The development of the contemporary world is characterized by the growing impact of new technologies, which have changed the human life consistently. Science has made a tremendous progress and the 20th century became the breakthrough in the scientific development of the world. The contemporary world is practically unthinkable without the latest scientific achievements and technological advances. In fact, the contemporary science and technologies have reached the unprecedented level of the development and the mankind seems to open new perspectives for its development. The current technologies and scientific knowledge provide ample opportunities for the development of the world and its modification under the impact of humans to the extent that it is even possible to speak about the end of the age of the human weakness and inability to influence the surrounding environment. However, such scientific and technological development has another, darker side since the intrusion of humans in natural process and effects of human activities are not always possible. Moreover, nowadays human activities threaten to the future of the entire mankind and the life on earth at large. The changes occurred under the impact of the scientific progress and technological changes but these changes influenced not only the regular life of people, their environment and their lifestyle, but also they influenced the philosophy of modern people. Today, humans are inseparable from their science and technologies, while scientific knowledge makes people rethinking their values and their philosophy to the extent that the very question of human existence and human perception of the surrounding world is changing. No wonder, when all myths and deep-rooted beliefs are ruined or re-evaluated under the impact of scientific progress, people naturally ask the question “What the Bleep Do We Know?”, the question which is the title of the book written by W. Arntz, B. Chasse, and M. Vicente. This book provides a different, new view on the life of modern people, their philosophy and represents the original work which makes people think over their knowledge and their philosophy in the contemporary world.
In such a situation, humans naturally refer to the philosophical reevaluation of their existence, its purpose and effects. At the same time, contemporary people cannot always accept traditional philosophical ideas which have been promoted for centuries within some religious or philosophical movements such as Christianity, Buddhism, etc. In fact, people are often confused since the development of science and technologies has changed their traditional perception of the world but it has not solved the dilemma of their existence, while the effects of human activity under the impact of scientific and technological achievements make them think about their own future in philosophical terms. What is meant here is the fact that people attempt to answer eternal philosophical questions, such as who we are, where we come from and where we are going to, from the position of the modern age having a strong scientific background which affects not only human knowledge but also their perception of the surrounding world and human place in it.
In this respect, the book “What the Bleep Do We Know” written by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse, and Mark Vicente is particularly noteworthy because the authors attempted to view the achievements of the contemporary science from a different angle and, what is more, they attempted to find new ways of the application of the contemporary scientific knowledge to better understand the human essence and the essence of human existence as well as the possibility of change of human perception of the surrounding world on the basis of the achievements of the modern technology and scientific knowledge. However, the book does not evoke homogeneous perception among the audience since ideas developed by the authors, being quite original and noteworthy, may be severely criticized from purely scientific point of view.
Nevertheless, the book gives a kind of insight on the contemporary science. In fact, it suggests an alternative view on human scientific knowledge and its impact on human perception of the surrounding world and reality at large.
Basically, the development of the contemporary science has changed the contemporary world dramatically and people lost their faith in traditional concepts such as various deities or some supernatural powers. One of the consequences of such a shift in the philosophical and religious perception of the surrounding reality and humans themselves was the loss of identity and the lack of spirituality. To put it more precisely, the development of new technologies and scientific discoveries and achievements, such as quantum physics, which occupies one of the central places in the book “What the Bleep Do We Know”, contributed considerably to the destruction of myths and traditional philosophical and religious stereotypes that have defined the life of people for centuries.
For instance, it is not a secret that Christianity, which is still one of the major religions in the world, has started to lose its popularity, while the number of atheist is constantly growing. As a result, lose their traditional philosophical basis which guided them in their life in the past. What is meant here is the fact that traditional values and norms are devaluated, religious myths are debunked and people simple get lost in the contemporary world. This trend is apparently determined by the growing role of science which is the engine of the devaluation of traditional religious and, therefore, philosophical concepts because religion was traditionally closely interrelated with religion and these concepts were, as a rule, intertwined. In contrast, nowadays, religion becomes less and less popular but, at the same time, the modern science, having traditional religious myths debunked, can hardly suggest a plausible alternative that would explain to large of people the essence of their existence, the origin and sense of human existence.
