The Sciences of Freedom

06.11.2010 - Punta de Vacas - Pía Figueroa

The title of the current presentation requires certain clarification which will also serve as an introduction. When we talk about “Sciences of Freedom”, we are not referring to a scientific field which aims to study freedom, although that would be a fantastic project, but to a new general approach to Science, a different paradigm than the one which restricts the scientific subject within certain parameters of determinism.

On the other hand, also before beginning with the theme, we would like to mention that the current approach could reasonably be considered improper, coming from a stranger to the scientific community. The reflection which we will go on to describe originates from intuitions which recognise its root in the field of the existential search which all human beings are part of, including of course the members of the aforementioned community. Thus the comments which we make can be taken as a product of the naive ramblings of a intruder who requires clarification or correction or, on the other hand, the presentation can be considered as a contribution, if we consider the distance between observer and fact in a positive light, which offers the possibility of an analysis less identified and committed to the material at hand.

Above all, my thanks to Silo, to his Message and Teaching, which inspire, hopefully with certain rapprochement, the contents which we will show here.

Upon entering the field of Philosophy and Science, we are immediately driven to cover the variants in a discussion of epistemology. These variants, relating to the greater or lesser capacity for knowledge of reality and the best method to achieve this knowledge, are not in our sights, for a relatively simple reason. From our point of view, it is not, at least in this first approach, the “knowledge” which is being discussed, but the “reality” which is claimed to be known. Said in another way, it is generally supposed that there is a given reality, whether it is biological, natural, social or even historical and dynamic, and that laws or constants are hidden in the depths of this reality which must be discovered. Consequently, the scientific objective is to understand the given, the born (hence “nature”) to give way to the active practice of the technique, which will aspire to replicate with more or less skill the firm mechanisms discovered to apply them in useful purposes for daily development.

All of this is very important and undoubtedly has contributed and contributes enormously to improving the possibilities of our species. Nobody in their right mind, except the feverish minds which have for many centuries obstructed the human spirit presenting themselves as exclusive representatives of the divine, would have anything to object to the previously mentioned scientific proposal. On the contrary, knowledge of the existent should awaken enthusiasm and become one of the main priorities to be cultivated by our species.

The point, however, is when the reality that must be known, is affirmed as a certain object and its knowledge in terms of “true or false”, excluding other possible realities, ignoring or minimising the subjective factor which observes and thus knows the possibility of various states or configurations of conscience of the observer.

In a book of enormous depth called Humanise the Earth, in the chapter entitled “Reality” Silo writes: “Of what reality do you speak to fish or reptile; to gigantic animal, tiny insect, or bird; to a child or an old person; to one who sleeps or one who keeps watch in cold calculation or feverish terror?”

And the next paragraph continues:

“I say that the echo of the real murmurs or resounds according to the ear that hears, and that for other ears what you call “reality” would play a different song.”. End of the quotation.

Here the relationship between the observer and the observed is shown to us as an indissoluble structure between the consciousness and the world which it is aimed at and which it penetrates.

Also, in this interactive reality, the actions of the multiple and simultaneous factors, which here we include as “consciousness and world”, mean that this same reality is made dynamic and transformed, creating the beautiful paradox that what is really permanent and inherent about the phenomena is their radical impermanence or mobility.

Due to this changeable nature various thinkers – in their search for that absolute known as “truth” (the Greek Aletheia) – tried to neutralise the relativism in which the structural dependency and its incessant mobility and change appeared to plunge knowledge.

Thus, there was a return to the conceptualisation, the establishment of laws with validity in relation to fixed parameters, to the subtlety of a formulaic world which distances itself from reality, giving certain intelligibility, abstracting in signs and symbols what seemed dense, variable and incomprehensible.

Faced with the same difficulty, other thinkers (for example the sceptics) completely denied the possibility of obtaining truths regarding the world of objects, almost in the same way as others denied the possibility of approaching indescribable truths regarding the transcendental world.

Others thought that eliminating – at least momentarily – some of the factors of this consciousness-world relationship which they regarded as a great nuisance to the effects of true knowledge, could achieve their mission. Thus, the first empiricism and in its wake, the following positivism, claimed to cancel out the subjective factor, confirming the experimental as the only possible source of scientific knowledge, whether as an induction from the singular phenomenon or as proof of postulates in a deductive sense. On the opposite path, phenomenology endeavoured to reveal the meaning of phenomena in their ultimate reduction, putting “reality” in brackets.

The objective and subjective were in conflict in the various visions, converting this observer-object structure into a battle field where both options no longer acted in harmony, but in excluding opposition.

We have here one of the proposals which we think must be overcome. In a sensitivity which would make some people recall Taoist fundamentals, the paradigm of liberty which we suggest for the Science will consider excluding opposition as merely apparent and will affirm the naively contrary as a demonstration of complementarity, possibly even co-existing opposites in a same phenomenon and instant.

Thus we will ask ourselves: “can a body be in two different places at the same time? Or show different characteristics in the same moment? Or produce contradictory effects?” We will answer yes to all of this, demonstrating that a body can occupy very different positions in accordance with the levels which are simultaneously studied, saying that the characteristics will be relative to the action of the variable structure which interacts with it or suggesting various different temporalities for the action of the phenomenon which can result differently according to whether the studied effects are immediate or mediate, future or past or at the same time.

This same complementary characteristic is what we think must give itself to this renovating paradigm suggested for the Sciences. Like the classic Physics, it is irrefutable within a certain range and, however it was expanded and completed for the successive developments of electromagnetism and the Theory of Relativity, the Science of the Determined can also be expanded and complemented by a Science from Freedom.

