Working in the world of science with understanding of the human condition
Science is the mechanism which humans have used to investigate and gain knowledge of the world around them. I have studied and worked in the field of biology since I was 18 (I now have a PhD in Biological Sciences) and have always found the new knowledge that science provides us completely captivating. But with understanding of the human condition now found science becomes even more exciting, a new kind of science is emerging—one that doesn’t deny Integrative Meaning (and many other truths that until now we have had to live in denial of), but rather embraces it.
My background is rather entrenched in highly reductionist, mechanistic science investigating plant disease through molecular biology and more recently I have broadened my horizons to encompass larger genome projects in a variety of different disciplines, but as with all molecular biology this work is carried out in the reductionist mechanistic, and as it turns out denial-complying paradigm.
This is an incredibly fascinating time in human history to be a scientist. It has been 10 years since I first came across Jeremy Griffith’s work on the human condition and my appreciation of this realm has only continued to deepen. For someone like me who is so familiar with working in this micro, mechanistic environment it is absolutely thrilling to be able to understand where all science’s work—of focusing on the parts—fits in to the much larger holistic picture. To be able to see the critical role science has been playing in humanity’s journey and why science has had to be reductionist in order to deny what have been condemning truths—particularly Integrative Meaning, has been a huge eye-opener. As Jeremy Griffith has explained, this ‘grand synthesis’—which is what his explanation of the human condition amounts to—was finally able to be generated because of the knowledge mechanistic science has accumulated. As Jeremy writes in Freedom: Expanded Book 1: The Biology:
“Science is but the final refinement of that ancient quest for knowledge, the discipline the human race developed and entrusted with the specific task of searching for first-principle-based understanding, specifically self-understanding—understanding of the human condition no less. So while, as was explained in Part 3:4, science was an enterprise undertaken by upset insecure, human-condition-afraid humans, and as such has had to comply with the practice of denying any truths that confronted humans with the unbearable issue of the human condition—such as of Integrative Meaning and of a nurtured cooperative, loving past for humans—it was this denial-complying, whole-view-evading, mechanistic, reductionist enterprise, supported by the efforts of the entire human race, that enabled humanity to be liberated from two million years spent living in doubt and uncertainty about our species’ fundamental goodness, worthiness, relevance and meaning.”
It is only through these explanations that I have been able to fully appreciate the incredibly important role that science has played in the whole human journey in finding the pieces of the puzzle, and I am simply in awe of the clarity of thinking Jeremy has achieved integrating all those pieces into his grand synthesis that explains everything.
The latest work in Freedom: Expanded Book 1 detailing the journey scientists have been on trying to explain (or really avoid explaining!) human behaviour is enthralling reading. It is captivating to be able to follow and understand the progression of the theories that science has thrown up to try and excuse our behavior without the real explanation available.
As Jeremy describes:
“....human behaviour is the all-important issue for humanity, for science and for biology in particular, because only by understanding ourselves could we end the underlying insecurities that have caused our species’ immensely destructive behaviour. And since the human condition is the all-important issue for biology, the advancement of a whole series of dishonest thinking about human behaviour by biologists was an extremely dangerous development because it threatened to subvert the real task for biologists of addressing and solving the human condition. Indeed, beyond subversion, it threatened to completely destroy any chance humanity had of completing this task, because the way biologists side-stepped the issue of the human condition was by simply denying it even existed.”
It is indeed ‘an amazing saga of intrigue and counter-intrigue......... a high-drama, high-stakes crime novel’ (Freedom: Expanded Book 1:The Biology).
Living with the explanation of the human condition in my life opens the shutters on a world that I, the scientific community and all humans have previously only been able to dream about. Having this bigger framework is so, so precious and also allows me to context and find true meaning in the work that I do day to day. Understanding the human condition is like having the lights turned on in the most beautiful and interesting room that we have only been able to previously fumble around in the corners of, trying to work things out with the light of a tiny candle.