In such a situation, the authors of the book attempted to adapt the contemporary scientific achievement and develop a kind of new philosophy that could explain in philosophical terms the essence of human existence and the surrounding reality which, according to the authors of the book, is created by people themselves. To put it more precisely, one of the major themes raised by the authors of the book is based on the idea that people create their own reality. In fact, the attempt to promote this idea and support it by the contemporary scientific knowledge may be explained by the intention of the authors to find a new, practical application to the contemporary science and give the new way of the development to science and technology.
In actuality, the book apparently attempts to fill the gap between the total rejection of the traditional religious and philosophic beliefs and the inability of the contemporary science in its pure form to give people some philosophical basis which could give answers to major philosophic questions disturbing mankind. In such a way, the book basically targets at the adaptation of the scientific achievements and scientific knowledge to create a new philosophy which could guide people and which could explain them the essence of human existence and surrounding reality. Consequently, it is possible to estimate that the authors attempt to make science a kind of alternative to traditional religions. The fact that they often tend to exaggerate some scientific facts or even misinterpret them proves that they want to use science as the basis of the new philosophy, which tends to explain extremely complicated physical as well as philosophical concepts in understandable terms suggesting people a brave new philosophy. This philosophy, in actuality, represents just another movement, which do not actually reflect the essence of the contemporary science or surrounding reality but rather attempts to create a new teaching based on science and not on some religious beliefs, for instance.
To put it in simple words, the authors tend to replace religion by science, but, unlike religion, they do not attempt to use science as the object of worship, which could define the lifestyle of people or their behavior. Instead, they attempt to explain people the essence of their existence and their own perception of the surrounding world. At the same time, it should be pointed out such a practical implementation of science basically refers to philosophy than pure science because assumptions and ideas developed by the author are quite arguable from scientific point of view. Nevertheless, the ideas developed in the book, which the authors attempt to justify and explain on the basis of the contemporary scientific knowledge, are quite popular and may misguide people because they may be deceived by misinterpretation of scientific facts and theories of the authors of the book.
However, it is important avoid underestimation the significance of the book in the development of the new philosophy, which actually stimulates the creation of the New Age community that perceives this philosophy based on scientific knowledge as its ideological basis. In this respect, it should be pointed out that the authors of the book have managed to practically apply science as the basis for the new philosophy that contributes to the formation of the new community, which perceives scientific knowledge as the source of truth about humans and the surrounding world. Such practical application of science is quite new and, to a certain extent, unexpected because science traditionally tended to distance from immaterial concepts and scientific knowledge was developed on the factual basis, while the authors of the book tends to misinterpret science and make selective choice of scientific facts that meet their philosophy and the concept they promote in their book, which backbone, as it has been already mentioned above, is the fact that the reality is created by human themselves.
At the same time, it is necessary to emphasize the fact that such radical implementation of science to develop philosophy and even shape a new community, such as the New Age community, which evaluate science above all, is quite noteworthy because it indicates to new ways and fields where science may be applied. In such a situation, there is a risk of misuse of science and it may be potentially dangerous to use scientific knowledge as the authors of the book do. In this respect, it should be said that they use scientific facts and scientific knowledge in their own interest paying little attention to scientific reliability of their estimations. In fact, what they attempt to create is just another myth that may be easily debunked by the contemporary science and that does not meet scientific facts.
In such a situation, it is necessary to dwell upon some scientific facts and assumptions developed by the authors of the book, which may be misguiding or, at least, scientifically arguable, while consequences of the further development of these false concepts and their transformation into the new philosophy or ideology may lead to unpredictable effects. First of all, it should be said that the book is often misguiding and the extent to which the authors misinterpret science may vary from some arguable points to the absolute nonsense. For instance, the book illustrates the uncertainty principle with a bouncing basketball being in several places at once. In purely scientific terms it may be viewed as some exaggeration but gradually the authors goes further and lead readers to very arguable, if not to say nonsense, assumptions. For instance, the book moves readers to quantum “insights” that lead a woman to toss away her antidepressant medication, to the quantum channeling of Ramtha, the 35,000 year-old Atlantis god, and so on (Arntz et al, 2005, p.177).
