SIdereal, I agree with you that we have progressed enormously in knowledge since the absurd superstitions of early civilization thanks to science. But I believe, as you mentioned, we lack a holistic understanding of the world and our place in it while early cultures did not, and science, a cornerstone of the modern worldview, is partly responsible. The compartmentalization of different facets of knowledge within science is part of this, but also the hubris science instills in man. It makes man feel he is the arbiter of his own destiny, that he is the master of nature, when in reality it is nature who is master of him. This hubris also makes man feel as though all the mysteries of the universe are unraveled, thus killing a reverential understanding of reality.
Are there nubmers 'in' nature... or do we represent nature with numbers which just happens to work?
It's kind of both. The universe is made of patterns and numbers symbolize those patterns. Our minds, being part of the universe, manifest those patterns symbolically, using numbers, among other symbols. Animals have basic quantity measuring ability
so it seems our multiplicitous universe caused us to evolve the capacity for numbers which we in turn observe in our environment
I'm curious, in which book/paragraph does Aristotle say so?
It's just what I was taught in my critical thinking class. However, some searching turned up this: The Nicomachean Ethics
scroll down to The Supreme Good