I haven't posted on here for a long time. I hope everyone is well and send my special regards to Captain Kumar who might remember me. I have been in India for most of the last six months.
Recently I have been looking at some of the work of several very brilliant and brave scientists who have come to recognize the severe limitations of Science as it is today, as a lens through which to understand the nature of existence and the human experience. All of these individuals have run into these limitations particularly in relationship to Science's refusal to deal with what is often referred to in Scientific circles as -- "the problem" of Consciousness. And they all recognize that this is because there are a small number of very conservative and very vocal scientists, who are, ironically, like the Catholic Church in the past -- clinging to a kind of orthodoxy based on a set of materialist foundations that hark back to the 19th century, that scientists in general feel they have to fall in line with, if they don't want to be labelled as heretics!!. So these brave individuals are desperately attempting to open Science to new thinking especially in relationship to our understanding of what Consciousness is. One such individual is Rupert Sheldrake who is actually going to be in dialogue with cultural visionary and spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen later this month at EnlightenNext in Islington. I think its going to be a fascinating exploration of a new ground of potential that lies before us, where Science and Spirituality are not at odds with each other, but rather are supporting each other toward a fuller and more whole understanding of the nature of Existence, of the Universe and of our human experience. If anyone has any thoughts to share on this subject, it would be much appreciated...Thank you
Dear Steve ,
At the cost of being misunderstood , I would like to put forth my point of view - Science can never be an aid to understanding the Self or Consciousness for that matter . There is no mystery in the working of the universe , one thing that is forgone is that science is an evolution of the finite by the finite for the finite and none of the rules of any science (Physical,Biological,Chemical Nuclear,Atomic or any other body ) are applicable to the Infinite . Any scientist worth his salt will admit that their rules or postulates cannot be applied to an infinite axiom which may or may not be sentient but is infinite in any case . Progress does not lie in the evolution of science or "adapting it " to explain the infinite - everything fails . The great bridges among the modern minds who are laboring to "connect" science and the infinite are just misleading people and creating more indiscretion in the intellect and degrading knowledge of the self . Without reading Rupert Sheldrake or seeing his Video I can confidently state that he will miss the point by a mile and like all rotten inferior thoughts will vanish without a whimper - of course he may happen to impress a few people who are born with the faculty of Reason but have in all probabilty never used it even once to look inwards . The world at present is going through a tremendous phase of indiscretion where everyone (except a few) are insecure but lack the intellectual strength to even understand ordinary things and would rather prefer "quick fix and Canned siolutions'' off the shelf of a huge supermarket . And any person who is quick to spot this - (rather inadvertantly - due to the gratification they get from seeing their name in print and a few weak intellects who proclaim them to the world ) who is mediocre but suddenly finds himself catapulted into the rarified regions of Mensa soon becomes a guru and other savants . Two minutes of cogitation on anything will give a man ideas - it is their inflated self esteem that makes them waste other peoples time - but well enough since their followers are only more average than average . There is a thing I have seen among the millions who throng around spiritual people and other such entities - the average man is so stupid and insecure but unwilling to take the boldest step of all and is scared - it is enough for them (in a subtle manner of speaking) if a few people have wasted their lives and done sadhana only to verify the existence of God - it absolves them of any responsibilty to do anything more and they can live "in the world as worldly people'' and be very superficial about higher truths .
No intelligent person considers any proof pointing towards the existence of the world - it is a matter of experience to everyone and does not require any other thought . It need not be accepted or rejected - it is a fact that is there - Explanations or descriptions on how god in his bounty/ or nature works has only a very low rating in thought , as it is also a matter of experience - there is nothing new to it - suspension of credulity is a sine qua non for higher pursuits - A man should never be surprised at anything he hears or sees in the world - the degree of surprise in a person only shows the degree of ignorance inherent in him .The lower classes (among the intellect) are easily impressed by anything - Hardly impressing when you consider such followers soon manage to strait jacket their gurus into a specific role and condition him further . What is it that makes me so sure that I am telling the right thing to another person and is it applicable to him are the things that have to be enquired into before one runs off with a eureka into the world . Just another dress to fill the stomach and die. In the east we consider the points of life and death at much closer distances than in the western world, and most philosophies or religions in the east are practiced . I think I have written too much - In a nut shell do not be impressed by anyone who writes and least of all do not recommend things not conducive to the inner movement in man . Nobody is a commission agent .It will vitiate ones own Intellect - it does not matter once the intellect becomes firm in knowledge .
