experiments (inevitably!). We can say that this dogma is only a rationalisation (in the psychological meaning) of the hatred of religion. The materialists and anti-spiritual ideologies followed, with as consequences things like the racist theories in anthropology («scientific» justification of colonialism), or in politics the two boring twins: Marxism and capitalism.
These deliria led in the 20th Century to a society dominated by a quasi-religious materialism, where any human concern is rejected as «subjective», where nature is an empty spot on the map, that we need to «develop», where all the human suffering are «compensated» with money. Reduced to his banking account and his career, the human being feels any more sorrow to live into an increasingly cacophonous, dangerous, solitary and destructured world! A simple number on a list will certainly not feel any suffering if his living place was cleansed of useless or non-profitable objects such as foamy underwood, trees, brooks, soft meadows, to install eminently rational and useful objects such as factories, supermarkets or power lines; a banking account cannot be disturbed by the noise of the close motorway, nor to worry about the survival of his descendants... As to our spirituality, reduced to «beliefs», it is more and more considered as a shameful disease that we must hide into privacy... (Necessarily: if everybody started to practice altruism in public, capitalism would crash down).
When, in the 1970 years, confronted to questioning like the ecology requirements, the search of happiness, or simply the very defence of most basic human rights, these ideologies went even stiffer denying and rejecting like «subjective» all the dimensions of the human being, other than purely economic or technical.
Science brought its share, with buffooneries like the Heidelberg appeal (1992), which managed to be signed by four thousands of high level scientists. This kind of thing was clearly positing science as an enemy of nature and mankind, and don't be astonished if my statements in the first version were severe. Today we must consider that the manipulation was vicious: to present the ecology questioning as a form of fundamentalism which was going «too far». Of course, the authors of the appeal, related to the Moon cult, knew how to manipulate! And the white blouses, so inexperienced in politics, were easy to fool, even with this vague text with pompous and warped sentences.
Happily, today science(2010), confronted to its own discoveries on climate change, was able to take its distance with the propaganda. (2021: it even recovered its normal leadership!) The childish reaction of the ideologists show at which point they used to see science under control, and their abject fear when they see it independent again.
In more, we must mention that more and more scientists are interested by studying consciousness. But they have to do this out of the institutions, and anyway they could until now just gather facts, without really a method and a theoretical frame. This book has for purpose to fulfil these requirements. Let us see how.
It is quite obvious that if there exist spiritual realities, or quite simply moral, sentimental, artistic realities, the proof of this can absolutely not be sought in a physical (material) field which is not theirs, because they are immaterial domains. We can no more seek a material proof of a moral law than we may seek a spiritual proof of a physical law.
And no more than a mathematician will seek a material proof for a mathematical theorem.
Indeed, there is however one immaterial field recognised and studied by today science: mathematics. They are founded on their own system of proof, all immaterial, which infallibly makes possible to know if a mathematical statement is true or not, without any reference to any material object. Try for example to show that two and two make four, you will perhaps use a counting frame, but it will work as well if you only visualise this counting frame. Here is typically an immaterial field where an immaterial experiment, especially interior to the human mind, is enough to establish the truth, without the recourse to any material proof. In mathematics, we don't use sensory organs, but we however observe the results of reasoning, as our consciousness has the capacity to directly perceive the mathematical phenomena without the need for any sensory organ. The mathematical realities also are observable, even if they are not material. And there is in there no parapsychology, not belief, no New Age.
And if such methods were applicable in other immaterial fields? Let us for example ask a question of a completely different field, the spiritual domain: does the human mind exist? (Let us here define simply the human mind as the consciousness, the capacity of being aware of the existence or appearance of an object, here our consciousness itself). And let us use the same method than with the four balls. Let us try the experiment: Are you conscious? Stop reading one moment and look if you are conscious...
... You checked? If you did not tried, useless to read the continuation, close this book, and especially do not have the impudence to criticise it. If you are a banking account, a genetic program, or an administrative gear, it is normal that you did not observed anything, and that this experiment does not have any significance for you.