Furthermore, on the basis of frivolous interpretation of quantum physics the authors of the book develop some philosophical postulates which have little in common with actual scientific knowledge. It is worth mentioning the fact that one of the central ideas of the authors is the idea that the universe is best seen as constructed from thought or ideas rather than from substance, or else they argue that “empty space” is not empty. In fact, it is possible to continue the “scientific” findings of the authors of the book such as the idea that peptides manufacture in the brain can cause a bodily reaction to emotion, though this fact has not been scientifically proved or, at any rate, it is scientifically arguable. In addition, it should be said that the authors of the book seem to be too focused on the internal world of humans and physical and chemical reactions to the extent that they can define the perception of the surrounding reality by humans (Arntz et al, 240). Moreover, book speculates about the impact of human consciousness on physics and consciousness, while traditional science tends to the opposite view.
Obviously, such assumptions cannot be accepted by the contemporary science. On the other hand, they reveal the extent to which the contemporary science may be misguiding. This proves the fact that the contemporary science is often too distant from contemporary people and attempts of its practical application and interpretation to large masses of people may lead to the creation of the pseudoscience, a kind of which the book actually creates.
In actuality, this means that the authors of the book raise a number of arguable questions which they definitely answer even though some of their conclusions contradict or are criticized by the contemporary science. In this respect, it is necessary to realize the fact that the contemporary scientific knowledge is a very powerful tool that is able not only facilitate human life but it also could be widely used to explain questions which remained unanswered for centuries or which traditional explanations cannot satisfy contemporary people because of their disbelief to traditional philosophies and religions.
In this respect, it should be said that the developments of the contemporary quantum physics contributes consistently to the scientific progress and better understanding of the relationship between energy and matter. However, this knowledge may be inadequately interpreted in practical terms, as the authors of the book actually do. In fact, quantum theory is an essential part of the contemporary physics and generalizes major classical theories, such as mechanics and electromagnetism. This theory provides accurate descriptions for previously unexplained phenomena, such as black body radiation and stable electron orbits. The contemporary science has found numerous practical applications to quantum physics, which is currently applied in the laser, the transistor, the electron microscope, and magnetic resonance imaging.
At the same time, the authors of the book attempt to find new possible applications and use uncertainty about quantum physics to develop their ideas gradually leading readers to nonsense conclusions, from the purely scientific point of view. The similar trends may be traced in the use of the achievements of the contemporary chemistry which contributes to the development of the contemporary technologies, including medicine. However, the authors of the book develop their own hypotheses which are based on some fragments of theories developed by scientists on which simply misinterpret the contemporary chemistry as science.
In actuality, the book goes far beyond the conventional rethinking of the role of the modern science in the world and its impact on human life. As the matter of fact, the book offers a new philosophical view on the world and life of contemporary people. Moreover, the book encourages people to change their philosophy or, to put it more precisely, to find their philosophy in the modern highly technological world. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the modern society at large and each individual in particular have lost the traditional set of values. When many of their beliefs and myths are debunked by the modern science, people have little, if anything, to believe in. For instance, traditional religious values and belief in supernatural power, the God, is out of date and many people are atheist. The development of the modern science wreaks doubts and undermines deep-rooted beliefs of people. In such a situation, people need to develop a new philosophy to set new values and to re-think their life, existence and the world around them to find their own place in this world and balance their internal world with their environment. In this regard, the book “What the Bleep Do We Know?” can be very helpful because the authors help readers to find the new philosophy in the modern, scientific and highly technological world.
