In this article we will see how we can develop new inventions in tune with nature, by changing our thinking so it is flows more like water, harmonising itself with nature. So, we know that nature is rebelling and we cannot carry on using polluting technologies. But it is not the pollution that is the real problem. It is not the technologies that create the pollution that are the problem.
It is our thinking that created these technologies. I think everyone can agree that we need to find a way of creating industrial technology that is in harmony with nature.
So we need to really look at this issue. And this means accepting that human thinking is the prime problem, and also the only solution.
The thinking that has made our polluting technologies is a relatively dead abstract thinking, fixed and rigid. Rather rock-like in a sense.
So what is this thinking like and where does it come from?
This thinking is the thinking of Western Science, which is quite recent historically. It is a paradigm that breaks up matter, extracts the energy and throws away the waste into the earth’s air, water and soil.
The father of modern science was Galileo Galilei (b.1564 – d.1642). He created a method for the study of inorganic physical things and processes. He applied only number, weight and measure, so that valid results can be repeated reliably.
In short, he studied quantity, but not quality. It is a thinking that concerns itself with details and tends to forget the living context. Over the centuries this approach has been accepted by the West and parts of the East as the only true scientific method. It is perfect for studying the physics of inert, non-alive objects and processes.
Our great cultural mistake is that this method has been applied to living nature, which is very much concerned with quality and life. It has meant we have killed living things in order to study their details. And then we have forgotten that the life is the main thing! Living things are not to be understood only by being measured.
The powerful technology that has arisen from Western Science’s thinking has been used to subdue and manipulate the living world, as we can see all around us. Great advances in medicine, science, travel, and communication have come at the cost of death dealing pollution and weaponry, caused by a thinking that smashes matter to extract energy while throwing away wastes.
Inventions are always similar to the type of thinking that creates them. They have to be. Dead thinking must create death. Like creates like. And living thinking will create life.
There are other accurate systematic methods for studying the living organic world, especially one pioneered by Johann von Goethe (b.1749 – d.1832), which asks us to develop a scientific
imagination that lives into nature with clear observations through time, resulting in precise information taking quality as well as quantity into account. It is time we seriously took up a thinking that understands living nature. After all, we are embedded in nature, and we can create technology in harmony with it. This is an urgent requirement for this century.
It is time we stepped up from rock-like thinking to a water-like thinking that can create livingly out of nature’s intelligence.
Instead of our culture being fascinated by matter we need to be fascinated by life!
Let us look at a simple plant to get a glimpse of nature’s amazing technical intelligence. So, let’s consider the water iris. Its flower has six beautiful curved petals, three rolling down,three rising up in blues and yellows with a light green stalk and vertical leaves, and a soft subtle scent.
Yet this plant is a small, super-effective factory that:
makes sugars out of sunlight.
transforms carbon dioxide into oxygen.
cleans the water it drinks, passing it into the air.
helps micro-organisms enrich the soil.
has a sublime geometric form.
is beautiful living art, an inspiration to millions.
No technical inventions of human beings can do this.
All of nature’s creations and their deeds, working together, are filled with an intelligence, a wisdom that we are only beginning to understand. Such a perfect and living technical design solution is something we humans can only dream of creating. Yet this is the sort of example we must aspire to.
And imaginative, flowing, metamorphosing living thinking, learned from nature’s way of being, will inevitably create living non-polluting solutions.
It may well be our salvation.
With best wishes
Iain Trousdell Co-Founder and Keynote Speaker Foundation for Water www.foundationforwater.org
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