Science, Philosophy, and Schizoid Man
Before there was something called “Science” (with a capital “S”, and which is only of relatively recent coinage) it was called “natural philosophy”. That name itself is significant because it indicates that science and philosophy were not considered separate specialist activities and departments, but a unity — the unity of the quest for knowledge with the pursuit of wisdom.
That these then came to be considered separate specialist activities — virtually unrelated to one another as the two solitudes — reflects the dire situation of the growing dualism of the modern mind and the root problem of “Schizoid Man”. It reflects what Jean Gebser refers to as the “compartmentalisation” of the contemporary consciousness structure and its lack of real coherence and integrality. Unfortunately, mainstream conventional science (ie “normal science” in Thomas Kuhn’s terms) then became little more than technicians serving the Megamachine and the Technocracy, who often poo-poo the idea that science should be the enduring quest for clarity about the nature of the Real and the nature of Nature itself. It becomes then merely the instrument itself of the pursuit of power.
Here, then, we face the essential problem of Schizoid Man — power without wisdom. And those of you familiar with Dr. McGilchrist’s neurodynamic theories of the two modes of attention of the hemispheres of the divided brain and the problem of “hemineglect” may see also the connection between this isolation and overspecialisation of arts and sciences, wisdom and knowledge.
Nonetheless, alarmed at these inner divisions of the human mind and psychic structure, geniuses like David Bohm have arisen to try to restore the unity of wisdom and knowledge, even when he is dismissed and poo-pooed by “real scientists” and his efforts and that of others ignorantly rejected as “pseudo-science”. These new “integralists” are the precursors and expositors of a new age of integrality and planetary well-being, often dismissed by old reactionaries who don’t understand the real crisis.
It is true that, as Einstein himself put it, the consciousness structure that produced the problem in the first place is not going to be the consciousness structure that even understands or perceives the problem let alone effectively resolve the problem. Thus we are in pretty dire straits, presently. Our responses to the critical challenges we face are deficient as long as the consciousness structure itself is deficient, and so we fumble and bumble our way towards ultimate disaster in a cycle of self-destructive thought and behaviour. This is basically Nietzsche’s argument too for our own self-overcoming and for Gebser’s “leap”.
In the Hermetic philosophy, the “hieros gamos“, or “sacred marriage”, also signified the marriage of wisdom and knowledge. And those of you familiar with Iain McGilchrist’s writings on neurodynamics may also see in the hieros gamos the reharmonisation of the two modes of attention of the divided brain, which have been divorced and estranged from one another for some time. These developments are promising signs of an incipient new “integral consciousness” that will again restore the unity of wisdom and knowledge and the integrity of the human soul.
We can name many others, such as Jean Gebser, Rosenstock-Huessy, or Carl Jung and even Nietzsche when he’s properly understood, attempting to overcome the present schizoid state of the human soul through a new integration of the soul and to restore the unity of knowledge and wisdom. It’s because science has foresworn the quest for clarity and wisdom in its pursuit of power that the institution of science is also loosing its legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of the broader public, who perceive it now as just another form of self-interested power-seeking.
To heal the soul of its inner fragmentation and division, we need to effect something like the hieros gamos — the marriage of wisdom and knowledge.
And that also means, patriarchy must be transcended as well. That too is the meaning of the madness, and the decline and fall, of Blake’s demon God named “Urizen”.
And William Blake is still a reliable and trustworthy guide to the New Age and the terrible crises of the transition.