Unified Fields

I’m off in half an hour to a conference in Aspen that I’m facilitating, about the potential synergy between the disciplines of science, art and spirituality.

Of course, the insight that these disciplines are related, even interdependent, is nothing new. The Tao of Physics, Dancing Wu Li Masters, and countless other books since the 1960’s have exploited everything from the uncertainty principle to Shrodinger’s Cat to justify spiritual insights. Today’s pop philosophers can’t help but see signs of hope for the human organism in the emergent organization of slime mold, and a predestiny of collective intelligence in the models of evolution proposed by biologists.

Meanwhile, scientists who have ventured far into their own realms often find what they believe must be the fingerprints on God in the stunning self-similarity or precision engineering of our reality. And artists (as well as their curators) find ways of contextualizing their work in the models of science and history of religion. These are the life’s blood of any muse.

What I hope to explore is whether we are all fooling ourselves. Can the behaviors of micro-organisms really be extrapolated to movements of culture? Or are today’s social scientists drawing parallels between related but non-analagous realms? When spiritualists find foundations for their belief systems in the rationality of science, are they serving themselves with new models – or merely concretizing metaphorical belief systems in the literal truthness of hard science?

Has our acceptance of an interdependence between these fields so far served them, or merely blurred the lines between models and reality.

At a moment in history when our models have been mistaken for absolute truths, it may be more important, now, to see where and how these disciplines differ, than where and how they blend.