A Middle Way for Science
The alternative science
I am proposing is not a replacement of the current scientific description of the world with some new description.
Scientists are constantly proposing new alternative descriptions, weighing and debating the merits of the various competing proposals, inventing and performing experiments to gather evidence to help tilt the balance.
That's what science is about.
I am proposing a new understanding of what science is, which should lead to a new way of doing science.
Buddhism has cultivated the seed of the basic truth of emptiness and interdependence, and harvested a rich tradition of 2500 years of international culture.
How can the wisdom of Buddhism transform science?
There is not likely to be an absolute universal ultimate answer at this level either, but rather an ongoing process of reflective practise.
Some starting principles could be:
How we do science matters.
There is no inevitable progress to some unique final result.
Every description has limitations, distortions, and blind spots.
These form a sort of hidden historical record of
the unresolved conflicts accumulated in the process of constructing the description.
The value of a scientific description is in its ability to help beings become free from suffering and acheive their highest potential.
Scientific descriptions are always embedded in contexts of
people, equipment, materials, etc.
Science like any human activity has a mythological narrative
For example, a scientist might consciously or unconsciouly
imagine himself or herself as a knight crusader in shining armor fighting valiantly to protect truth from the onslaught of the heretics.
Acknowledging and working with this mythological dimension
may be a wiser way to manage its powerful energies than trying to
suppress and deny it.
The mythological narrative of science encompasses a vision of
humanity and its place in the universe, not just the institutions of science itself.
Science fiction was born together with science, in works such as Francis Bacon's New Atlantis.
The direction of evolution of science and technology seem inevitable largely because of the lack of consciousness and acknowledgement of this mythological narrative.