Following the preamble published last week, is this introduction to the UnCommon Science Library.
Synergic Science is “real” Science
Timothy Wilken, MD
Orville and Wilbur Wright were aeronautical scientists and they had to understand aeronautical science to invent the Aeroplane. However, one doesn’t have to be an aeronautical scientist to ride in an airplane, or for that matter even to fly one.
UnCommon Sense is based on the synergic sciences. I have devoted many years of study to the synergic sciences, but this book is not written for me. Most humans living today are not scientists and it is not necessary for them to understand science in order to benefit from it. Nor do they need to be synergic scientists in order to act synergically.
The solutions that the synergic sciences bring us must be made available to all of humanity. Since I am seeking to communicate with as large an audience as possible, this requires the use of clear and nontechnical language. The nonscientist reader of UnCommon Sense can expect to learn to understand the human condition, and his or her options for improving his or her life with synergic mechanisms.
But UnCommon Sense must also present the synergic sciences effectively to the most scientifically minded individuals within our species. It must include enough science to provide compelling proof to the most critical of readers.
It cannot ignore the scientists in the reading audience. The synergic mechanisms that can solve humanity’s problems are based on “real” science and that science like all science has a history. UnCommon Sense will therefore present the story of human synergy in six sections – The Basics, The Science, The Past, The Present, The Future, and finally SAFEpassage or how do we get from the Present to a Synergic Future.
The Basics section includes the fundamentals of synergic science necessary to understand and recognize synergic relationships and synergic actions.
The Science section is written to help deepen the reader’s understanding of synergy. Much of it is written in the voices of the synergic scientists themselves. While this section contains some advanced synergic science, it is not as hard to understand as you might imagine.
Bootstrap to knowing
I entered medical school in 1966. In my first week I would learn one of the most valuable lessons of my life.
A fellow classmate and I were in the medical library at our school. We had been reading some science papers assigned in an earlier class, when I noticed he was reading one paper, that I didn’t have listed on my assignment sheet. He seemed much more interested in that paper than in those from our assignment sheet.
My classmate would read a paragraph or two and then hurry off to the big medical dictionary across the room. He made so many trips, I surmised the reading must be very difficult.
Finally ,my curiosity got the better of me, and I also was beginning to worry that I might have missed getting the assignment to read that particular paper, so I queried him.
First he responded by saying, “No, its not part of our assignment, I’m just reading this for myself. The author is a Nobel laureate.”
He started to return to his reading, but then he paused for a moment to look me over and for some reason he decided to share his secret with me. “Its something more than that. It is a secret way to learn that my Father taught me.”
I leaned closer and he continued.
“When you read and understand the work of a world’s leading expert, you can become the world’s second leading expert.”
At first I didn’t know what to say. The thought was so foreign to me. I said nothing and returned to my study of the assigned readings. Later that evening after class, my mind kept coming back to what my classmate had said, “When you read and understand the work of a world’s leading expert, you can become the world’s second leading expert.”
Could it really be true? Could getting ahead be as simple as finding out who the experts were and studying their most advanced works.
To think that I could catch up to a world expert by spending a few hours in the library seemed an oversimplification, and somehow terrible at the same time. Science was supposed to be much harder than that. In the next few years, I would learn that science is much harder than that and yet discover for myself the deep truth of my classmate’s lesson.
Science was hard, and as I began using the bootstrap I discovered there was nothing easy about understanding the advanced papers of experts. I had somehow missed the implication of my fellow student’s repeated trips to the reference dictionary that morning in the library. Now I finally understood. There is a shortcut in science, but like many shortcuts, the path is a more difficult one.
You can learn fastest from the world’s experts if you are ready to invest the effort to learn the expert’s language, definitions and methods.
Since then, this lesson has served me well.
I have saved years of study by using the knowledge of the world’s leading experts to bootstrap myself to a position of better and more complete understanding. And always, with more understanding comes more control.
I have filled UnCommon Sense with the understanding and wisdom of many of the world’s leading experts.