But all the human beings who sincerely attempted this experiment obtained the same result: We all are conscious. We observe the phenomenon of the consciousness when we realise that we are perceiving something, image from the sensory organs, mental image, idea, feeling, or the consciousness itself. To observe an object (a physical object or mind object as well) is certainly an act of consciousness, but when I speak to observe the consciousness, it is really «to be conscious that we perceive an object» which matters here: consciousness conscious of itself, and thus which is observed: the consciousness is an observable object, as well as a material object or a mathematical object. The experiment is perfectly reproducible and always gives the same result, as rigorously as an experiment of mechanics, as accurately as a mathematical demonstration. The consciousness is a basic property of human being.
Of course we can go further, to wonder what is conscious, and how, but that is enough for the moment: we found an immaterial reality which exists, which is observable, and for this we used exactly the same process than to affirm the existence of a mathematical reality, i.e. the same manner as to affirm the existence of a material reality, but in another field of observation. We can have fun to explore the properties of this consciousness: it perceives images, sounds, it understands situations, has ideas, desires, intentions, and dyes these elements with a whole variety of poetries, tenderness or sorrows, all elements which does not have any material base nor counterpart, but that we observe at every moments. This is the domain of the human mind, with its observable realities.
Therefore we now feel we have the right to affirm the reality of this human consciousness and its world, on an equal to equal basis with mathematical and physical realities. It is thus possible to observe and explore non-material realities, in addition to those of mathematics. And it is even very simple!
(Permalink) (This chapter being essential, it is mostly not summarized)
Why to change a scientific method which largely proved reliable? We shall simply address the error we mentioned: Whereas the traditional scientific epistemology (which field is restrained to the matter) is reduced to the only material proof and observation, the General Epistemology© that I propose, generalises the concept of proof and observation to other fields, in particular ethical and spiritual. We shall seek the proof in the field which we study. In physics, we seek a material proof. In mathematics, we seek a logical proof (This is the classical position of the mathematicians). In spirituality we shall seek a spiritual proof (In all this book, spiritual is to be understood in the meaning of: in the field of the human mind, simply, without inevitably religious or parapsychological references). In ethics we also seek a spiritual proof. In fields like medicine, psychology and parapsychology, we shall even have to be pluridisciplinary, and to check statements one by one, each in its field, material, spiritual... This will enable us to extend the concept of science, objectivity and exactitude to all the fields of the human experience. At least to a certain extent, as these fields are not always as accurately defined as in physics.
In peculiar things like feelings, mental images, a meaning of life, the value of the human existence, beauty, poetry, can no longer be regarded only as «subjective», arbitrary and worthless. These are now things that we can define, about which we can speak, on which we can make reasoning and exact statements, which we are complied to account with in the direction of our personal lives, and which it would be dangerous to «forget» in public fields like politics, society or economy.
Things like the soul, life after death, reincarnation, «God», etc... definitively cannot be apprehended by traditional epistemology, and inevitably require General Epistemology. Since the version 1 of this book, we could scientifically check the existence of parapsychology phenomena, such as OBE and NDE. This now allows us to scientifically envision such things like life after death, or an entity we could call «God». Our General Epistemology will certainly be very useful for this purpose, but the influence of mind over matter must, by definition, be materially observable. So we still need the traditional epistemology. It is anyways what was done for the demonstration of the existence of these parapsychology phenomena: by the classical observation of their material effects.
Some persons need to be aware that we shall not validate at a whole all the stories of the New Age, spiritism and astrology, all the contradictory dogmas of the religions and morals, plus the incredible bazaar of the cultural fields. And even less that we can give a statute of scientific knowledge to subjective or arbitrary considerations.
At first, traditional scientists will ask us what we exactly mean with an expression like «spiritual proof», therefore we have to first thoroughly question this. A true spiritual science, a scientific ethics, an explanation of the parapsychology phenomena, are not likely to resemble at those tall science-fiction stories, (nor to the New Age-fiction) but they can result only from the application of a rigorous method and a systematic tracking of any psychological bias (ideologies, attractions...)
The use of «objective» material proof (reproducible, collective...) in the traditional physical science allows to circumvent the effects of psychological bias, with a rather good effectiveness, since no error nor fraud could never settle durably in physics and in the observation of the material universe. But in the fields of the mind and consciousness we cannot elude the effects of the psychological bias, since it is attached to the observation instrument itself!
