The second question we ask ourselves is: Am I applying justifiable scientific methods?
Most people can agree with Prigogine (1985: 34-35) that modern science has been remarkably successful in unlocking the secrets of nature and in utilizing the potentialities of nature, through a strong emphasis on the superiority of reason. The strong emphasis on the superiority of reason has, however, had a reverse side: dismissing all the irrational elements of nature, such as the destiny of humanity, freedom and spontaneity. Dismissing certain experiences that are of vital importance to people as merely subjective can lead to conditions in which these experiences become extremely powerful because they are not given attention.
These statements of Prigogine can be illustrated quite vividly in the South African history of the twentieth century. From early on, African writers have pointed out that the rationalism of Western culture – also of Western missionaries – was alien to the African experience. Political and religious resistance by Africans to Western rationalism can be traced back to early in the twentieth century (cf Van Niekerk and Pauw 2000). One of the slogans during the unrest at South African universities in 2016 was: #science-must-fall (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9SiRNibD14).
At Nova we attempt to use the methods and insights of a variety of sciences to the best of our ability to find solutions. We do so with households in order to reduce the unintended consequences described by Prigogine, and to integrate the valuable contribution that science can make with the totality of life of these households. We strive for scientific knowledge where the understanding with the head and the understanding with the heart (Blaise Pascal) mutually enrich each other, within a given context. We can call that a trans-disciplinary approach.
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