Please make their expert knowledge your own. Please invest a few hours in learning the language and methods of the experts and bootstrap yourself to a more powerful and positive future.
The nonscientist reader may find some parts of The Science section difficult. Fortunately, it is not necessary to completely understand or master this section in order to participate in a synergic future. However, I encourage you not to skip this section as it contains some very important information. I predict that those readers who invest the time to read and think carefully will discover they can understand synergic science.
The synergic sciences are new to everyone including most of today’s scientists. Most scientists are specialists and synergic science is not their speciality The trained scientist may have the advantage of thinking scientifically, but the material is equally new to all readers, and very likely not in most scientist’s field of training. So please do your best. This science will be used throughout the rest of the book to analyze and understand our human past, the crisis that faces us in the present, the shape of a synergic future, and the synergic mechanisms that we can begin using now to move towards that future.
Eventually, I believe most humans will come to understand even the most advanced synergic sciences. While all humans are not considered to be scientists, all human beings are Time-binders. Since science is simply the most powerful form of time-binding, I would argue that all humans are to some degree scientists.
All humans notice and react to the changes in their environment, scientists just do it more intensively and carefully. Scientists discover the laws of Nature by observing changes in their environment. By studying these changes, they come to understand them. The synergic sciences are “science“.
The most powerful tool of science has been the scientific method.
First, the scientist carefully studies some natural phenomena or process – observation. Then the scientist thinks very carefully about what he has observed. He contemplates, he meditates, he thinks, when he sees a pattern, when he develops an insight, then the scientist states a hypothesis – a proposed model of reality. The scientist then makes predictions based on that hypothesis and develops a procedure to test those predictions – experiment. And finally the scientist gathers the results from the experiment and compares the experimental results with the predictions – observation.
Then the scientist begins again, the scientist thinks very carefully about the results that he has observed. He contemplates, he meditates, he thinks, when he sees a clearer pattern, when he develops a better insight, then he modifies his hypothesis and the cycle is repeated. This is the process of science, the scientific method is used over and over to create evermore accurate models of reality.
When a hypothesis is found to be exceedingly accurate in predicting reality, and when no exceptions can be found to its description of a natural phenomena or process, then and only then does it gain the status of scientific theory. A scientific theory sometimes called a generalization means a principle that has been found to hold true in every special case.
Scientific theories are corroborated hypotheses – they are the most accurate models of reality we have.
When a scientist uses the word theory, he is talking about something much more than an opinion – something much more than an assumption – something much more than a belief. Scientific theories are near truths.
We humans have used scientific theory to safely take us to the moon and to cure cancers. You can safely bet your life on scientific theory and you do – every time you walk onto an elevator or board an airplane.
And while scientists have the highest respect for scientific theories, they know they are not absolutes. They understand that scientific theories are models of reality and not the reality itself. In the past these models of reality were often confused with reality itself. Those scientific theories that survived continued human experience were thought to be absolute truths. They were thought to be certainties. They were given the most prestigious of names – “Laws of Nature.”
In 1999, scientists know better. Today we know that human knowledge always grows with more experience. A scientific theory believed to be true today will be improved or shown to be incomplete later. Newton’s scientific theories, published in 1687, formed the scientific basis for the Industrial Revolution and our modern world. Thought to be absolute “Laws of Nature“, they were shown to be incomplete by Einstein’s scientific theories published in 1915.
Einstein was not necessarily smarter than Newton. He was simply later. As Newton is quoted as saying, “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” Einstein was 230 years later than Newton. Einstein was standing on Newton’s shoulders as he created a more accurate model of reality. Humans will always seek to know more. Humans will always seek more accurate models of reality. Humans will always seek the laws of Nature. But, today in 1999, human science is more humble.
It accepts the fact that today’s knowledge is incomplete. That human science will always know more later.
In UnCommon Sense, I will be presenting a number of new scientific theories for your consideration. These scientific theories are to my knowledge accurate, and I have found no exceptions in their description of humanity – including human evolution, human behavior, and the human condition. But I do not ask you to accept them on authority – mine or anyone else’s.
