From Modernity to Cosmodernity

Science, Culture, and Spirituality

By Basarab Nicolescu

Subjects: Science And Society, Religion, Philosophy Of Science, Philosophy, Esotericism And Gnosticism
Series: SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions
Paperback : 9781438449647, 282 pages, January 2015
Hardcover : 9781438449630, 282 pages, January 2014

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
1. From Shattered Culture Toward Transculture
The Christian Origin of Modern Science
Do Science and Culture Have Something in Common?
The Transcultural and the Mirror of the Other
The Transreligious Attitude and the Presence of the Sacred
2. Contemporary Physics and the Western Tradition
Tradition and Traditions
Science and Tradition: Two Poles of a Contradiction
A Possible Bridge between Sciences and Tradition: The Rationality of the World
Describing God’s Being…
Movement and Discontinuity: The Eternal Genesis of Reality
Scientific Thinking and Symbolic Thinking: Icons and Thêmata
A Necessary Encounter
3. The Grandeur and Decadence of Scientism
The Classical Vision of the World and the Death of Man
Modern Mahabharata-like Drama: The Quantum Vision of the World
4. The Valley of Astonishment: The Quantum World
About the Difficulties of the Journey
Planck, Discontinuity, and the Quantum Revolution
The Particle and Quantum Spontaneity
Heisenberg’s Relations and the Failure of Classic Determinism
The Multiplicity of Quantum Values and the Role of Observation
Quantum Vacuum: A Full Vacuum
Quantum Nonseparability
5. The Endless Route of the Unification of the World
Is a Single Energy the Source of the World’s Diversity?
The Final Theory: Superstrings?
The Unification of Heaven and Earth
Can Everything Be Unified?
Everything is Vibration
The Mystery Theorists
Seekers of Truth
6. The Strange Fourth Dimension
7. The Bootstrap Principle and the Uniqueness of Our World
Eddington and the Epistemological Principles
Unity and Self-Consistency: The Bootstrap Principle
Is There a Nuclear Democracy?
The Bootstrap and the Anthropic Principle
Methodological Considerations
8. Complexity and Reality
The Emergence of Complex Pluarlity
Some Reflections on Systemic Thinking
Systemic Thinking and Quantum Physics
Levels of Reality
Is There a Cosmic Bootstrap?
Evolution and Involution
9. The Human Being: The Most Perfect of All Signs
Natural Language and Scientific Language
Peirce and Spontaneity
Invariance and Thirdness
The Possibility of a Universal Language
10. Beyond Dualism
A Stick Always Has Two Ends
Stéphane Lupasco (1900–1988): The Herald of the Coming Third
The Included Third
The Ternary Dialectics of Reality
Triadic Systemogenesis and the Three Matters
Nonseparability and the Unity of the World
The Nature of Space-Time
Is Lupasco a Prophet of the Irrational
The Experienced Third
11. The Psychophysical Problem
Reduction and Reductionism
The Coincidentia Oppositorum and Hermetic Irrationalism
The Core of the Problem: We Are Too Deeply Immersed in the Seventeenth Century
The Most Important Task of Our Time: A New Idea about Reality
New Perspectives in the Ternary-Quaternary Debate
Umberto Eco’s Logical and Epistemological Error
12. From the Quantum World to Ionesco’s Antitheater and Quantum Aesthetics
For a Yes or for a No
Ionesco and the Non-Aristotelian Theater
Gregorio Morales: Quantum Aesthetics and Quantum Theater
13. The Theater of Peter Brook as a Field of Study of Energy, Movement, and Interrelations
14. From Contemporary Science to the World of Art
André Breton and the Logic of Contradiction
George Mathieu and Aristotle’s Cage
Salvador Dali and Nuclear Mysticism
Frédéric Benrath, Karel Appel, and René Huyghe
15. Vision of Reality and Reality of Vision
Poincaré and Sudden Enlightenment
Hardamard and Thinking without Words
Kepler and the Living Earth
Bohr and Complementarity
Understanding the Reality of the Imaginary: The Imaginary and the Imaginal
16. Can Science Be a Religion?
The Clowns of the Impossible
Highlights of the New Barbarity
Between the Anecdote and the Unspeakable
The Sokal Affair: Beyond Three Extremisms
A Necessary Isomorphism
The End Science?
The Spiritual Dimension of Democracy: Utopia or Necessity?
17. The Hidden Third  and the Multiple Splendor of Being
Premodernity, Modernity, Postmodernity, and Cosmodernity as Different Visions of the Relation between the Subject and the Object
Ladder of Divine Ascent and Levels of Being
Toward a Unified Theory of Levels of Reality
At the Threshold of New Renaissance
Name Index
Subject Index

Offers a new paradigm of reality, based on the interaction between science, culture, spirituality, religion, and society.


The quantum, biological, and information revolutions of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries should have thoroughly changed our view of reality, yet the old viewpoint based on classical science remains dominant, reinforcing a notion of a rational, mechanistic world that allows for endless progress. In practice, this view has promoted much violence among humans. Basarab Nicolescu heralds a new era, cosmodernity, founded on a contemporary vision of the interaction between science, culture, spirituality, religion, and society. Here, reality is plastic and its people are active participants in the cosmos, and the world is simultaneously knowable and unknowable. Ultimately, every human recognizes his or her face in the face of every other human being, independent of his or her particular religious or philosophical beliefs. Nicolescu notes a new spirituality free of dogmas and looks at quantum physics, literature, theater, and art to reveal the emergence of a newer, cosmodern consciousness.

Basarab Nicolescu is President of the International Center for Transdisciplinary Research and Honorary Researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research, both in Paris, France, and Professor at the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania. He is the author of several books, including Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity (translated by Karen-Claire Voss), also published by SUNY Press.


"…a breath of fresh air. " — symplokē

"…a profound and groundbreaking book … the intellectual contribution of this book is a form of beautiful, poignant, heart stopping art. It is an intellectual pièce de résistance; a creation that resists and defies orthodox or common conventions and practices (i. e., modernism), thereby making the whole of the creation unique and special (cosmodernism). Take a deep breath and read it, ideally from beginning to end, but even sampling it will change your life and open intellectual doors. " — Integral Leadership Review

"…[a] substantial book. " — CHOICE