So the main difficulty of General Epistemology, compared to the classical one, is not really observing the spiritual facts, but the problem of the psychological bias. It will have to be really E-LI-MI-NA-TED! This is possible, since peoples already did.
Let us guess how this generalised epistemology may look like, in comparison with traditional methodology that we saw in chapter II-1.
-The concept of spiritual proof. A proof is an observable object, or the observable course of a phenomenon, which behaves as a theory predicts it. But now here it will be a matter of observing an object or a phenomenon in the domain of consciousness. The spiritual proof of a theory will be thus a consciousness experience.
-The notion of observation is similarly transposed: as in physics, it is the consciousness which observes, but this time it does not observe external objects, but its own features, inner objects.
But there are differences between the physical field and the spiritual field. In physics, an experiment is an external thing, to which we attend; in spirituality an experiment is a situation in which our entire being is involved, a thing that we experience, that we feel. In physics we can be confident with some experiments in some laboratories. But we can observe a consciousness experience only into ourselves! This implies that, to be really convincing, a spiritual experiment must be repeatable by every one.
Another difference is that we can (everyone of us personally) have success in this consciousness experience only if our personal psychological bias does not disturb it too much, nor does not it veil the result. This is why this bias cannot be eluded as in physics, but that it must be removed at least partly. The requirements to fulfil so that the experiment succeeds are, just like in physics, the experimental conditions which must be described in the experimental protocol, which describes the qualities that the experimenter must satisfy, as well as for an experiment in physics or chemistry. Instead of speaking about an experimenter who handles an experiment of physics, I propose here the term of experiencer, who observes the reactions of his own mind subjected to specified conditions.
The exact meaning of these requirements must be well understood, on the basis of examples: How an inappropriate emotion can hide or veil a result? Let us test the statement as what practising charity to others makes ourselves happy first. Try: let us make a gift to an humanitarian organisation. And let us observe the result when we get back a photo of a little black child staring shyly at us, our benefactor! These eyes win our conviction as strongly as the observation of an explosive chemical reaction! But if we suffer of a psychological bias such as lacking empathy or being racist? The experiment does not work! This is exactly as in an experiment of physics, a forger switches the power off, or hides the display. If we do this in physics, it is a fraud, which can lead us to jail. It is as much a fraud in the domain of consciousness. Just it is more difficult to avoid.
Another example on how a prejudice can make an experiment not to work, is the statement as what relaxing our mind tends to attenuate psychological tenses, stress and anguish. To check this assertion, we need to learn how to release our body, then our mind (training). We also need to be able to evaluate your stress or anguish with some objectivity (control of psychological bias). Once these conditions fulfilled, then the result appears so simple and so obvious to the experiencer, that it wins an immediate and immovable conviction, exactly as a physical observation with our eyes wins conviction in a physics experiment.
-The reproducibility of experiments. A consciousness experience can be regarded as authentic only if it is actually reproduced by several experiencers, and especially I myself should accept it only if I am able to reproduce it myself, according to the specified experimental conditions. If not, it remains speculative. Non-testable otherwise than in experiencing it oneself. Contrarily to a physics experiment, which needs to be done only some times, by qualified physicists, a consciousness experience needs to be done by a much larger number of people.
-Collective testimony is not transposable just as it, in this fields where there are basically only inner experiences. But this is not very much a problem as these experiments can be reproduced by as many persons as needed.
-The recent concept of testability is transposable with some care. There seems to exist less means to test («refute») in the spiritual domain than in physics, but there are still enough, as they are centred on what is relevant.
-The institutions and peers referee seem transposable, but they inevitably operate otherwise. The peers cannot be satisfied to check that the assertions of a researcher are not distorted by his psychological bias, they will have to take care that this researcher himself is liberated from this bias. So peers referee, in place of being educated persons who control reasoning and methods, it will be already transformed persons, already liberated from the psychological bias, who will be the only able to control if you are too.