As a time-binder, your greatest power is your own intelligence – your own ability to understand. I trust you to read UnCommon Sense critically and think carefully as you evaluate these new scientific theories – these new models of reality.
You will want to ask yourself, do these models help me to better understand humanity? Do they help me to better understand myself, to better understand the individuals important in my life, and to better understand the human condition? Do these models answer my questions about my life and the world as I experience it? Will they help me to make better choices in my future.
Again, they are models of reality, they are not reality. Scientists are human, and nothing can be taken as absolutely certain. So, irregardless of how certain my words may sound. I do not pretend to have all the answers. I believe I have the best answers based on what we know now – 1999.
But that’s now, tomorrow we will know more. Tomorrow these scientific theories will be improved and will be shown to be incomplete. But, the promise of greater knowledge and better tools tomorrow is no reason to postpone building a better world today.
The next section of the book is called The Past. Here I will add much color and flesh out the story of our synergic evolution.
Here we will learn of humanity’s struggle with adversity and neutrality, and of our discovery of synergic mechanisms and synergic relationships. Again, I quote extensively from a number of historians and scientists to explain our human story.
The Present section examines the state of our world today, and reveals a humanity in crisis. I will explain the causes of our adaptational crisis, and clearly delineate the problems that we must solve if humanity is to survive.
I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If we humans are to continue as a viable species, we must know what is wrong with our world and what must be changed.
The Future section describes how things could be done in a synergic future. It reveals ways of solving human problems that are very different from the way we do things today. It explains how some problems that are difficult now could become easy to solve in a synergic future. It will also show how some problems that are impossible now could become solvable too. This section is very exiting and promises a positive and wonderful option for the continuation of the human story.
And finally, the SAFEpassage section is where the action is. If you are convinced by reading the earlier sections that you want a synergic future, this section of the book will tell you how you can begin changing your life and participate in the synergic revolution. This section reveals a number of powerful synergic mechanisms that can be used now to make your life safer and more meaningful.
A few ground rules and we will be ready to begin.
UnCommon Sense is written with a heightened awareness of time. Therefore, I will present these new scientific theories utilizing Alfred Korzybski’s convention of dating1. Dating is a time-binding reference tool which allows more accurate communication.
Dating explicitly informs the reader of the temporal context in which a statement is made or when an action being described occurred. Thus America1776 is not America1999, just as Physics1687 is not Physics1915 is not Physics1999. Dating can be applied to ourselves just as well. Human beings evolve and change as they live their lives. Timothy Wilken1966 is not the same as Timothy Wilken1999.
UnCommon Sense relies heavily on the work of many other scientists and historians. Time-binding by definition implies that all scientific and historical works must to a large extent be corroborations. Therefore I have abandoned the practice of paraphrasing the work of others, in favor of presenting their work in their own words. This is accomplished through the liberal use of direct quotations from their original writings.
I have occasionally edited these quotations in an attempt to increase clarity, and to underscore their relevance to this work. All changes and additions to the quotations of others are very minor and have been made carefully to avoid disturbing the original content and flavor.
Where I have disagreed with a quoted author or felt the need to comment, I have used *annotations. My annotations are clearly demarcated by a colored bold *font preceded by an asterisk.
My extensive use of quotations should allow the reader a deeper understanding of the process of discovery and of time-binding. While some of these quotations are quite lengthy, your reading of them should not be considered a replacement for reading the original work. I have credited and referenced all quotations to facilitate your finding the originals for yourself.
Remember also that these quotations are themselves bound in Time. They will all be dated so the reader is aware of the time when they were written.
Because our language is evolving, you will discover many of the quotations are not gender neutral for example you will often see the word ‘Man’ used to represent the word ‘Humanity’. Our language is currently full of pronouns with implied gender that do not necessarily represent sexist beliefs or intentions of the writer. Even writing in 1999, with an awareness of gender neutrality, I have not succeeded.
