Monday, November 16, 2009

The Universe has dreamed us up

Systems theory has us moving away from the human/nature duality and thinking that humanity is actually a part of nature. This seems a case of western science catching up with indigenous knowledge.

Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Ilya Prigogine, whose work was in self-organising systems away from thermodynamic equilibrium, argued in his 1997 book that the determinism of Darwin, Einstein was problematic in light of more recent understandings of of irreversibility and instability. Essentially he is questioning if it is possible to explain the world in simple chains of cause and effect. In doing so he is questioning one of the basic underpinnings of modernity.

Indigenous knowledge systems offer ways of developing inter-subjective relationships with the ecological systems that humanity is part of. Such understandings may become vital as we move into a world with a climate system unstable for the first time in the history of western civilisation.

Aboriginal Australian knowledge systems hold that humanity was 'dreamed up' along with and as part of the landscape.

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