Our current understanding of our world is nearly 350 years old. It stems from the ideas of Descartes and Newton and has brought us many great things, including modern science and increases in wealth, health and everyday living standards. Furthermore, it is so ingrained in our daily lives that we have forgotten it is a paradigm, not a fact. There are, however, some problems with it. First, there is no satisfactory explanation for why we have consciousness and experience meaning in our lives. Second, modern-day physics tells us that observations depend on characteristics of the observer at the large, cosmic, and small, subatomic scales. Third, ongoing humanitarian and environmental crises show us that our world is vastly interconnected. Our understanding of reality is expanding to incorporate these issues. In The Universe, Life and Everything . . . Dialogues on our Changing Understanding of Reality, some of the scholars at the forefront of this change, from the fields of physics, psychology, and social sciences, discuss the direction it is taking and its urgency.
Prof.dr. Sarah Durston is Professor of Developmental Disorders of the Brain at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, and was at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in 2016/2017.
Ton Baggerman is a psychotherapist at the GGz Breburg in Tilburg.