|by Jude Treder-Wolff & Nicholas Wolff|
At last week's World Science Festival in New York, some of the most powerful scientific minds of our time discussed some of the Big Questions being answered by scientific advances. What is consciousness? Where is the "self?" How much of our personality is determined by genetics? What was Einstein referring to when he spoke about "spooky action at a distance?" As mind-blowing and exhilarating as it was to listen and learn about the astonishing knowledge available and its rich applications in our daily lives, something theoretical physicist and writer Brian Greene said really got our neurons firing. In a workshop titled "Science and Story: Cutting Edge Discovery For a Literary Public" Greene said that after doing years of research into string theory - which speaks to the possibility of other universes - he would be very excited if string theory was proven wrong! If there are multiple universes, as string theory suggests, what a remarkable development, he said. No multiple universes? This means we have new pathways to go down. He follows the story that scientific discovery is telling. His emotional attachment is to the process. That openness to the truth as it emerges - even if it upends and rewrites the truth we are accustomed to - is the spine of the scientific method.
The power of the stories we tell ourselves about reality, of our thoughts to shape our experience as well as the functioning of our brain was woven into the narratives about cutting edge science at the festival. Research affirms the human creative capacity to change, which is the spine of the psychotherapeutic process. To let go of a story about our identity - or belief or idea of who we should be - that life reveals to be flawed or untrue can be deeply unsettling but ultimately liberating. Change is disruptive and produces unpredictable tensions. But letting go of assumptions that have been proven wrong also means there are new, untried, possibilities we are free to pursue. There are new paths to go down. We may think that we're taking a journey, but its possible the journey is taking us.
Nicholas Wolff, LCSW, BCD, TEP is a psychotherapist in private practice and Trainer, Educator and Practitioner of Psychodrama and Group Psychotherapy.