Friday, April 14, 2006

Research that Connects

I have a new book out, in Danish: "Forskning i sammenhænge", or "Research that Connects".

I argue that the natural and social sciences should contribute more to the development of life and society than they do now. Scientists are much too concerned with publishability and careers. They could become involved by studying the way the natural world is connected or coheres and ways the social world could cohere.

Goethe said: "Verbinden, immer verbinden": Connect, always connect. But in a world of extreme scholarly specialization you cannot publish connectedness, relation, pattern, wholeness.

I go through eight sciences—physics, quantum mechanics, chemistry, biology, medicine, sociology, law and economics—and show how far each is from social responsibility and humanistic concerns.

The major part of the book, though, is my presentation of a promising alternative research program in each: self-organizing systems in physics, Bohm and the implicate order in quantum theory, Jacques Benveniste and his theory of molecular vibration in chemistry, Brian Goodwin and morphogenesis in developmental biology, Roger Booth and his Maturana-inspired take on psychoneuroimmunology in medicine, my own Russell Ackoff-inspired transformative research methodology in sociology, alternative conflict resolution in law and Herman Daly’s ecological economics.

Then, in one chapter, I pull the whole thing together and show how such a vision of science for the human good is compatible with a gentle brand of religion or spirituality. This makes for a view of the cosmos as evolving from a mythical state of unity (prior to the big bang, say) through the diversity and conflict of the present world and, if we set our minds to it, shooting for a state of unity-through-diversity. This state can never to be reached in actuality, but every little step counts, like a Popperian climb towards a still better life in a still more just society.

Finally, I propose in detail four interdisciplinary research projects that would bring out some of the potentials of these alternative research programs.

This is what the next generation of researchers want--science that makes a difference, science for a better world for all humankind.

My publisher:

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