Science is, after all, nothing more than the creation of approximate, limited and ever-changing models and metaphors of some aspects of reality, that are often interesting and sometimes (enormously) useful. As such, scientism makes a pathetic religion. But in the 21st century, we want to believe, and the promise of mathematical certainty and absolute knowledge of everything, which underlies the new cult of scientism and feeds off the intolerance (even loathing) we humans have for complexity and for the unknowability of most of reality, is as comforting to the bewildered and anxious minds of today as the old absolutist religions were to those who couldn’t fathom or accept the terrible new, seemingly-unarguable ‘knowledge’ of previous centuries.
In the light of David Whyte’s poem and the information overload that many of us felt at this conference, I was intrigued by the use of the word “hungry” and “craving” which many participants expressed when they described their longing for spiritual and emotional processes that would facilitate their holding megadoses of new and disturbing information. The attendees at the conference represent only one segment of the collapse-aware population, but as a result of my experience at the conference and traveling throughout the country and working with individuals nationally and around the world, I hear the exact same longing expressed repeatedly and almost verbatim wherever I go. If anyone has any doubt that this aspect of confronting collapse is crucial, they are not listening.