Formulating the visions which we suggest in a very primitive manner, we say:

Science from Freedom does not affirm the existence of a reality, but shows its structural and dynamic characteristics. Or, both permanent and changing relation of the components acting in certain environments.

A simple example to illustrate: Take for example in the field of Geometry the shape of square. Here we will have an area given by the square of its sides.

Then drawing its diagonals, it will be evident that while in the abstraction the area remains the same, the shape now seems different.

We now go on to fold the triangles outwards, resulting in the following shape

This shows a new square whose sides are undoubtedly longer than at the start, but whose area, not taking into account the now empty square in the centre, is the same. And if we take it into account, we can say that the same previous area, varying its positions, has increased the area.

We now finally eliminate the external triangles, the containers of the original area, leaving us with the initial shape.

By following the sequence, the area should now equal zero (as we have taken off the triangles which contained the area), which is undoubtedly the opposite of the perception of those who do not consider the interior of the square as empty and who maintain that the area is now identical to that of the start.

Moving on to biology: let’s take five fish in a tank. They are the same species and fed the same in the same environment. In time two die and three survive. What factor or factors intervene, if the environmental and genetic conditions are seemingly identical? The same with a cellular tissue, if the functioning of one cell is towards growth, when and in what circumstances does the mechanism invert and develop necrotic tendencies towards the others?

It is evident that there is something which is not apparent. And which relates to what is evident. It is clear that there is something which is not automatic, and we do not know a priori what is determined or undetermined, the free, is a much wider case, without which phenomena do not allow for coherent explanations.

We can continue thus and the simple enumeration of examples would be useful to put us in a different atmosphere, understanding that we are used to thinking in a certain way, is an almost scholastic creed regarding the certain determinism of the phenomena, constituents of that entelechy which we call Reality.

The already numerous considerations which for almost a century those physicists which penetrated the borders of the subatomic world have been doing, discovering that the fixed determinism was almost a compassionate illusion, are very close to this spirit.

After Planck and Einstein’s contributions Heisenberg formulated a principle which is very enlightening for us, the Principle of Uncertainty which establishes – approximately – that it is not possible to definitely determine the lineal position and momentum of a particle in a given moment. Thus, in this incredible physics from the quantum or photonic world measurements – which in classic science constitute the experimental base of the whole inductive process – are not possible. The reason is very simple: to measure the trajectory of a photon is it necessary to “see it” in some way and this action requires the modification of the trajectory, which reaffirms was initially proposed regarding the interaction between subject and reality to be known.

However, due to the temporal determination of the current exhibition, with respect for everyone present, we will formulate our proposal in growing complexity:

The Science of Freedom will consider the objective or truth not as existing in itself – far less its durability or definitive characteristics – but as a probable relation in close interaction with the observer, a Human Being distant from the phenomenon and with the possibility of constituting an increasingly free look of the same, perhaps arriving at inspired states of consciousness revealing of the possible decision about the “real”.

We explain this other edge of the incipient paradigm which we mention here. If the Human Being, as an observer, agent and aware of the world, obtains distance in their habitual awareness of the phenomena which they observe, being able to interpret them, if this same Human Being manages to predispose him/herself towards various configurations of their consciousness, even reaching states of considerable inspiration (very relevant and known by the precursors in the scientific field), this variation can manage not only “to modify” the observed (introducing new variants of relativity into the phenomena) but can also position us further from the apparent definitive determination of our species. In this state it is possible to register with greater clarity the possibility of a look over things from liberty – which is exactly the look which we are suggesting. We would therefore suggest “inspiring practices”, from contact with the Profound of each one or Transcending the factual phenomena, to register or at least sense those states of inspiration and thus allow the scholar, an experience which enables them to approach the expansion of the recognised horizons from a normal look.

We leave in the air the meaning which we think the application of these proposals would have not only in the field of Science, but also in more basic school learning, where nowadays the absurdity of repetition, memorisation, competition, obsolescence of dates and diagrams, the pursuit of qualifications, the demoralisation of a decadent medium – among other factors – in reality only obstruct childhood and adolescent efforts.

To conclude and moving away from the dry rhetoric of the conceptual, let us say: If instead of knowing the given, to then reproduce it, we could generate the real from the viewpoint of necessity and with the conviction of the creative character of the Human Being; if we put the study of what can be in our look, of what is in the limits of what it is, considering the impossible a myth and the seemingly useless as an inevitable component of the existing. If we could make the infinite our field of study and action; if instead of making laws – and imposing their knowledge – we could describe tendencies. If the determined were a possibility or a simple starting point for our action of transformation. If the scientific included human choice as an essential variable acting in the real and predisposing experimentation far more as an adventure and game rather than in its axiomatic rigidity; if Science was used for the purpose of liberating the human being rather than explaining its categorisation and determination, if Science didn’t fall into the indignity of being considered as a component at the service of Technology or economic benefit. If knowledge could be an end in itself even experienced with complete inefficiency, if the mistake could constitute a virtue and failure be seen as a step in the ascent; if solidarity was understood as the intrinsic nature of the fabric of interdependent freedom, if universal harmony didn’t constitute a restrictive concept but the apt framework for a revolutionary attitude; if undeniable human evolution allowed us to detect a qualitative jump of the species towards a being aware of its possible non-determinism, if, lastly, the human quality could be seen in its divine dimension, acting both in finite and eternal senses, then we could be very close to this opening which we want to signify with Sciences of Freedom.

There is a lot more, but not now. Thank you all.

*translated by Kirsty Cumming*

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