Sunday, August 7, 2011

Questioning Scientific Knowledge About --- Blood and Economics

It is not difficult, at all---to take into oneself some kind of scientific theory. Two examples: the general idea of blood circulation (which is not intuitive and which we need to have pointed out or explained to us), and the formation of prices by markets, or the idea that prices are formed by markets or some kind of market pressure.

Scientific ideas are ultra-absorptive. I mean absorbed into us. Our everyday lives are informed by scientific theories even though we may not be able to ourselves articulate these theories in words. This is to say that you do not have to be a skilled writer to absorb a scientific theory, but a reader. You only need to be a reader, so the point here is that we absorb or take in scientific ideas easily.

And in this way also those particular orthodox-mainstream ideas and theories that are known as economic ideas. This set of ideas known as "economics," then, informs our whole take on being alive and our whole general attitude. This is our attitude towards our society and being in it---it is very basic, cultural stuff. It is based on thinking there are these "market forces." I have been studying this for some time now; I am beginning to question it. But otherwise we believe the "explanation." One is tempted to say that the  explanation is causing the prices to be established. At any rate, I am not so sure the orthodox-mainstream view of society on economics and price is in fact the truth, and it may be wrong.  (I believe that it is an erroneous explanation of the way in which humans create product items or put them on the shelf and affix prices to them. This radical questioning of our assumed view of how these things word is based on the continuous questioning and study of a lifetime.)
     These economics topics constitute a theory that pervades the science world but goes far beyond that. It is not limited at all to scientists. The basic understanding which as said may be wrong, is repeated by businessmen; and, by all of us. It is repeated not just by scientists, but by everyone.
     It is not far-out to suggest that many of those holding this economic view have a vested interest in it---it maintaining it, which hardly constitutes a reason that it is correct! So, having a vested interest does not necessarily mean it is correct. Although in a sense we may admit that this interest, in promulgating and believing a particular view is, indeed, "economic"---in a some sense.

We do not need to know much about blood circulation in order to take in the basic scientific view either. Again, this is the general view held by most everyone in the society.  Perhaps we remember the pictures and diagrams---from our school days? Note, in this case, that this information goes just a bit deeper than we can cut (so to speak) with the naked eye. In school, new information is now coming in. It is coming in---into awareness---in the form of for example these diagrams of the capillaries and so on. This scientific information fits our prior experience well and is easily absorbed. And without even knowing it we are soon in possession of the scientific "circulation" view. There wasn't much struggle, was there? Now you know more? Do you?
     All of that circulation theory is well and good---in this case I am not trying to refute anything--- but yet we can also say it is one story amongst others. Do you not believe me? Maybe you don't. That there are other stories? But... ...a doctor would know a much deeper, more detailed version. Maybe he knows a different version, and it puts him on a different level, or maybe just a more detailed one and it is basically the same story or same science. I don't know which it is. But if I think of the person with only the basic version of the science I think of a person who received the general idea, probably in school, and saw some pictures of the capillaries and arteries/veins, painted red or blue. Those guys received the basic information on circulation; and that the oxygen (do you believe in oxygen?) goes in, and refreshes the blood, makes it red, etc. He/ she has one story. Does the doctor have a different view? I'll let you ask him or her. I'll admit that generally speaking we could say that these two stories, or levels of the story, added up, amount to one view---of blood.
     I want to go further. What if you went the other direction and had never, ever experienced this new story that replaces the earlier one? Are you the worse? What if you had never heard the new bloody story from teachers at school, in order to replace it in your consciousness, or not scanned the internet or read a book for it? What if you had never taken in the so easily-absorbed "nutrient" of the science theory?
     If you had to rely upon a simpler idea of how blood is relevant to your life, would you be actually be any worse for it? You, as a "primitive," would still know about blood. You would know that you bleed when you are cut. And you would have ideas or feelings about it. That would be clear with neither science nor schoolbook. You would probably have a few other bits of knowledge from the community you live in. Someone else might have confirmed for you what you had suspected anyways, but may not have fully articulated (even to yourself), that it is very, very dangerous to bleed too much---beyond a certain amount. What if you only had a normal, or primitive, or human, or cultural understanding---about what blood means? Would it have made any difference? You would be ahead in some ways, and behind in other ways. You would have a different understanding, not a better one. We regard one particular view, the science view, as superior. Is that justified? Or is it just our view? (It is our view---our ethnocentrism, or our bias.)
     The easily accepted and taken-in version or view entails rejecting a lot of "other" concepts or ideas---other ideas about BLOOD. And now, as I reject the "old" view I have always had (which is the "new" or science view we just discussed), I can "feel" my blood in my body. I never thought of it before today. Now I am doing it! So, after I have discarded something that I have unquestioningly clung to like a monkey with a coconut, for my whole post-secondary school life, I begin to feel out all the "other" views. These are of course the other "blood" views. Other "blood views." Other bloody "blood views." I can feel the "pressure." You can feel like your body is a sort of bag of blood----and it is full of feelings like the feeling of blood pressure. Something like that, anyway. You can pause and do this (you have to stop reading for at least a moment.) All you need to do is turn your mind to it. Be a bloody primitive (but remember: we also learned something about economics.)
     Some of you might not like to hear this. There are some of you who do not want this new information; you are the same ones that don't accept global warming. But by accepting the "received wisdom" of society you have lost access to alternative ideas. The idea of blood circulation replaces other ideas, the other ideas you would have without it.

     So don't be so arrogant. Don't be smug. Don't be so sure of your scientific knowledge. It is not difficult at all to take into oneself some kind of scientific theory. But when we are doing so we are losing access to other things.

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