-The type of logic used. In physics and in mathematics, the Aristotelian logic is used alone. However the domains of the consciousness (ethics, economy, politics, psychology, spirituality) are often non-Aristotelian, and even non-conceptual (see Chapter I-9). So, very obviously, a genuinely rational (reasoning) approach is here to first acquire this kind of non-conceptual intelligence.
We can already have an idea of what a spiritual epistemology will make possible or not. It is not very likely that we can give a quick answer to a naive question such as «Does God exist?». On the other hand we can expect that the epistemology, generalised to the spiritual field, makes possible to explore the human mind (fifth part), to build a rational, human-friendy and non-arbitrary ethics (chapter VI-2). It can allow to gain control over this psychological bias which blocks us the access to knowledge, and which especially costs us so much and so much daily sufferings. It may allow us to find a meaning to our life, a feat that physical science is naturally unable to achieve, but which may prove within range, maybe even before the end of this book (chapter V-5). We thus shall study various attempts to use this spiritual science in all the following parts.
It is thus clear that, if it keeps its promises, our General Epistemology will be of a great usefulness, and a more important revolution than democracy or electricity. So we can legitimately state that any opposition on the principle is a crime against mankind, just as with classical science. The only useful or acceptable criticism is what would allow to better it, or to correct eventual mistakes.
Will a spiritual or ethic science be exact, in the meaning as we say that physical science is an exact science, able of measuring things with an incredible accuracy? Yes, if we consider that it will allow for exact results, efficient in real life (For instance: «it is right to forbid drugs», or «The practice of non-violence really allows for better social relationship»). But we shall certainly not be able to calculate or measure emotions or consciousness. Those things are simply non measurable, because they are non-Aristotelian, see transcendent (chapter I-9). However we could consider that these new sciences will be at least true and efficient, at least infinitely more than the dogmatic a priori systems which made ethics, politics or religion before. About «human sciences», such as psychology, sociology, ethnology, General Epistemology is a rather good deal for them. To be fair, it will not be a complete surprise in these domains.
We should not however conclude, from these limitations, that the sciences of the consciousness would be minor sciences, or less «prestigious» than physics. We could live in a world without science, but to live in a world without ethics costs us a lot. I admire as much the great scientists than the spiritual masters who changed my life, and, definitively, if I had to name the two most remarkable and influential personalities of the 20th Century, I would put Einstein and Gandhi ex-aequo. And still, they would all together decline the first place for the other...
(Permalink) In physics or in mathematics, we get around it by the various experimental methodologies, the screening of publications, etc... In the world of the consciousness, we cannot get around it, and it has still worse effects. It thus requires a work of purification of the consciousness, of calibration of this measuring instrument.
A serious objection is that precisely there would be no general laws of consciousness to study. For instance in the previous example of the African child, we can start from the compassion, and try to show that it is «right». But some could also start from the egocentric affirmation of one's self, and show that a racist attitude would be as much «right». Classical science says that there is no «objective demonstration» of the rightness or falseness of any of these two statements. The mistake here is once again that «objective» has been confused with «material»! There are indeed no material facts demonstrating the rightness or falseness on any of these two statements, nothing such as a Law of God written into the sky. But this in no ways means that there are no consciousness facts forcing us into one of these two choices! General Epistemology precisely states that consciousness, as any other reality, may have its own determinants and constrains, resulting from its appearance, evolution or structure, forcing us into one of the two statements. And these determinants are objective, in the meaning that we cannot change them, just as we cannot create a third solution to the equation x2 = 4.
Dreams and beliefs are the content of the consciousness. If this content is forcibly subjective, variable and personal, its laws of functioning may be objective, and perhaps even rigorous.
In familiar words, and with the necessary cautions, this gives a full validity to what some call the logic of the heart or the human sensitivity, as fully valid means to understand our lives and to take decisions in family, in group, in politics or in economy, all subjects that we shall explore in this way in the fifth part and following. From there the enormous importance that I give to the General Epistemology, as a mean to understand our lives and of drastically annihilating all the fascist, «liberal» or anti-life ideologies, exactly as the new born science get us rid off all the arbitrary beliefs on the structure of the universe.
However an indispensable condition is to really get free of the psychological bias, otherwise we shall inevitably fall into populism and phoney medication.
