Science- spiritualism - a useless fight

Science- spiritualism - a useless fight
Soumyasrajan
November 20, 2011

I am again going in comment mode, as some times, I do. I am publishing as an article, a comment, I had published on the site speakingtree.com (ST for Speaking Tree). This site is a sort of spiritualism Indian style site which includes discussions on spiritual aspects from all religions, Hindu, Islam, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Jewish ideas etc. In almost all sites, ST or Hub pages, Often I see people getting lost in this strange battle of science verses spiritualism. As I have often mentioned in my comments that a good scientist or a good spiritualist does not get lost in this kind of useless questions or battle. Particularly in India this kind of battle does not make any sense. Our spiritualism is not incompatible with today's style of science. In fact both studies have always been encouraged.

The following is a comment written when similar question arose, while I had started a series of articles on studying and building a model of universe according to Advaita Vedanta Philosophy (see references below). One of the persons was questioning idea with a view that there is no science developed from it (even this aspect he was wrong but that is another matter).

It describes my view on general method of understanding in science or spiritualistic aspects. I am also adding a comment in the same context by one of the readers, who writes very interesting comments often. His comment here also gives an interesting perspective on this fight.
My idea of publishing this is not to start a debate about this issue. I am more writing as my own view with expereince of living in world of scientists for a long time.

My Comment
I do not see any difference between two types of people, those who express sentiments implying scriptures being "God" (they may not use word God but the style is the same) instead of properly learning from them or those who use science as God and do only pooja (ritualistic praise) of rational products of science, instead of learning properly from the work. Much more dangerous is a tendency to compartmentalize things -"Hey! this is not scientific" or "Hey! this is not spiritual" and use it as a tool for not doing some thing or to create useless boundaries for self as well as in society. To me both such tendencies look to be the same and cause the same type of harm to self as well as society. Of course using such tools to degrade some thing without understanding, is one of the worst thing a person can do to self and others.

There is no difference or compartment in any knowledge or effort to learn or understand any thing, whether it is scientific or spiritual. Knowledge does not come colored with color of science or spiritualism. Words like "not scientific" or "not spiritual" are meaningless, for those who want to learn some thing. All knowledge is scientific as well as spiritual.

When you want to learn some some thing how can there be a compartment in your learning with some beliefs and reservations. Being skeptic and not doing any thing with skepticism is the easiest path.

Knowledge and understanding does not come, just from reading books whether they are scriptures or science books. Often seeing final products expressed in a rational language (logically developing a subject), one has tendency to start thinking that rational development and language is god for me and all beauty and work lies in that ( both are written rationally with same precision, whether they are Indian style philosophies or science and technology thoughts. Though many of this type of people in India without really going through details pronounce that spiritual books or scriptures are not ).

Common process to learn and understand
But being lost in that rational language or doing pooja of those final products is neither science nor spiritualism. To learn either of them, process is the same you have to spend time to go through rational arguments given, try to understand thinking, vision behind that writing (manan), identify with the problem you are thinking about, or what is being taught to you by your teacher/Guru, sort of just live with it for 24 hours, not allow your mind to divert to other things too much (studyiing with such dedication any thing is indeed spiritualistic action) etc. Try to build and see the natural flow in the phenomena or problem under the study. When you do that suddenly understanding just comes to you and one starts feeling "oh! it was so clear, why did I not think about it earlier."

If understanding is proper, rational arguments automatically get built, as a natural process
At that stage one does not have to bother at all about rational language. The rational arguments, if the thing is right, are built up automatically for both science or spiritualism. Rational arguments are not final goal, they are meant for being careful that vision may not be wrong, feeling that "I know now" may not be wrong .

Rational arguments are generally used only as a test for one's understanding
Rational arguments provide a sort of test for final understanding "Ok, it is right and complete". If one sees a gap in rational arguments, or one is unable to build it up or one sees in the vision or understanding "some thing missing" or "some thing, still not cleared out", then one goes back to the whole process, I described above again.