Obviously, the book helps to develop a new spiritual ground for human existence which is extremely important after the downfall of traditional religious beliefs and values. In this respect, it should be said that the modern society is deprived of traditional values and, thus, people are deprived of the spiritual ground. In fact, the modern society is the consumerist society, where material values prevail over spiritual ones. The authors of the book have perfectly revealed this trend. At the same time, the domination of materialist values over spiritual ones is the result of the degradation of traditional values and beliefs of people under the impact of technological and scientific progress which naturally stimulate profound socioeconomic and political changes in the society. As a result, the consumerist society needs badly a new set of values and a new philosophy which could have set the solid spiritual ground to the existence of people today. The book “What the Bleep Do We Know?” is an attempt to create such a philosophical ground and develop spirituality in contemporary people. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the problem of developing spirituality in the modern society is subject to debates because this is the burning problem of the modern society. The lack of spirituality and the domination of material values over spiritual ones lead to the degradation of the modern society. People tend to lead the existence of mere consumers whose only lifetime purpose is to consume more and to take a higher social position. The degradation of spiritual values leads to the overall degradation of the modern society, whereas, in a long-run perspective, the spiritual degradation can lead to the downfall of the modern civilization. In such a context, the book is a sort of warning to the modern society that shows the way to the change of the view of people on their life and the world around them. The book offers re-evaluation of existing norms and values to develop new, spiritual ground for the society at large and each individual in particular.
In this respect, one of the key goals or messages of the book is self-help, which people can develop on the ground of the book, key ideas and concepts developed and conveyed by the authors to the audience. In actuality, the authors do not impose their opinion on the audience. Instead, they provide readers with a new, original view on science, world, existence and human life today. At the same time, the authors attempt to help readers to find their own way in life, their personal philosophy. In such a way, the book teaches readers to help themselves. Naturally, such self-help would have been impossible, if there were no detailed researches and philosophical implications developed by the authors in the course of their book. They help readers to change their view on the world and start helping themselves on their own.
On the other hand, it is worth mentioning the fact that the book is oriented on the individual. At this point, it is possible to speak certain paradox hidden within the book. On the one hand, the book promotes the development of new spiritual values and self-help to find a new personal philosophy. On the other hand, the book is oriented on an individual above all that implies the high level individualism as the integral part of the new philosophy. In fact, the authors fail to take into consideration the overwhelming impact of the society on an individual. Instead, they view an individual as an independent social unit which should help him- or herself. However, it seems to be more logical to use the full potential of the society to shape a new, advanced and spiritually reach society, where each individual could develop his or her personality and personal philosophy respectively to his or her needs, wants and inclinations.
Nevertheless, the book “What the Bleep Do We Know?” is a well-organized and it conveys clearly the authors’ messages and key ideas. In addition, the book is written in a simple language that is comprehensible to an average reader. Even though the book involves many scientific and philosophical issues, it is still comprehensible to readers due to the simplicity of the language. In such a way, the authors can communicate quite complex ideas to the audience which does not have a scientific or philosophical background. At the same time, the book has a number of contributors that insures the diversity of views and ideas conveyed to the audience. The diversity is very important, taking into consideration the diversity of the modern society. Therefore, the book is interesting not only for specialists but also for average readers.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the contemporary science and the development technologies produced a profound impact on the development of society and each individual. Gradually, the role of science increases to the extent that human life becomes more and more dependent on the practical implementation of contemporary science. At the same time, the scientific progress contributes to the decline of traditional philosophies and ideologies. Instead, the new philosophy emerges stimulating the formation of the new community which has different views and beliefs compared to the conventional community and conservative part of the society. In fact, nowadays, it is possible to observe the formation of the post-industrial society which views science as the synonym of progress and, what is more, people attempt to practically apply scientific achievements not only in the material world, but they also attempt to develop original philosophical views and promote new ideologies which are based on the contemporary scientific achievements. In this respect, the authors of “What the Bleep Do We Know” may be viewed as representatives of this new type of community since they apply the contemporary science to create their own philosophy in which human existence and the essence of human life and the surrounding reality is explained on the basis of the scientific knowledge. Even though the views of the authors may be viewed as pseudoscientific, it is still important to understand that they indicate to the perspectives of the possible application of the contemporary science as the major source of the new ideology of the new society.
Arntz, W., Chasse, B. and Vicente, M. (2005). What the Bleep Do We Know? New York: Random House.