If I think to have brought it a good foundation, I cannot claim to build completely alone a General Epistemology which will undoubtedly be more complex than the old one, which already request to read several books to be entirely understood. But what we said here only has to be added to what is already known in physics, without contradicting it: General epistemology = traditional physical Epistemology (physical proof) + Mathematics (logical proof) + spiritual Epistemology (spiritual proof)!
(Permalink) The whole Aristotelian world and the scientists developed the concepts of rationality and objectivity: to make reasoning (and to concretely apply the decisions which results from them) which truly describe reality, and not personal a priori, preferences, attachments or aversion, ideological or cultural, which all arise from the psychological bias. We cannot dispute the basement of such an intention, otherwise it is useless to speak about logic, reasoning and even not of truth. This objective was roughly achieved in the fields of the physical sciences.
However as soon as we get into fields where the human being is concerned, words such as rationality and objectivity are frequently used to justify humanly unacceptable behaviours, such as suffering, exploitation of people and destruction of nature. If we believe such speeches, we have the objective and exact rational material scientific/economy knowledge on a side, which is opposed to the subjective and illusory ecological/spiritual beliefs on the other side.
Right. Let us bring all this on the kitchen table, and sort. Objective is opposed to subjective, OK, rational with irrational, OK, illusion and belief are opposed to knowledge, OK, material is opposed to spiritual, OK. But why to have thus inseparably linked these four oppositions? Oh, what a beautiful semantic (note 17) faggot, typical of all the simplistic and dualistic speeches:
This muddle strangely looks like these ignominiously crushed quadripolar diagrams which we saw in chapter I-5 and which introduce appalling confusions between terms which should never be mixed, and even not associated.
Thus let us unfold the faggot; indeed if we cut the arbitrary link it unfolds with relief in a beautiful quadripolar diagram (see chapter I-4 for the meaning of the technical terms).
More exactly it is an hexapolar diagram, as we have two horizontal Yin-Yang axis (one right- left, and a front-back one). But we can simplify with showing two quadripolar diagrams: at left, the mindset of the observer, and at right (in italic) the reality that he observes.
Oooh but we already saw the left one in chapter I-8, about logic, where we already had to demystify a similar problem, about the meaning of the word «rational». So, it is not astonishing if the same clarification is also profitable to epistemology. So, with the two diagrams, it is easy to comment each of these points, this time from the point of view of epistemology.
We of course find the usual pseudo-dichotomy science/belief:
(1) is obviously the field of the physical science dealing with the physical reality (1'). From the epistemological point of view, it is an exact approach, objective, rational, which circumvents psychological bias by confrontation with the objective material experience, and is turned towards the outside of the human, towards the matter, and which relies on the material proof.
(4') is the domain of beliefs and arbitrary a priori, based on social conformism, attachment and aversion, lack of method, psychological bias. Many religious peoples have the mindset (4), and also some ecologists and some New Age followers. Booh! Get out of there, folks!
But now, the diagram shows its predictive force and its utility, as it foresees the existence of two other places. These places must match with real human behaviours, which we can thus expect to meet in daily life.
Analytic mind (1) applied to (2'), the human experience, can lodge an economic, social and politic science taking in account the whole fundamental needs of the human being, without to imposing arbitrary limitation on his inner life, his spiritual, cultural or emotional life. (sixth part on society) So, (2) is the place of an exact science of the human mind. From the epistemological point of view, (2) is an exact approach, objective, rational, which must pass by the suppression of the psychological bias of the experiencer. It is looking towards the interior of human, towards the mind, and relying on the spiritual proof, like mathematics rely on the logical proof.
(3) is the place for all the anti-human ideologies (3') claiming to be science or rationality: scientistism, rationalism, reductionism, technocracy, inhuman administration methods... Hep you there! Show us what you are doing!
The process is always the same, since science (1) replaced religion as the most credible reference for our societies: the intuitive mindset (2) and the human facts (2') are always resurfacing (simply because we are human beings), each time they are threatened by egocentric interests, inhuman administrative decisions, dictatorship, violence, or destruction of nature. So, pseudo-rational ideologies (3') are created, to justify the anti-human behaviours in giving them the appearance of science, reason and rational management, against «subjective» feelings.
