So — it’s time to tackle holism.
I’m finding, however, that I can’t simply jump into the middle of the story. I need to start with holism’s predecessor, scientific materialism, in order to trace out where holism came from and the special problems it was designed to solve.
In the previous entry, I discussed the associations that each socially-based vision forms with the scientifically-based vision that comes before it and the inner experience-based vision that comes after. These relationships appear simple and obvious to us, because they derive from the built-in affinities that human societies share with the natural world and with the human mind.
Reconciling scientific and inner experience visions is far more difficult, however, because the physical universe and the realm of dreams, hallucinations, and mystical intimations are as far apart on the spectrum of human experience as it is possible to get. Not only do we run into philosophical contradictions if we try to take both of them at face value, but even the seemingly elementary question of how mind and matter interact remains a profound mystery.
And yet, despite these impediments, our abiding conviction that all our experiences must derive from a common source compels us to keep devising formulas that will allow us to regard these two aspects of existence as facets of a single reality.