Saw this video today and thought I'd put it out there for everyone. Some interesting thoughts
OK then, here comes some more detailed discussion from my side.
In this article the author uses the following pairs of terms:
a) Natural and supernatural events
b) Scientific and non-scientific concepts
c) Explained and unexplained things
d) Belief and disbelief
e) Critical and uncritical thinking
f) Open- and close-mindedness
In trying to explain these terms from a theosophical point of view (as far as I understand it) we should start saying that if we accept nature as the boundless subsumption of all living entities, of all beings, in all worlds, as far as we can imagine and beyond that into the infinitude – then Nature is all there is. According to that no supernatural events exist.
We have to take care here because in theosophical literature the term nature sometimes refers to the revealed part, or even to the manifested, or to our cosm which is a sub-cosm of bigger entities. In that sense there would exist beings, intelligences, consciousness-es and substances that are way beyond of how we can understand these terms, however if we include them into the All (which is not a being because that can never be boundless) then there is nothing outside of this.
What the author actually means with 'supernatural events' are events that can not be explained by considering anything other than the presently accepted forces of matter, the knowledge of which he equalizes with 'scientific'.
Whenever we think about matter we should remember ourselves that presently four basic forces of matter are known, which are electromagnetism, gravitation, strong and weak interaction (nuclear forces). A good practical physicist will split every problem thrown at him into these four aspects of physical matter and try to solve it which is fine and a very practical approach.
However it does not explain a lot of questions: Why does matter exist? Why do we have these four forces and why do they have their respective proportions? Why is matter constituted from something else which we call energy and don't know very much about actually?
And here are some more questions: Would it be possible to have other species of matter than ours that are either constituted from different sorts of energy or in other proportions from the same energy? How would these other forms of matter or substance interact with our matter if they existed? How could we, if these interactions were weak, detect these other modes of substance?
All these questions can be, and are actually asked, and parts of it actually have already been answered, at least in approach.
If we ask these sort of questions it may become obvious that a really thoughtful physicist might have a widely different conception of what science really is. As a personal note I have studied physics and done a decade of fundamental physical research in university, and I never found any physical fact that would have been in contradiction with Theosophy – on the contrary.
Therefore, whenever we talk about some concept to be 'scientific' or 'non-scientific' we must ask about the training and thoroughness of the person drawing that line.
Additionally we should acknowledge that 'science' does not only consist of what we call natural sciences. The other branch is what is called 'humanities' or 'arts' in english, but it might be admitted to indicate that the german term is 'Geisteswissenschaften' which means sciences of spirit and mind.
It would be a full discussion of itself how these originated, split up and criss-crossed the lines of idealism and materialism during the centuries, so we will leave that thought here. The conclusion however is, that SCIENCE, in the truest sense of it, should include every attempt to understand the universe and ourselves, and that should use every ability and device that we have to our command. Consciousness, thinking, logic, analogy and intuition are part of those abilities; and a conception of science that does not accept them as REALITIES is plainly materialistic – but by far not the only way to define what science or scientific really is or at least should be if done responsibly.
It is obvious that different conceptions of science will lead to different perceptions of what can be explained or not. If we include different modes of force and matter as a possibility and assume that the same basic principles rule them all (or rather the essence of these principles) then we should be able to explain a lot more. And if we accept the existence of conciousness as fundamental in contrast to being a side-effect of matter, then even more.
And, of course, the term 'explain' needs an explanation as well. When do we think something is explained? Is it when we can make a drawing of it? What about things (or problems or correlations) that are not bound to forms? Is something only explained if we can reduce it by logical deduction according to aristotelic rules towards something else that we accept as known? There are many alternative logical conceptions ... and what do we know really?
If we can explain things (and prove these explanations to ourselves by living them) there is no need for belief. Belief is not a concept needed in Theosophy, at least as I have been learning it. The only form of belief that I can accept is this: Say I wanted to explore the north pole in a time when there were not much information about it and some researcher that had already been there told me from his experience that I better pack my warm clothes and not start earlier than when I am really prepared – well then I better trust that sort of information if this source has turned out as reliable over years and years. But even the truth of that sort of information and my understanding of it will be put to test sooner or later.
Which leads to critical thinking. It is obvious that somebody that neglects everything that has not been proven by others to him (but according to his rules of course) is good in critical thinking. However his interpretation of the world is the only one that with total certainity will be incomplete, because there is always more. If mankind would have stuck to that sort of thinking we would still live on a plate at with the abyss at its borders. As a consequence: we should always be critical, and try to prove everything to ourselves, but also allow ourselves to extend the realized principles over the borders of our immediate comfort zone.
OK, I needed more than most of you will probably ever have time to read only to comment the basic terms used in this video. Originally I planned to walk through the scene setup, the examples and the conclusions but I'll stop at this point, although there would be lots more ideas of what to say.
It has been such a pleasure to read you thoughts organized and articulated in such beautiful flow. Thanks Hannes. Please do complete what you have to say.
Great video Jon. Thank you so much for sharing!