There was a time when humans believed we lived on a flat earth with sky above us. Much later we learned the earth was round; but we believed the sun revolved around the earth. Much later still we learned that the earth revolves around the sun; but we believed the sun and the planets visible to us constituted all there was. Then we learned that our sun is only one star in a galaxy of 100 billion stars. The we discovered that our galaxy is only one of one or two trillion galaxies in the observable universe. Quantum science now contemplates the possibility of other universes. Here on earth, we thought we were a unique species. Then we discovered we are descendants of the same parents as every living thing around us.
The Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli observes that, individually and as a species, mirrored by others, and by other things, we learn who we are. The images we construct of the universe – and of our place within it – live within us, in the space of our thoughts. We not only learn, but we learn to gradually change our conceptual framework and to adapt it to what we learn.
There is a feedback loop between us and the stories we tell: those stories shape us and we in turn shape them. This is why the scientific method is always preferable to a conspiracy theory, and why good spirituality and religion is always preferable to bad spirituality and religion.
When the feedback loop gets polluted, everyone loses sooner or later.
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