A reference case of such manipulations is the racist theories of the 19th Century, invented to justify colonization against claims for freedom and equality: the Blacks were «scientifically» described as inferior, and thus deemed to be ruled by Whites. This one is very stale today, but we still have many administrative methods and «rational» talks invented against fair economy or nature preservation. Let us quote the scientific frauds of the tobacco industry (Ragnar Rylander case), or the pseudo-scientific theory of the nuclear lobby as what weak doses of radioactivity would be harmless. The most elaborated is the pseudoscience of behaviourism, invented to cover the cruel vivisection experiments on animals (when not on Humans, as it happened several times after WWII in western countries). The climate deniers lobby was happily unable to compromise science. This would ensure the survival of the later... if the politicians had not decided to lead mankind to suicide, in the Copenhagen and Cancun conferences.
The purpose of this book is to foster a mind science (2'), using the both necessary rational methods (1) and intuitive methods (2), while denouncing the rationalist pseudosciences and manipulations (3').
This books also joins classical science (1) against the religious dogmas (4'). But for this, it uses the correct method: to foster (2), the spiritual science, instead of (3'), rationalism.
It should anyway be remembered, when we oppose science against scientism, scientists against scientistists, that in daily reality, things are not so clearly defined. The two tendencies often coexist within a group, and even in one person and his speech. Therefore let us denounce scientism without making a new clan business of this, in a non-violent way, by challenging the scientist to fight the scientistist. This significant point of deontology is implied subsequently, and the scientistist whose face we shall recurrently smash is only an allegory.
A very important point also, which can be deduced from the study of dynamic effects in the quadripolar diagram, in chapter I-4, is that only the true scientist can efficiently fight the scientistist. So we must not confuse the targets. To spread «spiritual» or «ecological» nonsenses «to fight scientistism» is the best help for it, and to think rationally in spiritual, economic or ecological domains is the thing it fears the most. Especially this book is the ultimate anti-scientistist weapon: the epistemological bomb!
(Permalink) Whereas rationality (1) is a pragmatic mind which uses effective means to achieve its goal, while remaining able of self-questioning, rationalism (3) is an ideology (chapter I-9) which cannot admit what it does not control. For this reason it can be socially dangerous: the concepts of objectivity and rationality were transformed into a limiting and reducing ideology which rejects all what which can be apprehended only in reference to the human being (ethics, mind, feelings, poetry, spirituality...) For example, if the physical world seems without purpose in itself, it is inferred that the experience of the human consciousness does not have any purpose either. This eludes from the very beginning as «subjective» or «purposeless» any discussion on ethics, culture or environment protection. Some even went so far as a paranoia rejecting life and mind. But curiously it is never noticed that financial interests which destroy environment or support dictators does not have any more purpose either... It is that in policy and social matters, the concepts of objectivity and rationality are often hardly more than advertising arguments, intended to hide perfectly irrational and subjective personal interests and ideologies (in the worst meaning of these words). This main rationalist current, often implicit (administrations...) expresses itself in numerous more or less immoral or antisocial ideologies.
The most well known examples of rationalistist ideologies, abusively presented as being «the science» or «reason», are (not discussing some details) materialism, atheism, amorality, genetism, psychological reductionnism, materialist economic theories, (false) individual freedom, positivism, behaviourism, some forms of sociobiology, extremist Darwinism, rationalist pessimism, reductionnism, utilitarian science, varied balderdashes that I gather under the name of punk science, and conspirationnism which historical prototype was the Heidelberg appeal.
These theories are generally presented to the general public as being «the science», while deprived of concrete stakes and of no practical interest. Unfortunately, this is not true: the paranoid Heidelberg appeal, the misinformation of tobacco industry and climate deniers, widely magnified by some medias, always are in a way to delay the solution of life and death issues: nuclear power, greenhouse effect, OGM, POPs... what goes against our very most essential survival interests. I think such groups and ideologies can be considered as being CULTS CALLING FOR COLLECTIVE SUICIDE OF THE WHOLE MANKIND. We have thus the right to place these scientistic and rationalist theories at the same level as the ideologies calling for racism or social hatred, when the denial of ecology problems would join the denial of the nazi camps. In any case I do not see anything more barmy and irrational than burying one's head in the sand about ecological problems...
