“Moral decisions are always easy to recognize, they are where you abandon self interest.”
Frank Herbert

Chapter House Dune

Rupert Sheldrake – The Science Delusion

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I’ve been fairly quiet in terms of blogging for many months. At first it was for lack of energy, then is was for lack of motivation, then, most recently, it was for lack of Internet connectivity – which we have but has been very unstable and frustrating to use (never know when hitting that publish button will actually work or return an error). All three seem to be getting better now (though the connectivity is completely out of my hands).

There is backlog of stuff I want to make time to write about me (at least for my own journaling) and this delay creates an interesting opportunity. More time has passed and my view on some things has evolved. Some things have lost whatever importance or relevance they may have had at the time. Others have developed into fascinating new directions I could not have seen when they first came to me. Some cross links have formed between seemingly separate things.

So I’m starting this update process by first working to clean up my browser tab situation. There are way too many tabs open with things I wanted to relate to.

One thing which is going to lead to many others is a drama that unfolded around TED censoring two talks from its website. I first learned about it when Charles Eisenstein mentioned it. Though the drama itself was a bit interesting it didn’t really move me because I believe that TED has for quite some time departed from original, edgy content towards quasi-intellectual mainstream populism. However this drama did bring to my attention two interesting people. The first of which is Rupert Sheldrake.

In his TED talk he exposes and challenges some very basic assumptions that are taken for granted in science (which dominates most of the modern world) as what they are really are beliefs … and beliefs that have lost some of their validity. I think his observations can be divided into three groups:

  1. Those which can and have been challenged using scientific method. For example: that laws of nature and fundamental constants are fixed.
  2. Those that challenge scientific method itself. For example: nature is purposeless (this resonated quite a bit with a lot of what Robert Pirsig talks about in Lila).
  3. Those that are built upon the rubbles of existing scientific dogma. For example: memory is inside the head.

The more intellectually entrenched you are the harder it will probably be for you to progress through his ideas.

His talk resonated with me in two ways. On an intellectual level it reinforcd my feeling that intellect itself has run amok – I’ve been collecting examples of this. On a more personal level I’ve been experiencing (I’m talking about a period of ~10 years) a shift in my relationship with memory. I used to have “good memory” (I had a very busy schedule and could manage it all in my mind) and now I can barely remember what I had for breakfast (today I can note something in three places and forget to even reference my own notes).

I have been having a hard time experiencing memory … and I’ve gotten around to questioning the idea of memory itself. I don’t really trust my “memory” nor do I trust it in others. When people tell me that I told them something or they told me something I don’t accept it mater of factly (unless it has been clearly documented) … nor do I argue it … I simply shrug it off as an assumption rather then a truth. Then, along comes Rupert Sheldrake with his suggestion that memory is not at all the construct that we thought it was … and I experienced great relief … a kind of relief I experienced being with Shahar.

The TED talk is a short version of a longer and better talk. So first the long version:

and then the TED talk that was censored:

… and stay tuned there is more of Rupert Sheldrake coming.

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