We are glad you found us and we hope you enjoy your stay. Whilst here you may smoke, take caffeine, nibble a biscuit, indulge in chocolate, or, moreover, do whatever you see fit to enable you to feel as relaxed as possible whilst you peruse the features which lie but a few mouse-clicks away. So then, what is this electronic journal all about? What, in fact, does 'prescience' mean? And how on earth do you pronounce it?
Firstly, prescience is pronounced 'pressy-unce', which, after you get used to saying it smoothly, bears a distinctly musical lilt. It simply rolls off the tongue... Secondly, with regard to its meaning, the 'pre' means 'before' and the 'science' bit literally means 'to know'. Which means that prescience means knowing the future. Not that we can really claim to know the future here. But, utilising the current wealth of scientific data available we hope to bring you at least a feel for what the future has in store for us all, especially in the domain of newly emerging ideas and concepts about Nature and human culture.
As the famous Einsteinian quote on our cover proclaims, we are fortunate enough to exist in a Universe which makes compelling sense and which has, through the process of evolution here on our small blue planet, generated we conscious beings. As to why this astonishing state of affairs should be so, Prescience is committed to exploring Nature and Nature's intelligibility as far as is humanly possible and by the use of all means necessary. And one such means is the discussion of radical ideas emerging from both modern science and modern culture.
In effect, this means that the articles you will be reading will be concerned mainly with the leading edge of science and will focus on the implications of such science for our conceptions about Nature and our role within Nature's most subtle schemes. Thus, Prescience hopes to anticipate, and indeed precipitate, the future of human thought.
In this sense then, Prescience will be at the forefront of that most subtle and wily of arts; namely, paradigm shifting. A paradigm is a kind of conceptual framework with which to view Nature and our place within the totality of Nature. More importantly, paradigms are always shifting. Like the Earth's tectonic plates, paradigms can be stable for long amounts of time, but there invariably comes a time when a quake occurs. After a paradigmatic quake, a major and often exciting change in human thinking occurs. This happened for instance after the death of Ptolemaic astronomy, and also occurred after the publication of Darwin's theories on evolution. In each case, the amassing of new scientific data forced a change in certain fundamental principles underlying our conceptions about Nature. In the first case, we had to accept that the Earth went around the sun and not vice- versa, and in the second case we had to accept that mankind is a species adapted, like other species, according to the forces and influences of the environment.
With the exciting advent of the Internet with its concomitant dissolution of boundaries on all sorts of levels, the art of paradigm shifting is set to escalate as we approach the third millennium. Or at least that is a prescient opinion of ours. New ideas, new concepts, new kinds of thinking, all are emanating out of the Net.
Of course, whilst there must by necessity be much trash on the Information SuperHighway, much litter and worthless junk casually tossed on-line as it were, there must also pop up here and there regions or threads reflecting genuine insight and conceptual breakthrough - a kind of glint of dew if you like on the great electronic spidery Web that is the Internet. All being well, Prescience will be just such an illuminating sparkle.
Thus I can proudly say that Prescience aims to bring you features, articles and fictional pieces which are imbibed with radically new perspectives on Nature and the future of our species/culture. The style will be open and will come from the heart as well as from the intellect, although science, scientific findings and the state of contemporary culture will be the catalysts for the inspirational content of Prescience.
This approach of ours will certainly be provocative and novel. For too long, science-speak has been shackled in overtly rational chains which separates the heart and feelings of the scientist from their findings, as if the scientific enterprise were carried out devoid of any intuitive insights, tacit inferences, hunches and so on.
Of course, the strictly rational and unemotional approach of 'hard' science has its purpose and function. Such assumed objectivity allows data to be compared and allows researchers from all over the globe to communicate with one another in an unambiguous and rigorously efficient manner. The resolute face of objectivity also commands large grants and the like, so a practising scientist with an academic tenure to defend is unlikely to stray from the ideological restrictions operating upon his or her work. But all this is at the price of 'real' open commentary free from culturally-sanctioned constraints. Only after dark or after a drink will the scientist open up and say what he or she really thinks. Such is life. Not so though within the realms of cyberspace...
With the opportune potentiality of the Net, we have at our disposal the means whereby a new medium can be generated, a medium in which ideas about Nature, life and our species role in whole caboodle can be freely and openly debated in an essentially non-technical manner. This is but one promise of the rapidly evolving system of computer telecommunication of which this journal is a part.
So then, Prescience hopes to shed light upon the future of human understanding by utilising current research data at the leading edge of science and by reflecting upon the current cultural scene. Be prepared for articles on everything from consciousness, evolution and Nature to Nature, evolution and consciousness (or any other permutation of these three most profound of topics), as well as commentaries on modern culture . Where possible, hot-off-the-modem no-nonsense interviews will be included as well as links to numerous other sites on the Net dealing with the same issues. Be prepared also for sometimes unconventional and even controversial material. Whilst this might seem daunting to some, even a trifle anarchic perhaps, Prescience would have it no other way. Our aim is to innervate, stimulate and nourish the human spirit. What more could one ask for?