Do you understand the two minds: the mind which includes everything, and the mind that is related to something?

—Suzuki Roshi

There have been three great revolutions in the knowledge dialectic of Western science and culture: the Copernican Revolution of the 17th century begat the Newtonian Revolution of the 18th century which begat the 20th century Quantum Revolution. We are now on the cusp of our fourth knowledge revolution: the Noetic Revolution that unifies science and spirituality.

The Copernican Revolution gave birth to the classical relativistic physics of Galileo, Newton and Einstein and, with the Newtonian Revolution, produced the objectivist/‌rationalist social and cultural revolution called Modernity, and with that the Nietzschean subjectivist Postmodern critique of all such objectivist metaphysics.

The essential concern of Modernity: What shall we do about God? Meaning in a Modern world without the authority of God was rather grim, to say the least. A dualistic, separate theistic God was, as Hume has shown us, reasonable but not rational. The culture imaginaire of the European Enlightenment that was to become our prevailing present Western Modern view with its hyper-objectivist Modern Science was supremely and obsessively rational in its flight from Premodern tradition, the tyranny of subjectivity that was the arbitrary non-rational and irrational religious and political authority of the medieval Age of Faith.

This Modern Enlightenment Project, with its ideologues Descartes, Locke, Hume and Kant justified or rationalized epistemological Realism (there is a separate real world out there—RWOT) on purely rational grounds. This is a “foundational” Realism abstracted from its subjective basis in human society and culture; an absolute Realism that attempts to ground all knowledge (including moral and spiritual knowledge) in reason, empirical sense experience and physical nature independently of our intersubjective, linguistic sociocultural and spiritual experience. The Postmodernists have correctly demonstrated that this Modernist project has failed. For the Postmodern mind, Modernity is a “hermeneutics of suspicion.”

Modernist incessant rationality, this idealization and valorization of the sovereign of human objective reason with its obsessive desire to quantify everything, and its underlying preconscious fear of our inherent subjectivity, the “taboo of subjectivity,” produced the adventitious grail quest for absolute deductive certainty—knowledge that is certain, necessary and universal. This unreasonable “quest for certainty” (Dewey) still infects our capacity to reason, not deductively but inductively and inferentially, and to appreciate the inherent stochastic, pragmatic normative, evolutionary, socio-cultural and historical nature of the perennial “Two Truths” that are our scientific and spiritual knowledge of material reality (form) as it arises from its basal primordial emptiness ground (emptiness).

The rational discursive human mind here bestowed upon itself an omniscient capacity to grasp the very nature of the entire physical/moral/mental/spiritual kosmos by arbitrarily reducing the whole shebang to mere objective cognition. This hubristic cultural mass mindstate, rooted as it is in collective deep background Platonic Realism (Plato’s Sophist), Aristotelian two-valued/(true/false) binary logic, and dualistic (either physical or mental) Cartesian Rationalism, has fabricated an unnatural, destructive, impudent scientific and cultural metaphysic of mechanistic “Scientific” Materialism that has split our objective science/‌matter from our subjective mind and spirit. As if we were not both together. This deep cultural preconscious belief in a purely physical, independently real and separate world—the absolute bifurcation of “self” and “other”—has resulted in en masse self-deception (avidya) and terrible human alienation and suffering. How so?

The cultural belief system that assumes that matter is all there is sees value only in material things and creates a merely materialist, consumerist worldview and culture, tragically lacking in non-material, altruistic moral and spiritual values. Here, esoteric spirituality is largely absent, and exoteric religion and ethics is more materiocentric than it is theocentric. And thus arises what I have come to believe are the two primary human evils (ignorance/‌avidya)—relative-conventionally speaking—of the Modern world, namely, Scientific Materialism and Religious Fundamentalism/‌Provincialism. The healing of this perennial bipolar split between objective Science and subjective Spirit/‌spirituality—between body and mind, matter and spirit—is the work of our emerging 21st century Noetic Revolution.

Adding insight to injury, from such a worldview emerges the two ostensibly incommensurable paradigms that we have come to know and love as the mind-body/‌spirit-‌science duality; objective form and subjective spirit.

The “mind-body problem” has been with us since our primeval beginning. Everyone agrees, we have a body, and we have a mind. “Common sense” Substance Dualism and Scientific Realism/Materialism holds that 1) mind and body are both exclusively physical/‌material, and 2) they are inherently separate. So how do they interact (the intractable perennial “interaction problem”)? Twentieth century continental and American analytic philosophers don’t agree on much, but they have generally agreed that Substance Dualism is untenable. So, are mind and body really separate?

Well, subject and object, body and mind certainly ­appear to be separate. For 2,400 years we have dualistically assumed that there is here an essential separation. The price paid is human ignorance of our actual identity with the primordial unbounded whole that transcends yet embraces these two. How shall we understand this?

The classical dualism of the competing subjective spirit and objective science paradigms have coexisted, uncomfortably, since Descartes, Galileo, Kant, Locke and Newton established and codified the Modern Materialist Substance Monism of our current empirical objectivist scientific paradigm in the 17th century. Such an unholy paradigmatic duality between objective and subjective modes of cognition of our being here is still very much a part of our preconscious deep background, intersubjective cultural “web of belief.” This objectivist/realist zeitgeist pervades every aspect of Modern and Postmodern Western and Westernized mind and culture, and has greatly obstructed enlightened, benevolent pragmatic resolutions to the three vexing problems of human existence and human happiness: knowledge, conduct, and governance. What to do (“Being the Whole: Toward the Emerging Noetic Revolution,” Chapter I)?

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