I wasn't going to chime in on this, as this topic has been covered in other forums and my views on it were expressed there. I did watch the Sheldrake video and thought it very good. He more eloquently said much of what I've been trying to express here.
I've known of Dr. Sheldrake work since the 1980's and have somewhat followed him. Since he's a working scientist with wide contacts in the field, I'll have to go with his evaluation of such. I'm sure he could elaborate further in person to any objections people may have. Only so much can be covered in one hour.
A brief response to Joe's "just the facts" mantra he trots out from time to time. Who's "facts"? According to what criteria? Are you implying "just the facts according to mechanistic science"? Are you saying let's shake the life and heart and soul out of everything and put it through test tubes, calculators, atom smashers, electron microscopes, and the like and what filters out are the"facts"?
This seems to be the notion that anything that brings love, joy, beauty, ecstasy, and caring is suspect and has to be fantasy and delusional. On the other hand, if it's gloomy, dour, depressing, disempowering, dry-as-dust, or "Murphy's Law rules" then that's the "facts," like it or lump it.
What of the "Wisdom of the Heart," intuition and the Divine Feminine? Something that left this site around the first part of the year when the "just the( rational) facts" was rolled out and most of the brightest and most interesting people in metaphysics and spirituality that were here left.
I quote Einstein because he's someone who's revered in just about all schools of thought:
"The only real valuable thing is intuition." - Einstein
"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." Einsterin
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Einstein
"The finest emotion we are capable of is the mystic emotion." Einstein
"There comes a time when the mind takes a higher plane of knowledge but can never prove how it got there." Einstein
I 'm not going to go into a long winded debate on all this. I doubt if this post will change anything and very few read these discussions anyway, but thought I'd present another perspective.
Somehow, it seems that it has penetrated deep into the collective consciousness of humanity that science and philosophy are two different disciplines at war with each other and one needs to take sides.Was it always like that?
Amongst the six systems of ancient Indian thought are Carvaka (Materialism) and Nyaya-Vaiseshika (Physics). It is taught to the students even today that without having a good grasp on these, it is not feasible to progress to the higher rated thought systems like Samkhya and Advaita. Much of the confusion amongst the philosophers regarding the nature of consciousness perhaps stems from the fact that they make no attempt to learn about the Physics of it.
What you say is true - it is conditioning and perverse reasoning thet has bought out this dichotomy . ,
we always have to be aware as to where we stand in terms of the evolution of the species(humans) when we consider something . To forget origins is the greatest disservice one can do when assessing present and future scenarios - even today Astrology and other psychic sciences (of the spirit) are not considered as a science . Whereas in the past knowledge itself and how it is accreted and how it works and how it sustains and dissolves were thoroughly studied in order that the more grosser of the sciences may be put to better use . It was always knowledge that had precedence and the very definitions and words used were of such conception and magnitude as to represent - Pure principles. We have become so illiterate that it is not so the case now, Take for instance the word consciousness - if this were to be explained in the English language we would be lost - just as lost as the scientists today. A conscious being first tries to understand himself rather than the world in order that he may understand the world better. I did read a few articles in English which were quite strange - "scientists are still divided as to its nature" etc - how much more ridiculous can life get - It is a divine comedy if you consider the miillions of man hours and brains and academic money being wasted on something that is so essential to understanding the world around us . In Sanskrit (as also in my own vernacular) we use the word 'Prajna" - and the correct meaning is "Knowledge"
Now if we were to consider consciousness as an "object'' of scrutiny or scientific experiments - (I am not revealing too much !!! ) - but it would take something more than the Large Halderon Collider to split something up and arrive at knowledge !!!
You're right, Capt., at one time Metaphysics(philosophy) and Science were united. It was the materialists that broke away, and Dr. Sheldrake gives a brief sketch of the history of this in the video recommended by Steve.
