Before we discuss any aspect of objective science we need to acknowledge two features of our behavior. The first of these is that we are suggestible. If someone who we deem an authority in any given area of knowledge passes us information, we are in the habit of believing it to be true. We often do so without even pausing for thought. Secondly, because of our mechanical habits, we are likely to pass such information on as if we ourselves knew it to be true.
This is for most if not all of us how our education proceeded. In only a small part of our schooling were we ever required to prove that we thoroughly understood something. In most circumstances, all that was required of us is that we were able to repeat what we had been fed to us. For this reason, we most likely have a number of ingrained beliefs that we accept as facts and that we have never questioned.
For example, in the realm of physics, consider the idea of “the aether.” In 19th century physics, it was presumed (theoretically) that all of space was filled with a substance (or field) that acted as the transmission medium for all electromagnetic waves. Light moved in waves and hence the question was “what is the medium in which these waves occur?” This was a reasonable question because all other waves that had been encountered (waves in liquid, sound waves through the air) happened within a medium.
In the wake of Einstein’s theories and various astronomical experiments (particularly the famous Michelson Morley Experiment) modern science concluded that there was no aether. The world of Physics accepted this conclusion and the aether idea was abandoned.
In his descriptions of Objective Science in The Tales, Gurdjieff states that there is an aether (which he calls Etherokrilno). Quite specifically the book states:
“Etherokrilno is that prime-source substance with which the whole Universe is filled, and which is the basis for the arising and maintenance of everything existing. (P137)
For the person who wishes to investigate Objective Science, as described by Gurdjieff, there is no compromise available to them. Either they accept the prevailing theories of modern Physics or they reject them and accept (as a theory) what Gurdjieff proposes.
The aether is by no means the only point of disagreement. In truth, there are many points of disagreement, three of which we will list here:
- Objective Science regards all cosmoses (for example galaxies, suns, planets, moons) as alive. Modern science does not.
- Objective Science defines all life in terms of three foods (normal food, breath, and impressions), implying that although we may not see how, planets eat, breathe and perceive. Modern science has no “official” definition of what constitutes life but tends to think in terms of open systems that can maintain homeostasis (a steady-state) and have a life cycle.
- Objective Science defines an atom as the smallest particle of something that retains all its properties, including its psychological properties. Modern science defines atoms entirely in terms of chemical elements (as illustrated in the Periodic Table). It does not conceive of such atoms as having psychological properties, as that would imply that they had a mind of some kind.
In general, Objective Science models the universe as being composed of living “cosmoses,” and substances that exist within cosmoses that pass from one cosmos to another, (and may be composed of lesser cosmoses) and modern science does not.
There are thus many fundamental differences between the two, perhaps the most important one being that Objective Science considers the universe itself to be alive at every level whereas modern science thinks of life only in terms of creatures near to the level of man.
Why It Matters
This is not about disputing the theories and beliefs of modern science. Even if we are convinced of the rightness of Objective Science we can no more demonstrate its correctness to someone else than can a representative of modern science prove his own view. It is about realizing that there can be no productive debate between the two sides.
This naturally leads us to ponder about what value modern science has for us. In our view, it has or can have considerable value.
In carrying out repeatable experiments the modern scientist is accumulating data that could be valuable for the objective scientist, no matter what the cherished hypothesis of the scientist is. A clear example of this is provided by the extraordinary amount of data that NASA has gathered and continues to gather with its many satellites, measuring devices, and particularly the magnificent Hubble telescope.
If we cannot help but be deeply skeptical about modern science’s Big Bang theory, the theoretical age it has assigned to the universe, and the existence of dark matter or dark energy, we ought also to be grateful to modern astronomers for their data gathering—their detailed mapping of the universe with its trillions of planetary systems and its dramatic variety of stars and galaxies. We have vastly more data than we once had and humanity is, in our view, richer for that.
As objective scientists, we can put that data to work.