I am very pleased to announce the publication on Transition Consciousness of the Holistic Science dissertation “How is Flow Life?” by Monica Schwartz.
Monica introduces her dissertation as follows:
In Disney’s The Sword and the Stone, Merlin the wizard sings to Arthur in one of their many lessons together: “To and fro. Stop and go. That’s what makes the world go round.” If this makes the world go round, are we still in touch with this idea, this phenomenon? Are we still in touch on the physical level – like the water cycle, like water flow? Are we still in touch on the metaphorical level – like letting go, going with the flow, and seeing what emerges? I wonder this for ourselves, our societies, and the systems we have built to govern us. Can we adapt; change our course like the roaring river flowing down the mountain, whose path is determined by the surrounding rocks and trees and continuously adjusts? Or have we become the channeled, cement-laden ditch that knows no change but instead is forced to always remain the same, at all costs?
Do we see life as flowing… and can we learn to flow with life?
This dissertation strives to illustrate the benefit, or potential benefit, of the application of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s scientific process to our understanding of the element of water; the action of flow (both literal as in water and metaphorical as in the living of our individual lives); and the disease of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and how our society functions within this particular scientific medical field. Goethe’s process is used to answer the question: How is flow life?
In exploring her subject matter, Monica utilises the Gothian scientific methodology taught at Schumacher College, which itself takes as its foundation the phenomenological approach of scientific investigation taught by Henri Bortoft:
It is through the deep process of conducting a Goethean-inspired scientific research paper as this, that I came to fully realize the role of process in life and in science. Only after completing my entire writing process for this paper, am I able to see clearly that what I was writing about all along was flow. It is through flow that I came to more intimately connect with the methodology of Goethe’s way of doing science. It is also how I came to better understand a fundamental part to the whole of water, which was to be my original topic for this research paper. It is also how I myself transformed into exploring the topic of MS and some new, very controversial science regarding the disease. Flow was the connection all along. It was the thread to which now holds my research together in this single document. Flow was always present as the active absence.
While Monica’s dissertation may be challenging to those versed only in traditional scientific methodology, if read with an open mind, you will really be given a deep insight into the transformational aspect of holistic science, and how it can be applied to the study of such a rich variety of phenomena. Monica describes this process as follows:
It is important to remain open – not fixed on a certain outcome that then prohibits one from actually going through the process of science… or life for that matter. What is the purpose of a scientific exploration that already knows what it is looking for? Wouldn’t we then be conducting science only on the basis of theory, and not observation? Henri Bortoft says in The Wholeness of Nature, “The need is for a new science of nature, different from the science of matter and based on other human faculties besides the analytical mind.” We must, as scientists, through participation, practice a certain degree of openness and receptivity along with the traditional scientific rigor of remaining objective.
In writing about her own disease, multiple sclerosis, Monica went on a deeply transformative journey. This is clearly obvious when Monica summarises what writing this dissertation, and her exploration of this subject meant to her, by relating her relationship with the disease with her relationship not just to water but to “flow”:
In the beginning, I basically started to think in terms of ‘listing’ properties of water, be that they were to be different and new properties not currently being presented in mainstream science, they were still properties. But to actually give a different, more holistic picture of water, I had to enter deeply into one such part – a particular
phenomenon. And, as Henri says, it is by entering deeply into the part that we see the whole. And so I feel I have been able to open the door and shed light on the whole of water, although not able (or wanting to) label it clearly; put it in a confined box; and set it on the shelf as though water has now been completely explained and defined,
and my work therefore done. In fact, it is the opposite. I used participation and discovery of relationship to see more of the whole of water, and because this is ultimately what I was striving for, it would be that there is no fixed, static state of water, but that it is fundamentally always moving, changing and evolving. And the most important thing illustrated through this dissertation is that we must learn (again?) to flow with the flow of water, and more so, flow with the flow of life.
All I can say now is that I hope you take the time to read her dissertation that it richly deserves, and I hope that it will give you a beautiful introduction to the application of Goethian science in practice.
Download How is Flow Life?