Excerpts from Introduction to Third Phase Transition: Solving The Anthropocene Crisis

On scientific integration

“The outlived rift between ‘two cultures,’ in bourgeois society’s scientific approximation, is on the verge of collapsing. The study of humanity and of remaining nature, cannot continue as two separate domains, without any determined mutual relation, and without any common understanding. Such dualism, established during Enlightenment, had corresponded to capitalism’s bifurcation of society into economics and politics. Such social dualism, of culminating exploitation metabolism, is no longer possible.

On the one hand, natural science had been engaged, in developing technology for economic purposes. The present radical change, in this mutually economic relation, cannot any longer be disciplined through linear metabolism. Science and exploitation are breaking their segregate social contract. By increasingly representing destructive forces, the economic-political principals of scientific-technological management are losing their authority. They are in a state of unprincipled degeneration. They are piling up walls against scientifically sound discoveries. Necessary and possible rapid scaling up of sustainable development techniques and methods into massive currents, are turned down flat. President Trump and others of the same ilk have lent their wry faces to this decay. The fact that schoolchildren can tell them all off, says more than enough about their loss of authority.

On the other hand, the humanities and social sciences had been treating human relations in a wide and confusing variety of disciplines, from arts to economics. A common standard of scientific rigour, comparable to the one in natural sciences, had been wanting. And no such standard could be achieved as a segregate practice. It never will. Human self-reflexion, alienated from its natural historic context, cannot be achieved, and will not be realised.

Common scientific discipline will only be found in scientific integration, as human cooperation returns to integrated applied and theoretical science. Hence, to where labour had set it free at the dawn of civilisation. This reintegration, however, will take place at an incomparably higher level of human association. Precisely thus will human cooperation reintegrate, within the natural evolution from which it once emanated. Our speciation’s original alienation from the animal kingdom gets rehabilitated. Spiral closes.”

Integration of natural and social science, as well as of theoretical and applied science, is a means to an end. This end must be to integrate science in everyday life. The ivory tower of academia should be mature for listing as an historical monument, together with the gated communities of state security classification, commercial research labs, intellectual property, patents, company secrecy, and banking confidentiality. The third phase transition to globally advanced circular metabolism needs human cooperation, that is truly integrated by generally equitable self-organisation.”

Earth system science is becoming the organising principle, of the tendency towards completing collective intelligence. In the integrated research programme, occasioned by the Anthropocene crisis, there is no longer room for the natural scientist as technocrat. Clinging to stereotypes of cynically ‘objectivist’ detachment, no longer creates consensus. This does not only mean that applied science is compelled to consider its own place, within society and natural history. It even makes the dualist worldview of Enlightenment shatter, as no longer useful in approaching nature.”

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