Building on the ideas of the theoretical physicist David Bohm, this paper postulates that Cartesian Mechanism (CM), which is the current philosophical paradigm of modern science, is derived from a more fundamental paradigm – one that is based on undivided wholeness (UW). After a discussion on the nature of scientific theory, the paper contrasts the chief elements of CM, which postulates that an entity or a process (i.e., a whole) can be broken down into a certain number of fundamental parts (e.g., a photograph), against those of UW according to which the whole is primary while a part is a conceptual abstraction from the whole, which the part also contains (e.g., a hologram). The two worldviews are illustrated by simple examples. Two phenomena are then examined from the chemical engineering field. Mathematical models are presented for (a) unsteady-state physical gas absorption in a liquid, and (b) adsorption of a species in a single, spherical adsorbent pellet. The theoretical expressions for the instantaneous rates of absorption and adsorbate uptake exhibit holographic features, i.e., they contain or enfold the entire process history up to that instant. Only under special circumstances, e.g., when the turbulence level is high [case (a)] or at large times [cases (a) and (b)], they reduce or collapse into their standard, widely-used photographic forms (i.e., effect of past history is insignificant). Thus, the mechanistic (i.e., unfolded) order of everyday experience in which events appear to be separated in time and space may be a projection from a deeper (i.e., enfolded) order of reality. This has profound implications for the physical sciences and for present-day humanity that is rent by social divisions of various kinds.
|Keywords:||Paradigms, Cartesian Mechanism, Undivided Wholeness, Adsorption, Gas Absorption|
Associate Professor, Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, New York, USA