I was reading a book about spirituality, and the author went on a tangent about how science is inferior to spirituality. The arguments that followed in favor of this claim were written by someone who clearly has no training or understanding in science. To someone who has an advanced degree in physics, the book’s discussion was cringeworthy. Although most high-school textbooks discuss science that is over 200 years old, modern science has grown exponentially in its discoveries. There’s much more fact now, which previously was fiction.
All disciplines are based on the kinds of questions they ask and the limitations within which the questions can be answered. For example, chemistry, physics, biology, and philosophy ask somewhat different questions. A good question inspires the mind to extend beyond its understanding. A great question stirs something beyond the mind – a passion and curiousity that cannot be fulfilled by the mental, analytical circuit.
Science asks questions that can be answered objectively by anyone – independent of the person. However, answers to spiritual questions are very much dependent on the person answering them and there is currently no way to objectively verify whether that person has any understanding – here, the human body–mind, the nervous system, is the measuring instrument. Thus, spirituality is a description and study of human perception. Spirituality is currently personal for this reason – there is no way to “prove” anything except to feel it for oneself.
Spirituality becomes more interesting when different people document similar perceptions and understandings, which raises more questions than provides answers. I love studying the writings of sages and yogis and compare them.
In everyday language, a theory means a guess. In scientific language, a theory is a model of reality that is well supported by a body of experimental evidence. Scientists often try to reproduce experiments already done to see if they get the same or different results. The bar is high to becoming a “theory” in science. A mere guess in scientific circles is called a hypothesis.
I often see headlines like “Scientists now believe…”. Scientists don’t “believe” anything. Instead, they design careful experiments to measure and see. This is why scientists don’t ask questions that cannot be answered objectively, such as “Why did the universe come into being?” Or “Is there God?” Because these questions cannot be “measured,” they are not scientific. That’s not being inferior. That’s knowing one’s limitations.
The question is – Is there anything we can know beyond objective reality (that we can all agree on)? Here, we enter the realm of human perception. However, people have experiences and treat them as if they are truth. People use their experiences to claim some status without having any benchmarks for the validity of their claims. Others believe them at their word (or charisma) and don’t even want proof. “My gut tells me…” Your gut may not have the honed perception and discernment to tell…. Thus, spirituality is full of half-baked claims spoken as truths – and many don’t care because the claims make them feel good.
Feeling good and feeling God are not necessarily the same thing.
The subjective nature of spirituality will continue to prevail. People will continue to make claims. And many will continue to believe without trying to replicate these claims for themselves. It presents an interesting dilemma. But, science and spirituality were never incompatible.
Spiritual people talk about eliminating doubt. I think that’s poor judgement. If the doubt is based on genuine curiosity and not some deepseated insecurity, this doubt is valuable to being able to study and understand one’s state. Doubt of this kind makes introspection possible.
It would be useful to present objective proof for someone being enlightened vs. another person being unenlightened. Such proof could put many charlatans in their place.
Ancient yogis were very scientific about the observations of their states to try to better understand what they have become. I also study my state because I’m curious – it is not enough for me to live and be lost in it.
And after saying all this, I’ll make several hypotheses about being human (but definitely not stated in scientific terms):
- There are advanced states of perception that make one feel happy and peaceful at the core of being.
- The advanced state changes the nervous system in a consistent, predictable way.
- The advanced state is common to (shared by) others in the same state.
- Advanced states open gates to different modes of perception that are currently called “worlds” or “planes of existence.”
- It will eventually be possible to objectively test for someone being in an advanced state.
- An enlightened being can 100% of the time tell whether someone else is or is not enlightened.
- The methods used and a person’s readiness to attain advanced states all have key things in common.
Should you believe my claims as fact? Of course not. But as more people become enlightened and the time becomes right, there will be a richer understanding of what it all means. I trust in people’s curiosity and interest to become more observant of our human potential and how to practically apply it in life.
I will continue to study, try, test, and retest to better understand what has occurred with me, but I won’t accept subservient acquiescence of others to half-assed claims. Nor will I quietly stand by when people misrepresent and denegrade the scientific method. Those who do should stop taking medications, cease seeing doctors, and throw away all their technologies – get rid of everything that science and engineering has given them by its meticulous studies. Perhaps they can also learn some actual science before arguing about it or distorting what it is.
As for spirituality, as long as the only instrument is one’s perception, it will remain a personal journey. One other snag is that spiritual questions go way beyond the limits of the mind.