Hello, Kernotto, I am with you on this. It seems to be a cognitive bias built into the psyche of Homo Sapiens that we tend to assume progress has peaked with us. Even though we now “know” (or think we know) that the physical universe has a 13.8 billion year track record of producing systems of ever greater complexity, most of us seem to assume that things can only go downhill from here.
I am thinking of an anecdote about one of the great physicists of a little over a century ago. (Maybe one of you reading this can supply the name and a more accurate story? Max Planck, perhaps? I’m relying on a vague memory here). This man is supposed to have advised an up-and-coming young scientist not to go into physics. All the important stuff had already been discovered. Go into biology instead, was his advice, where great discoveries were still to be make. All that was left to do in physics was a few peripheral unsolved problems – such as black-body radiation. Then along came the Curies, and Einstein, and quantum mechanics, and now here we are, wrestling with string theory and dark matter and dark energy and quantum gravity which posits eight dimensions for heaven’s sake.
As a historian by training I know so many instances in so many ages where people just assume that of course it’s all going to go downhill from here, without questioning how we got “here” in the first place. Maybe now with Integral and second tier and all that we can learn to question this assumption.
While I’m at it, and speaking of quantum gravity, what about the assumption that “of course” there are only three dimensions? 250 years ago no one had any idea that there was more to light than the visible spectrum. Now we know that the visible range is only a tiny part of the entire electro-magnetic spectrum. Why should we assume that there are only three dimensions, merely because that’s all we are personally aware of? Assuming just four or five dimensions leaves room for all sorts of experiential phenomena that are considered “paranormal” or “metaphysical.”
Of course it is entirely honest to say that one prefers to stick with stuff that one can verify with one’s own sensory or intellectual apparatus. The scientific method is one of the greatest achievements of humanity, IMHO. But let’s also leave the door open for all the stuff we don’t know yet, and don’t even know that we don’t know. And let’s be careful not to invalidate other peoples’ experiences in the left two quadrants.
That’s my two cents’ worth.