Western Science Mimics Indigenous Science

"I'm not a failure. I'm just very good a figuring out what doesn't work."
- Christopher Titus, Comedian

Grandmothers' Home | Si Kazili Home |

To use the fewest words, Science could be reduced to "Hypothesis, test hypothesis." For people who have lived in the same location for 10,000 years, the process loses its formality as the gained knowledge is handed down through the generations. The science hides in plain sight within the language (which is relative, not linear) and culture. The offspring learn experientially from skilled specialists within the container of a relational worldview. Highly adaptive people, the imposed English language and the restrictive word "tradition" are inadequate. The Lummi word "schlangen" (way of life) and "tradition" are not equal.

Needless to say, immigrants into their land were unable to see the invisible science or appreciate the culture. Most expected the land and the people to adapt to them. Some were intrigued. The US constitution was informed by the Haudenosaunee who taught the fledgling Congress about psychology, diplomacy and governance. But, in general, Euro-Americans continued this devaluation of other Sciences with immigrants who arrived later from Europe and other parts of the world.

Despite good pure investigative science in America, a large portion of science is devoted to economic production. And since business managers request the public schools produce students with traits they can use economically, this is where you see schools and society adapting to business science models. The largest productivity jump came with the assembly line. Tasks were broken down into the smallest independent task performed in regulated time periods. And it rippled out into schools adopting school bells and periods and fragmenting society into special interest groups who do not know their neighbors. The 30-second sound bite has been reduced to 15 seconds. In a land of IM (Instant Messaging) and over stimulating video games teachers compete and perform to keep students focused. Students cheat by parsing information off the Internet rather than read Shakespeare and gain a life-long reference.

But this linear, fragmenting science has had an unforeseen impact on productivity and the bottom line of business. Acclimated in school, adults fear giving a wrong answer and so withhold contributing. Managers turned to studying creativity. Breaking tasks down into smaller parts can only go so far until there is nothing left to parse. There is a diminishing return on productivity. So they throw automation, robots and technology at the problem. But these are only stop-gap measures. The proportion of returns continues to diminish.

Beginning in the 1950's a "new" business science began to be studied. Becoming more common now and currently called Systems Thinking or Systems Learning it is still is resisted or not readily adopted. Sometimes unlearning science is difficult. Systems Learning uses the relational worldview. We have come full circle and now Indigenous Science doesn't look so "primitive."



Integrated & Invisible School

"Native Science: a body of knowledge gathered, evolved, and held collectively by the worlds' Indigenous peoples and passed orally from generation to generation since pre-history. … dismissed as 'primitive' … it continues to prove itself to be quite sophisticated and complex." 

Rose von Thater-Braan, Native Science Center

Schlangen and Tradition are not equal.

Understanding the differences between relational worldview and linear worldview is the first step to understanding the stresses a dual-culture person, one who has a foot in two worlds, undergoes.