Ervin Laszlo. Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos: The Rise of the Integral Vision of Reality. Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 2006. Paperback, 217 pp.
The Hungarian philosopher Ervin Laszlo will be familiar to anyone interested in systems theory. The author of over 70 books, Laszlo has recently attracted the public’s attention with his 2004 book Science in the Akashic Field (also published by Inner Traditions). He is one of the distinguished names in the new discipline of integral theory.
Science and its dependent technology have caused much mischief in the world. In particular, ever since the eighteenth century, scientists have given us a wrong view of the universe, which prompted us to discard the ancient notion of the interrelatedness and interdependence of everything. Now, as Laszlo argues most cogently, elegantly, and convincingly, avant-garde science is making discoveries that oblige us to reconsider. He speaks of the “reenchantment” of the cosmos, though, really, what is happening is a reenchantment of our view of existence. The perspective of the “new science” presents us with a truly astounding universe of great coherence in which we, as apparent individuals, are profoundly and inevitably implicated. In Laszlo’s words: “Cutting-edge science tells us that we do not delude ourselves: we inhabit an integral, whole universe, and we are part of it. We are at home in the cosmos.”
In this book, Laszlo makes key notions of avant-garde science accessible to the lay reader. More importantly, true to his systems-theoretical background, he lucidly explains the interconnection between (and hence relevance of) otherwise disparate findings.
What does the “reenchanted” cosmos look like? Laszlo answers this question as follows: “The crucial feature of the emerging view is space- and time-transcending correlation. Space and time do not separate things. They connect things, for information is conserved and conveyed in nature at all scales of magnitude and in all domains. . . . The world is more like a living organism than a machine.”
A vital aspect of this new view is the rediscovery of what the ancient traditions called “ether” (akasha, Akashic Field) to which Laszlo has recently dedicated an entire book (see above). The traditional “ether” has reemerged as the “quantum vacuum” conceived as a “cosmic holofield.”
The author does not shy away from moral and existential questions either, and the reader should not be surprised to find brief discussions on good and evil, reincarnation, immortality, and so forth.
The second part of this book consists of a “roundtable of leading thinkers,” such as Stanley Krippner, Stanislov Grof, and Jane Goodall. Their contributions are basically comments on Laszlo’s book.