Ontology and Science

Philosophical metaphysics include ontologies which express magical, mythical, and non-historical narratives and correspondences. The scientific method relies heavily on structurally accurate, repeatable and shareable observations. For the ancient sages, the lines between ontology and precise observations of the world were softer than today.

Ontological knowledge is usually best applied in psychological settings where the storytelling aspect of building identity-narratives and subjective well-being are being attended to. When meaningful narratives amplify equanimity and social effectiveness for those who attend to them, they create “truths-of-practice” which help build new broader realities. These new realities will mimic the base values of the source narratives. This occurs independently from whether those new realities are supported by historical or scientific evidence. They will, nevertheless, seem realistic to those who find them reliably helpful.

What does helpful mean? Helpfulness is the resolution of an information gap such that a past information state is harmonized with a future information state, and the new state corresponds to a sensation of increased equanimity and symmetry. That which is helpful ultimately leads to an experience of fullness and satisfaction in the attending observer. In other words, we tend to more vigorously engage with narratives and the realities that naturally extend from them if they reliably makes us feel-good.

It is easy to ignore that feel-good narratives are actually limiting our ability to cope with urgent circumstances, or adapt to challenges we can clearly anticipate when we are giving attention to possible states.

This is why the scientific method emphasizes rigorous methods over good feelings or bias toward a particular outcome. The scientific modality has many clear successes, but often itself fails when a clear and personally meaningful yet subjective narrative is required. And it also fails as a method when the evidence is inclusive, and therefore, a metaphysical narrative that goes beyond what is supported by scientific evidence is needed. Indeed, it is from such metaphysical narratives that scientific progress is made.

So given the dual horns of the ontological vs the scientific, a wisdom modality seems to be what is called for. The wisdom modality embraces the dichotomy and sincerely seeks to bridge the apparent information gaps in ways that best serve the explicit values of conscious agents engaged in observing, choosing, and acting in morally and ethically complex contexts. The wisdom modality requires an imaginative, socially harmonized consciousness that is practical and iterative. The king-of-free-choice unites with the king-of-communal-service in pursuit of universal justice.

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