The Adolescent Crisis of Scientism
Come to think of it, this was one of the themes of my doctoral dissertation way back when, which only goes to show that obsessions can be quite stable and enduring. I guess I've been tilling the same field ever since.
Full portentous title of this 1988 epic: Psychoanalysis, Postmodern Physics, and the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution: Toward a Rapprochement of Mind and Nature.
"Rapprochement" is a double entendre, in that it is a psychoanalytic term of art having to do with the "human developmental milestone usually occurring between 15 to 24 months," when "the child moves away from and then returns to the mother for reassurance." In its customary sense, it connotes a "bringing together," the "re-establishment of cordial relations," or a convergence of diverse factions and interests.
Therefore, what I implicitly meant by the title -- but which I seriously doubt that anyone appreciated -- is that it is as if mind and mother nature start out as one, just like mother and baby. Gradually the baby individuates from mother and is able to tolerate emotional distance and spatiotemporal separation. At this point it is safe to reunite with mother, without fear of maternal re-engulfment and loss of identity.
Yeah, it happens. But I don't want to get sidetracked into clinical examples. My point was that primitive man is more or less merged with nature, so there is no distinct separation between subject and object, or will and nature. Thus the ubiquitous existence of primitive magic, which is founded on the assumption that mind and nature are entangled in such a way that the former can have a direct effect on the latter, e.g., with human sacrifice, rain dances, the Keynesian multiplier, etc.
If you don't think this psychic layer of magical fusion persists, then you're not paying attention, because it pretty much explains everything about the left, if not in content per se, then in terms of the underlying cognitive process (hence the chronically intelligent stupidity or stupid intelligence of the tenured).
In other words, it is possible to think about the world in a cognitively sophisticated manner, even while being rooted in pure magic. Indeed, most revolutionary movements are created and led by magic-mongering intellectuals, from Marxism to radical Muhammadism.
Ask the average person what he knows about global warming, and you will be lucky to get one factual or logically coherent sentence. The rest is magic. The same with economics, foreign policy, homosexuality, socialized medicine, etc. If the person is not guided by fact and logic, then something else is guiding him, and that thing is magic -- which is not illogical per se, but rather, simply follows the assumptions of a different form of logic.
For example, I'll bet you five dollars... Here, look at Deepak. He is in a feud with scientists, not because he wants a mature rapprochement between science and religion, but rather, because he insists upon a reversion to pre-religious magic.
"He has written that his practices can extend the human lifespan and treat chronic disease, a position criticized by scientists, who say his treatments rely on the placebo effect, that he misuses terms and ideas from quantum physics (quantum mysticism), and that he provides people with false hope that may deny them effective medical treatment."
In other words, if I read Professor Wiki rightly, Deepak is a dangerous quack and destructive fraud.
"... [T]he popularity of Chopra's views is associated with increasing anti-scientific attitudes in society.... such popularity represents an assault on the objectivity of science.... Michael Shermer [who I am sure is no bargain either], founder of The Skeptics Society, has said that Chopra is 'the very definition of what we mean by pseudoscience.'"
A little further down we read that Chopra is symptomatic of the inability "to distinguish between real scientists and those who peddle theories in the guise of science." His "nonsensical references to quantum physics are placed in a lineage of American religious pseudoscience, extending back through Scientology to Christian Science."
I guess we're late to this party: Deepakism "exemplifies the need of human beings for 'MAGIC' in their lives," such that "the sophistries of Chopra" sit "alongside the emotivism of Oprah Winfrey, the special effects and logic of Star Trek, and the MAGIC of Harry Potter."
Suffice it to say that this is not the rapprochement I have in mind. Rather, as in developmental rapprochement, we want to maintain the individuality of the constituents, whether mother and child or religion and science. In short, we do not want regression or fusion, but rather, progression and synthesis. How is such a thing possible?
The same way science itself -- or even Mind -- is possible. Science is again only possible because of certain inbuilt assumptions. You might say that science has parents of whom it is ashamed, very much like the adolescent who starts to be ashamed of his parents, and then goes on to imagine that he creates his own identity. However, once he safely establishes his separate identity, he can gain a new appreciation of the continuity.
So yes, I do believe it was necessary for science to leave home, to say goodbye to mother and father, and to make it on its own. But like the prodigal son, we are happy to welcome it home to the wide embrace of Reality.