We can also nab here some «natural» or «ecological» ideologies, which look more innocent, but if we allowed them to take power, they would show as much dangerous (as it is visible into some cults). We can say, according to quadripolar logic, that the rationalism of the old fogeys and the most delirious New Age are two reciprocal situations, i.e. the same thing but painted of a different colour.
Some example of more or less fashioned «soft» deliria are antiscience, everyone his own truth, we can believe any theory, nature would be perfect, relativism, and many others.
We must keep in mind that we can reject neither science, nor the movements which criticize it. Never let us lose sight of the fact that in the quadripolar diagram, to each negative force corresponds a similar looking but positive force. The most traditional science (1) is rich with extraordinary results, admirable discoveries and characters of large stature. The New Age, environment, and naturist movements (2) are a gushing of creativity and raw spirit which only requires to be organised to create an incredibly happier life. Both will be able to be united in a single science-consciousness, as soon as we shall try to eliminate the gangues. And if this purification were done spontaneously, without effort, as soon as both agree to come together into contact? As soon as their non-duality is understood?
(Permalink) Certain topics, even accessible to traditional materialistic science, were however excluded from its range of study. This is because rationalist ideologies, like all the restrictive or reductive ideologies, claim to define alone the reality and its significance. Such topics are then qualified of «irrational» or «non-scientific». This attitude, perfectly irrational and non-scientific, is counterproductive and very detrimental, as it results in neglecting original or significant discoveries, or even in occulting major aspects of our life. Worse, as whole fields of human knowledge are thus left in waste land, the weeds, cults, odd ideas, phantasms and other really irrational ideas, can proliferate there without the society and nobody being able to control them. Thus scientistists and rationalists support in fact the irrational or antiscientific ideas they pretend to fight (It is what I call a collusion de facto, typical of what happens with reciprocal situations, see chapter I-4). This denial of knowledge can lead to socially dangerous and condemnable attitudes. We shall see this in these examples.
Let us notice that the purpose of this small study is not inevitably to state who holds the truth in each of these fields, but to point at the problems to be settled.
Various examples are discussed in the full version of this chapter, in chapter II-8. Let us quote: Alternative medicines, extraterrestrial life, ecology, the spirit and spirituality, NDE, spiritual powers, reincarnation, ethics, UFOs and «abduction», rare phenomenon, predictions of quantum mechanics…
Added January 2022: we note that the version 1 was anti-vaccination, while the final version 2 got its three mRNA anti-covid jabs without flinching. This change has several motives: better information sources, better science, but also, more especially, with the general evolution of Mankind, the leadership in thinking went back from the «alternatives» to science and institutions. Who complains?
I feel that there is enough valid matter to justify sincere scientific studies. Many researchers and private witnesses have accumulated enough data so that we can seriously plan to consider all these phenomena as experimental facts, what I will not deprive myself to do throughout this book, to base on this a fair part of my conclusions. Personally I am convinced of the existence at least of some parapsychological phenomena, to which I assisted or which I also heard from credible witnesses (these examples will be exposed all along this book) so in the continuation I consider these phenomena as empirical facts about which it is necessary to find an explanation one day or another. Precisely I propose such an explanation, that I explain into the following parts of this book.
The recognition of these fields will be limited, as long as it is only the work of some private groups. Such a recognition can be complete and effective only if the necessary examinations and controls are achieved in a rigorous way by the persons and the institutions who make science. On the contrary, if some unexplained phenomena proved to be only the result of hallucinations, beliefs or other psychological deviations, only a complete, honest and transparent investigation, by official services, will be able to definitively convince the public opinion and indeed withdraw any credit to those who make propaganda for false phenomena.
For all these checks, a clear political choice is necessary. But especially the scientists who will have to actually study the phenomena, or to control private studies, will have to do this without any materialist, rationalist or scientistist prejudice.
