|Changing World Views|
I have returned to these pages from the "Consciousness as Causal Reality" chapter in Global Mind Change on many occasions to deepen my appreciation of the M-1 versus M-3 differences. Added emphasis appears in red, and my reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 28)
The fundamental change which we are suggesting is happening in Western society can be put in terms of these metaphysics. Essentially, it is a shift of dominant metaphysic from M-l to M-3. At first thought this may seem as outrageous a proposition as the heliocentric universe did to many in early seventeenth-century Europe. M-3 seems quite foreign to the Western mind, or certainly would have a generation ago.
It is not nearly so alien as it was even a quarter of a century ago, if we may judge from increased overt interest in the Eastern philosophical religions; purchases of books based around some sort of transcendental theme; appearances of "metaphysical" and Eastern transcendental concepts, such as reincarnation, karma, life-changing near-death experiences, in motion picture themes and innuendoes; participation in meditative practices, workshops and seminars; widespread interest in the phenomenon of "channeling"; and other indicators.
Although Descartes postulated a dualistic universe, by the twentieth century science was rather firmly committed to an M1 metaphysic. Within the past decade or so some scientists, recognizing that the extreme positivist position simply doesn't square with human experience, have been writing and speaking about the need to re-base science on an M-2 metaphysic. Quietly, a number of scientists find that when they take their total experience into account the M-3 metaphysic fits best; besides, that seems to be implicit in the esoteric "perennial wisdom" of the world's spiritual traditions. For the present, that position seems a long way from the picture of the world that emerges out of our various sciences. . . .
We should recognize that although science in its present form essentially evolved within an M-l weltanschauung, it is perfectly compatible with either the M-2 or M-3 metaphysic. It is compatible, but in those views it is found to be inherently incomplete as a picture of the universe.
It is furthermore critically important to recognize that one does not set out to prove the validity of a metaphysic. Reality is far too rich to be adequately captured in any conceptualization of it - any conceptualization whatever. We are potentially capable of understanding aspects of reality that can never be adequately expressed in exact verbal form. It is not an appropriate question, then, to ask: Which of these three metaphysics is true? It is appropriate to ask: Which one seems to make the best fit with the totality of human experience?