I have been working for years on the idea that we all have the choice of viewing reality at different levels, with different consequences. Years ago I heard a Nobel prize-winning biologist deliver a lecture in which he said, “The purpose of life is the procreation of the germ plasm.” The germ plasm is the living stuff that carries genes, and yes, this man was a geneticist. Since then I have noticed other people who describe the purpose or meaning of life in terms of what they do for a living.
In the past few years I have interacted with a wide range of consultants worldwide who specialize in the emerging field of Complexity science, or Complexity for short. Many of them view life or reality as complex systems, which are systems composed of other systems such as human organizations or ecosystems. I have been struck by how each person has clung to his own worldview and defended his beliefs or claims based on that worldview. No one has been willing to change his worldview based on anyone else’s claims or statements.
So that led me to a simplified precept, IADOYPOV. This stands for “It All Depends On Your Point Of View.” Each of us perceives reality from a particular point of view that we often hold to in order to avoid anxiety and simply deal with the challenges of life and being.
In college I had a wise philosophy professor who summarized this with the old carnival barker’s come-on, “You pays your money and you takes your choice.” By that he meant that each reality-claim or worldview comes at a price but is indeed a choice we all can make, a choice with multiple consequences. You put on rose-colored glasses and the world looks rosy, whether it is or not.
So now I would like to share my latest thinking about a specific list of alternate views of reality by which one can view the world and its problems or actions, with life consequences accordingly. I would welcome anyone’s feedback or comments on this list:
MULTIPLE LEVELS OF REALITY
1. Metaphysics – Nature of reality, cosmology, ontology
2. Physical Sciences – Physics, chemistry, matter, energy, space, time, molecules, reactions
3. Biological Sciences – Living organisms, reproduction, ecology, zoology, horticulture, medicine
4. Human Sciences – Anthropology, sociology, psychology, groups, management, education
5. Political Sciences – Cities, states, nations, government, economics
6. Systems Sciences – Systems theory, Complexity science
7. Spirituality – Religion, spirituality, intention, faith