It is time we explored more radical alternatives. This does not mean giving up on science, it just means broadening our conception of what science is. This issue of Philosophy Now samples the work of four philosophers who specialise in consciousness (including myself). Each of us explores alternatives to conventional materialism. It is early days in the science of consciousness, and time will tell whether any of our approaches will bear fruit. But at the moment the spirit of free enquiry needed to make progress on consciousness is being hampered by an ideological insistence on the materialist paradigm – an ideological insistence not so dissimilar to that experienced by Galileo from the 17th century Catholic Church.
A regenerative culture will have to facilitate the healthy personal development of a human being from ego-centric, to socio-centric, to species-centric, to bio-centric, and cosmos-centric perspectives of self. This means paying attention to how our culture and education system shape our worldview and value system. We need to encourage life-long learning and personal development through supportive community processes and ongoing dialogue, guided by questions rather than answers. We need to live these questions individually and collectively to co-create a new narrative.
As the multiple converging crises we face are creating an accelerated climate of transformation, where change is no longer a possibility to entertain but an inevitable consequence of our collective actions, we are called to switch out of the mindset that created these crises in the first place. In doing so, we undergo a species-level rite of passage that offers us a new and more mature perspective on our intimacy with, and responsibility for, all of life. We are “coming home”
From a historical-materialist analysis of globalisation at this point in time we would try to focus on the contradictions within capitalism, and the kind of potential for alternatives which come out from these contradictions. The purpose is not just to look at how capitalism unfolds at this point and time but also the kinds of resistance movements you will find and especially the kinds of resistance movements which go across different kinds of groups. Very often you will see resistance toward privatization, for example cooperation between trade unions and user groups. It’s interesting how with Standing Rock in the U.S., you have cooperation between indigenous people and other social movements. There are cracks in capitalism, and within these cracks you can see alternative developments and the focus on this potential for alternative developments that will become part of the historical-materialist analysis.