Many words have changing or multiple ‘meanings’ based on context or usage. Korzybski called these words “multiordinal terms” and made use of single quotation marks2 to alert the reader to this risk of miscommunication. I will also use this convention in UnCommon Sense.
And now, a word about ‘redundancy‘.
Redundancy is a multiordinal term that has two very different meanings. In the one sense, redundancy means repetition of an act needlessly, or the attribute of being superfluous and unneeded. In a second sense, redundancy means repetition of messages to reduce the probability of errors in transmission, as in electronics, a system design that duplicates components to provide alternatives in case one component fails.
Now both senses of redundancy involve repetition. However, in the first sense repetition is unnecessary, while in the second sense repetition is very necessary.
Neurobiology1999 finds that information presented with the greatest duration, intensity, and repetition is best remembered by the learning mind. Redundancy is an important tool of education. This is especially true when that information contains revolutionary ideas or concepts. The synergic way is so very different from our present reality, that I have chosen to use redundancy as a mechanism to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of my communication with you. Therefore, you will find that I am redundant.
However, I hope that you will experience my redundancy in the second sense – as both necessary and valuable. I apologize for those hopefully few occasions when you find it unecessary and annoying.
And finally, I would like to acknowledge Mark Davidson’s use of the title Uncommon Sense for his book about the life and thought of synergic scientist Ludwig von Bertalanffy.
I had already chosen the name UnCommon Sense as the working title for this book when I came across Davidson’s book in 1984. But, because of his precedence, I initially abandoned the idea of using the same title. Now fifteen years later, I have come to realize that UnCommon Sense is the right name for this work.
Mark Davidson’s book is a very fine one and I recommend it highly. He had good reason to choose the title for his work, and I encourage you to take a closer look. In many ways, Davidson’s words serve as the perfect conclusion to my own introduction of this “UnCommon Sense“. Davidson writing in 1983:
“Common sense, which once assured humanity that the world is flat, now assures us that the world is the sum of its parts.
“As a result, most of us deal with our environment by taking it apart – piece by piece, problem by problem – on the assumption that our efforts ultimately will add up to success.
“The human race has gotten by with that piecemeal approach for centuries, just as it managed to get by for centuries with the pre-Copernican notion of a flat earth. But our age of innocence must now end. The unprecedented interconnectedness of civilization compels us to face the fact that the world is greater than the sum of its parts. We therefore must begin paying attention to the fate of the whole earth rather than just the sum of its nations.
“Similarly, contemporary crises compel us to consider the whole society rather than just its separate groups, and the whole person rather than just the person’s separate roles.
“On nearly every level of our life, challenges have become too complex to yield to orthodox analytic approaches that deal with interrelated problems in artificial isolation. Nationally, we are faced by an interactive linkage of government budgets, interest rates, housing, employment, poverty, welfare, taxes, and crime. Internationally, we are confronted by an interactive linkage of population, food, natural resources, industry, technology, commerce, and conflict. And the overlap between international and national spheres is constantly enlarging.
“Everywhere, we are involved with immensely complex systems that authorities call counter-intuitive, because these systems do not necessarily behave as common sense leads us to expect. And everywhere, we are faced with a set of problems that authorities call a problematique: a veritable Rubik’s Cube in which the solution of one facet by itself can actually be a step backward from overall progress.
“We have abruptly entered a new history, an era that demands a science and philosophy of synthesis.
“We need – all of us need – a new way of thinking.
“We need a way of clearly seeing the forest for the trees, a new perspective that is variously described as holistic, ecological, gestalt, global, molar, integrative, organismic, synergistic, synergetical, synholistic, and systems.
“We need, in short, an uncommon sense of interactive relationships within and between wholes. Not just the occasional holistic insight that some of us experience in one realm or another as we muddle through life, but a total vision of the holistic landscape.”3
1Alfred Korzybski, Science and Sanity, The Colonial Press Inc., Clinton, Mass., 1933
2Alfred Korzybski, ibid
3Mark Davidson, Uncommon Sense – The Life and Thought of Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Father of General Systems Theory, J.P. Tarcher, Inc, Los Angeles, 1983
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