Science vs Mysticism? / Kipper's Game
A Novel
Creator: Barbara Ehrenreich
Played by: wimsey

"As a time Transcendant Idea, I see all our individual and collective endeavours falling into either of these categories. Either we are trying to expand our awareness etc. to encompass new experience and information or we are trying to condense the experience or information and link it to the known in order to compartmentalize it and compress it. As the mystic , we seek by expanding, exorcising our filters and bias and linear logic and assume an emptiness, releasing what we "think we know". As the scientist we seek microscopically, using all our previous bias and filters and linear logic, a void or space in between the bodies of "Knowledge" where the "truth" or unknown must reside. " -- wimsey

Game II Core Wave: "Ancient Ideas in Modern Times" or "Time Transcendent Ideas."

Primary Category

Related Categories

Relationship to Core Wave

"Has the scientist and the mystic always been in opposition in the search for truth.? Did the mystic or the scientist discover and harness fire? Which leader fed his clan better, the great mystic or the great scientist?" -- wimsey

Connection Tunnels

  • Alien Dream Time
  • The Meru Project
  • The Bridge

    Highlight Quotes

    "mystics seek to enlarge the mind. Scientists seek to condense the truth"

    Q: How about that novel you wrote? What was your inspiration?

    Ehrenreich: The novel was a way to think about science, because I had gotten my Ph.D. in biology years ago, and then all that went out of my life in any direct way. And the novel tries to deal with the question, "What is a metaphysics for science? What metaphysical world or universe does science have that justifies the search for knowledge?" These are not things a novel should do - which I guess is what some of the bad reviews were telling me. But in a kind of loopy, thriller way, these are the questions the novel answers. It creates this metaphysics, all through various plots and conspiracies.

    From KIPPER's GAME:
    "Once, years ago, Steve had told her a piece of Hindu, or maybe it was African, wisdom that said that the purpose of humanity was to transport water from place to place ....Actually, Steve had been talking to Maisy when Della came into the kitchen with grocery bags and started unloading them...Della had thought at first this was a riddle or the tail end of one. "What do you mean, transporting water?" she asked.
    "Well,"--Steve wriggled in his chair--"water by itself goes only downhill. You need people, with pipes or pots or something, to get it uphill."
    "Which is where the water wants to go?" Della laughed. She was in a good mood...but Steve was frowning.
    "You mean the water is using us, just as a means of getting around?"
    "Not `using', no one said `using'. I mean like bees from the point of view of flowers."
    Maisy nodded in a way that made it seem that she and Steve had already worked this through. "Bible says the animals are put here to work for us. but it doesn't say who we're supposed to be working for here."
    "God," Della said. "The Bible says God, it doesn't say water." "Oh, it doesn't have to be water, Mom, it could be anything. Rocks. Dirt. Anything that can't get to where it wants to by itself. How would we know?"
    -- Barbara Ehrenreich

    Geographic Location

    How about Rome where the term metaphysics was thought to originate in about 70BC.

    Images and Clips

    Access and Distribution

  • Main Submission

    How many times have I chastised myself because I did no follow my "gut" feeling or my intuitive response. On the other hand, how often have I experienced failure because I didn't focus on the evidence and facts before making a decision. I would guess I am not alone in this and am experiencing a timeless dichotomy. Is there a human preference in technique for the gathering of truths or do we undulate between mysticism and science depending on perceived successes. In other words, the revered leader is the one who accumulates the truths that result in a well fed tribe regardless of his choice in method.


    Barbara Ehrenreich

    From a review of KIPPER'S GAME. Review by Ram Samudra

    Della Markson, who's Kipper's (aka Steve Markson) mom is dumped by her husband Leo. Alone, she moves from day to day in a daze with no apparent reason to exist. In the past, she had devoted her life to raising her son---but he too leaves her. She blames herself for her son's action, but only in the end does she realise that Kipper left her to program a computer game---one that would stimulate the pleasure centre in the brain directly, thus making it the most addictive game known to man. Why bother with sex, or other orgasmic experiences, if the pleasure centre can be stimulated directly. One could do this forever, physically leading the life of a vegetable, but mentally experiencing mutiple orgasms.

    So what is it about the game that stimulates the pleasure centre? Ehrenreich plays on man's quest for knowledge as the ultimate aphrodisiac. This is evident in the way she depicts science as the ultimate learning experience, but carefully hidden from the mainstream populace by camouflaging it as a tedious enterprise. The reason people gather knowledge in this novel is even more way out; it is so extra-terrestrial life forms can learn about us. To summarise: Kipper writes a game that stimulates the pleasure centre, by encapsulating the human experience of questioning and learning, so extra-terrestrials can learn more about us when they come across the game. Puts Gibson to shame, doesn't it?

    Follow Ups

    Thank you for a very interesting and thought provoking post.

    My first thought regarding the distinction between science and mysticism is a question. Is there really a fundamental distinction? Aren't these two more alike than they are different? Perhaps this is because of my natural inclination against confrontation, and toward seeing the similarities in things. Or maybe it is because it seems to me that science and mysticism have at times seemed indistinguishable, and the more science learns, the more questions it raises. Quantum physics is a perfect example of science bearing out what mysticism has been telling us for centuries.

    It's like the debate between creation and evolution. To me, the acceptance of one does not rule out the other. Perhaps science and mysticism are just two sides of the yin yang, and when the yin yang spins, the two are blurred into a single unit, which is a more accurate representation of the truth. For me, considering the differences leads not to how the two are different, but how they are the same.

    This points to another relationship between this move and the core wave. The timeless interplay between separation and unity. Some people are black and some are white but, more importantly, all people are people.

    -- Erik J. Lundquist

    I have always thought of science and spirituality as being the same thing. Why did I just write that. I do think that now, but for many years thought they had nothing to do with each other. Hmmm. Well in the not to distant past these subjects were not as seperated as they are today. I have developed a philosophy about reason and faith. These are two tools to navigate our lives. It requires faith to believe that I am actually typing these words and not having the experiences fed to me by some machine while I lie on a table somewhere with wires connected to my head. Blind faith is far from ideal in my opinion. That's why we have reason. We examine and make decisions about which leaps of faith to take and which not to take. Reason that denies faith is also not ideal. It can only crawl along at the pace of its own reductions. Working with faith and reason together we can make great leaps and be less likely to go over cliffs. Rhyme and Reason.

    -- Robert C. Cohen

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