In point of fact, Sir Issac Newton, universally recognized as a genius without which there would be no physics, was actually a Hermeticist, specializing in alchemy, first and foremost. Something the materialists try to put in the background. He left a great many volumes on Alchemy in code(for protection from persecution by the Church at the time), most of which haven't been decoded yet.
If you care to refer to my comments in past discussions, you'll see I very much have looked into the physics of consciousness, as a layperson, and continue to do so. Every Metaphysician I read has also studied the physics of consciousness.
As pointed out by Steve, myself and others here, there are numerous scientists who have looked into and embraced the metaphysical. But, the vast majority have not. It's a two way street, and I think your advice would be better directed at the majority of scientists to travel their side of the street and look into and embrace the Metaphysical and Wisdom Traditions.
Thanks Michael, for a very well articulated position. I am of the view that the philosophers have no right to force the scientists into using investigation methods favored by them or support their conclusions. Should that have been so, Newton himself may have remained a Metaphysicist and not laid the foundation of modern science. Let both of them investigate using their own methodologies. We, the laypersons can only gain by the achievements of each.
I didn't meant to imply, Capt., that you should go on a "crusade" to convince anyone of anything, only was illustrating a point that's been made here before many times. That the dialogue between Metaphyscians/sages/philosophers and Scientists is going on and should be encouraged to pick up steam and expand.
As for Newton, he didn't abandon his metaphysics to create his monumental work in science. Quite the contrary, he considered it an extension of it. It was only later it was separated by others.
I don't think we as individuals need to throw up our hands and sit on our haunches waiting for science and professional philosophers/metaphysicans to eventually tell us "what's what" with life and the universe. If we did, we'll be sitting down a very long time, indeed.
No, we must jump into the thick of it ourselves. Investigate, explore, try out various practices and so forth. And I don't mean just an intellectual investigation. We must find the "living truth" of things and what works for ourselves.
Joe's new Sri Aurobindo quote I can go along with. We need to find not a dead metaphysics or an arid intellectuality, but a life of love, joy, exhilaration, peace, beauty, creativity, discovery, service in our own way and goodwill to others.
A tip of the hat to John Mead!
I don't always agree with the occasional times I catch one of the Aurobindo quotes, but this one certainly dovetailed with the discussion at hand.
Thanks very much for your thoughtful responses Michael. I particularly support your comment of the need for us to jump into the thick of it ourselves, and find out for ourselves, as you put it, the living truth of things.
I do think this is how this entire process we are all sharing in evolves, through us doing exactly what you are describing. Related to this I read what I think is a very fascinating article by Carter Phipps on the need for "generalists" . I won't say more because the article speaks for itself.
Again, if anyone is in London this Wednesday, I highly recommend seeing Rupert Sheldrake and Andrew Cohen in dialogue at EnlightenNext in Islington.
Thanks, Steve, and since most people reading about the dialogue between Dr. Sheldrake and Andrew Cohen here are not near London, perhaps you could inform us of any recording that becomes available of this discussion.
Being a "Generalist" has its advantages and Buckminster Fuller advised something similar back in the early 1970's. I also think that also being a "specialist" in one or two areas has its advantages.
Thanks and I will definitely inform everyone here of any recording that becomes available from the dialogue tonight.
This is very good news. This is synchronicity. As recently I was watching a documentary on the Universe and I wondered why science and religion/ spirituality have such a hard time sharing the realization of life and existance. As I see it Science tells us how things work and what they are about, while spirituality as religion tells us why they are as they are. Now you are telling me that some influential people are trying to bridge the gap between science and religion. Very glad to hear it. It is a difficult thing for people to accept that nothing is solid and everything is ever and all ways changing. People have a need to feel there are concrete foundations under their beliefs whether they are scientific or religious. Realistically most people can not handle the prospect that as we grow and evolve the ideas we were able to comprehend are not as definate as once were. I believe that as we evolve we have changed our perspective and we have a new position to see things from so as we learn to accept that nothing is permanent or concrete, not physical or metaphysical, natural or supernatural. We should say: "as we can know at this point." I feel we should not get on every band wagon of new philosophy and figure this is the last ride either. Cause we'll grow and change, evolve and learn and comprehend something else more later on.