A New Paradigm – Part 1 – The Living Systems Understanding

Thomas Kuhn, a philosopher of science, coined the term “Paradigm” 40 or so years ago, when he was investigating scientific revolutions, or by what means science “changed” its views.  The word “Paradigm” became a term used to describe the underlying set of theories that are accepted as the current truth in any given area of science.  Kuhn was fascinated by the resistance we have to changing our belief systems, and this resistance can be observed as a common thread throughout human history.   When a new idea comes up that challenges the current paradigm, rejection of the new idea appears to be the default stance of the establishment, as it perceives a radical idea as a threat.  One example is Gallileo’s counter to to the “earth-as-the-centre-of-the-universe” theory, which resulted in him being placed under house arrest for challenging the Church, which was the established paradigm at the time.

Kuhn made several other notable claims concerning the progress of scientific knowledge: that scientific fields undergo periodic “paradigm shifts” rather than solely progressing in a linear and continuous way; that these paradigm shifts open up new approaches to understanding what scientists would never have considered valid before; and that the notion of scientific truth, at any given moment, cannot be established solely by objective criteria (think Randomised Controlled Trials) but is defined by a consensus of a scientific community.

Understandings of health have been adapting lately, but it always appears that despite our scientific understandings in biology being as advanced as they have ever been, we have never had more illness. The majority of the research done in turning over the stones of what creates illness is done within the current accepted theoretical models, and as such the limitations of these models become self evident.  As a direct result, it always seems like there is more to learn, because the human body is a complex tool that we have barely brushed the surface on understanding, yet we keep turning back to our biochemistry and physiology texts from the 1930s as foundational.  If these texts really told the whole story of how the body works as we revere them to, would we really still be worried about illness?  One would hope we would not, yet the evidence is to the contrary.  We have never been more confused.

Biology and Medicine today are disorganized collections of disparate facts.  There is no connecting design. One reason for this apparent confusion is that the “disciplines” in science and medicine (the scientific community) do not cross paths enough to truly understand what they are talking about. What therefore emerges are multiple fragmented views on the way things work, which become ever reduced as the scientific discipline continues to attempt to explain every phenomena within its current conceptual understanding.  Even when the current set of theories fails to explain a given phenomena, the paradigm is never questioned or refuted.  This is a direct result of biomedical science’s tendency to view its current theories as absolute truths, when, of course, taking any physical theory as an absolute truth tends to fix the general forms of thought, thus contributing further toward fragmentation.  In this regard, it might be said that any theory is predominantly only one form of insight, a way of looking at the world, and not a form of knowledge of how the world really is.

At this stage, Quantum Physics is an important science in helping understand Biology because it is the study of the infallible laws of the universe and of nature (or, at least, how man understands them, and seeks to describe them currently). Quantum Physics is the most “mature” of the sciences, in that when it’s experimental data does not match its hypothesis, its hypothesis is rejected.  Biology does not subscribe to this level of honest maturity in scientific inquiry.  In the same way the laws of Physics describe everything around us, they also affect us as organisms. Furthermore, in the same way the laws of Physics apply to the colossal scale of planets, they also apply to the minute scale of cellular Biology and the sub-molecular scale of charged particles that make up our mass.  It could be said that Physics, whilst itself being only one mode of observation, tends to follow in the wake of the waves and particles it seeks to describe, in that it is forever shifting and curious of what is unknown.

Quantum Physics is, at this stage, the foundational descriptor for all the sciences.  Biologists and Medical researchers tend to rely on the outmoded, albeit tidier Newtonian descriptions of how the world works, sticking to the physical world, and ignoring the invisible quantum world of Einstein, in which matter is actually made up of energy, and there are no absolutes.  At the atomic level, matter does not even exist with certainty; it only exists as a tendency to exist.  In fact, quantum physics says that the very act of measuring changes reality!

Newtonian physics, as rational as it may seem to Biologists, simply cannot offer the whole truth about the human body.  Medical science keeps advancing, and yet living organisms stubbornly refuse to be quantified.  Whilst medical science makes discovery after discovery about the mechanical interactions of chemical signalling of hormones, cytokines, growth factors etc, it remains dumbfounded to explain “paranormal” phenomena such as spontaneous healing, psychic phenomena, acupuncture efficacy, etc.  In fact, medical scientists and practitioners burdened by their limited theories often arrogantly denounce practices such as acupuncture and other complimentary therapies as the rhetoric of charlatans.  This is an extremely myopic view, which will no doubt turn out to be somewhat embarassing for these individals in the future.  Consider that in 1893, the chairman of the physics department at Harvard University proclaimed that there was no need for any new Ph.D.s in physics, because the science had established that the universe is a “matter machine” made up of individual atoms that fully obey Newtonian physics.  Only three short years later, the notion that the atom was the smallest particle in the universe was shattered, as the discovery that the atom itself was made up of smaller sub-atomic particles was made.  Even more of a blow was the discovery that atoms emit various energies such as x-rays and radioactivity.  Within another decade, physicists had abandoned Newtonian physics altogether, coming to the realization that the universe is not made of matter suspended in empty space, but rather that it was made of energy.

Today, biomedical sciences are being taught with a Newtonian, materialistic bias, whereby the beliefs that mechanisms of our physical bodies can be understood by taking cells apart and studying their “building blocks” prevails.  These teachings instil the belief that the biochemical reactions responsible for life are generated through “assembly line” style processes in a linear flow.  This reductionist model suggests that if there is a problem in the system, which shows as a physical symptom, the source of the problem must be due to a malfunction in one of the steps of the linear progression.  By providing a functional “replacement part” for the assembly line (pharmaceutical drug) the defective point can be “repaired” and health restored.

In contrast, the flow of information in a quantum universe is holistic.  Cellular constituents are woven into a complex web of crosstalk, and a biological dysfunction may arise from miscommunication along ANY given route of flow.

We do not live and operate in a universe with discrete, physical objects separated by dead space.  The Universe is one indivisible, dynamic whole in which energy and matter are so deeply entangled it is impossible to consider them as independent elements. 

Bruce Lipton has a “thing” he calls Universe Humor, others may refer to it as a Cosmic Joke, which describes times we thought we knew exactly how some event or incident was going to turn out. These are the times we could be so convinced that we “knew” what was going to happen, that we would have bet the family farm and the kitchen sink on the outcome of the event. It is at moments like this, the Universe surprises us by taking a left turn instead of a right.

Thankfully, we are currently at the edge of a very major revolution for medicine, the product of a very slow shift propelled by consumers who are seeking out complementary medicine practitioners in record numbers.  Whilst the Newtonian-reductionist practitioners arrogantly attempt to dispel the practices of complementary therapists (many of which have their foundations in an older, deeper understanding of the universe,) the scientific basis of such modalities continues to turn up via mounting piles of evidence emerging from cutting edge bio-physics research.  As the quantum age of medicine unfolds, the medical establishment will eventually be forced to reconsider (and perhaps even apologise for,) its doctrines, as this example of Universe Humor upends a foundational basic belief held by conventional science.

On the cutting edge of Health is a community that is shifting away from what is considered “new” or “highly advanced technology” toward what is reliable and foundational for living systems – the foundation of our whole, seamless and undivided nature.  This in-born intelligence does not reside in scientific concepts, although such concepts can be used as a pointer and to refine clarity.  The Pedagogical steps required are to teach the essence or essential nature, which is none other than allowing the Intelligence to express through optimal living, as we honour the evolutionary history of all Living Systems.



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