The Modern Story of Realism
If I ask are you a realist or an idealist, you will probably consider your basic approach to life. The realists live more cautiously or even pessimistically, while the idealists see the bright side, spotting silver linings in every cloud.
Philosophically, however, I’m trying to get at a bigger question: what is the fundamental nature of reality? Put most simply, what came first, God or the atom? Dean Radin, chief scientist of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, addresses this question by contrasting two philosophical positions taken throughout history, realism and idealism. The realists believe that the basic building blocks of reality are physical bits that we call atoms and molecules. Billions of years of random mixing of material elements resulted in the lucky strike of not only a habitable planet, but an increasingly complex evolutionary ladder that has culminated in the miracle of human personality and reflectivity that we call mind, awareness or consciousness. This certainly is the current cosmological story underpinning modern civilization. Continue reading