And «alternative» researchers should not expect to be recognised as long as they indistinctly considers all the scientists as narrow-minded idiots, and especially as long as there is not a rigorous methodology of control about the facts which one wants to see their reality recognised. These methodologies are known of many professionals and students, and it is easy to find persons who would agree to work for credible associations. But we cannot expect that all the jumble of fancy theories which encumber everyday more the alternative medicines and the New Age will never be recognised by any kind of scientist, and General Epistemology could make them a fate even more quickly than the old one, with making them testable.
(Permalink) The study of taboo phenomena has regularly undergone denigration, falsification and misinformation, which have discredited these fields to the eyes of public opinion and financial or political support. Clearly, the researcher in these fields will have to lead a fight.
The first publication of the «MANTRA Pilot Study» in the Duke Magazine announced fantastic results on the effect of prayer on sick persons. The second MANTRA II study, identical and by the same authors (Paper in The Lancet) yielded a zero effect! The problem is that today we read everywhere that «the studies» showed that prayer has no effect... See for instance on Wikipedia. We clearly have an obvious disinformation will.
However the true scientific question is: why then two identical studies yielded so different results? May the rash of scepticism which greeted the first positive experiment acted as a counter-prayer in the second experiment? Indeed, we cannot isolate the thought of some from the thought of the others, and such vicious interferences are known to occur in prayer groups.
Oh, it's like trying to prove scientifically that sunshine makes people merry... Everyone knows it, and can verify it right away, but an attempt to demonstrate it scientifically would start public scepticism and ridicule in newspapers, stressing the Guinea pigs and cancelling the result...
Example: the outlandish Linda Cortile case, with its witnesses visible only to Bud Hopkins, did much to bring discredit on the «alien abductions».
Example: The incredible stories of Roswell and alien conspiracies did much more to discredit ufology and break serious groups, than the ill remembered «debunking»...
Example: The «new ufology» destroyed a large number of groups, at an epoch where many associations of amateurs were starting to work scientifically.
Example: One of the most characterized manipulation was the project alpha, where a «sceptic», James Randi, infiltrated a laboratory with two forgers pretending to be «psy subjects». The forgery was detected in time, but the press still denigrated the scientists.
In a general way, if the warnings of the «sceptics» and other «zeteticians» are useful, and even are part of the scientific approach in this area, it must be clearly understood that for most of these people, their purpose is not to establish the truth, but rather to avoid the manifestation of this truth.
If an attacker tries to tamper a scientific search, then to detect him and cancel his influence becomes an integral part of the experimental protocols and of the scientific process itself.
Impostors, and selective advertising by the media to only failures and mistakes (publication bias), discourage the research and make more difficult its integration into the society.
But hostility can intimidate the subjects, see directly modify the results. This is because, if the thought of a subject can influence a material system, then the simultaneous thought of a sceptic, or even of a simple spectator, focalized on the same system, will also influence it! They are also part of the experiment! This is clearly a parasitic effect to eliminate. You will think that this is very new or extraordinary, but this is however a fact already well known by the classical scientists: it is quite simply the placebo effect caused by the «second blind» in a medical experiment.
So, it is clear that a parapsychology experiment such as the MANTRA study has to be conducted in TRIPLE BLIND: the patients do not know, the nurses do not know, and the public does not know.
As no anti-thought shielding exists, the only mean to avoid this is that these persons ignore the existence of this experiment. Then the experiment is not announced, it is conduced in full discretion, to avoid that anybody thinks at it and muddle the results. The results are announced to the public only years after, and the anonymity of the persons is respected. After this third criterion, the MANTRA II study is not valid, as it received a lot of advertising, and quantity of people placed high expectation or high hostility on it. And these two are well know to kill the effect of prayer! MANTRA II had much better to be conduced in the continuation of the MANTRA Pilot Study, with the same methods, without intermediate publishing.
The only mean to avoid being targeted by manipulations is to work discretely: the discussions about the management of research are not public, the researchers are not known, their public life does not allow to guess their true activities. The «psy subjects» are protected against any influence or intimidation. It is only when the results are reliable and consolidated that they can be published.
We need a discreet research, which works silently, with its own publishing and internal checking, WITHOUT ALLOWING ITSELF TO BE DEPENDENT ON MEDIA OR PUBLISHING COMPANIES, without having accountancy to show to «sceptical» pseudo-philosophers.
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