Learning or understanding is mostly outside rational or irrational arguments
Learning, understanding or practicing science or spiritualism is not in those final products, presented as rational or irrational arguments. It is mostly outside that. Rational arguments or irrational arguments, just provide a language to convey and carefulness as I described above.

This process, I describe is not for some big research in science or big spiritual learning, it is for any thing you want to learn. One has a short span of life. Choice, one has is either to go through this process, learn and do some thing worthwhile in life, using knowledge gained - science or spiritual achievement also comes from such efforts and not just sitting around doing pooja of this or that or trying to criticize others "Hey! that is not rational, not scientific" or "Hey! that is not spiritual, that is against scriptures", "Hey! spiritualism has given nothing to our country" etc.


About last question about finding science in scripture and asking me to post it here, I will just say, such questions and propositions are generated out of ignorance and lack of knowledge about both spiritual ideas as well as science and arrogance arising out of it.

You want to enjoy your feeling just enjoy it.

There is enough in this world to see reality, one has to first be willing to see it, and make some efforts towards it, instead of just playing verbal games, before expecting some thing from others.

A Zen story
I had read some where a Zen story which expresses exactly in right style before starting an argument what a person should do. On being asked by a professor to teach him Zen philosophy, a Zen monk brought a cup of water completely filled. He then asked the professor to use water tap to fill it more. The professor was surprised and asked "How can it be filled more, all the water will flow down the drain". The Monk said "Exactly! You already have your knowledge and reservations, until you empty some of them, there is no space for these different ideas".

A Reader's comment

Animals also have knowledge and understanding
"Humans attempt to understand the Universe around them. They use various tools and rationalism is just one of them. There could be other ways to gain knowledge too. There seems to be some evidence that an impending earthquake can be sensed by certain animals. Many animals seem to have knowledge about certain things - like which plants are edible and which are poisonous, and these seem to have been gained neither by empiricism or rationalism.

True! Rationalism has made a huge contribution to humankind, but it may be dangerous to get fixated on it to the exclusion of everything else."

References
http://www.speakingtree.in/public/spiritual-blogs/seekers/philosophy/walking-on-paths-created-by-our-rishis-come-iii

http://www.speakingtree.in/public/spiritual-blogs/seekers/philosophy/walking-on-paths-created-by-our-rishis-come-vii

http://www.speakingtree.in/public/spiritual-blogs/seekers/philosophy/solving-regress-problem-via-advaita-vedanta-xv

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Comments 31 comments

sasanka7 profile image

sasanka7 5 years ago from Calcutta, India

Yes I agree with your views that science vs spiritualism is a useless fight. There are tendencies to prove philosophy is a science. In any text book you can see the same question has been raised. Similarly the supporters of spiritualists of different religions are eager to prove that they are more rational and scientific than the other religions. Not only that, all the prevailing religions in this planate fighting for the same reason or other. If the goal is one love and peace then why they differ for some trifle questions is also a million dollar question. A couple of days ago I am reading that there are thousand divisions in Christians.

Islamism, Jainism, Buddhism, and many have also some differences. Hinduism accepted differences in peaceful manner excepting a rare occasion. In India, a true spiritualist never bothered for these entire useless questions. Many of them kept aloof themselves from the outer world confining in a cave in Himalayas or other place to know the answer ‘who am I’. After obtaining the knowledge they preached the others. They never raised the question “My God / religion is better than yours. Or it (which he followed) is the only scientific religion than others. It seems that this self proclaim doctrine has created so much clash in between religions resulting fight / differences / hatred to others. Obviously, religions also changed their shapes in the wake of time. Prayers, meditation, worship to God have some unique effects to an individual’s own mental process. It definitely may help to increase mental strength and endurance.

The last line in your fifth paragraph: “All knowledge is scientific as well as spiritual”, needs some more elaboration for me. Thanks for sharing this hub.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! sasanka

Thanks a lot for your thoughtful and very nice comment.

Just as you describe how many good spiritualist work and more or less the same way a good scientist works. Sitting in a corner (he may not go to Himalayas - now a days many spiritualists also can not do that easily) but practically thinks and meditates in isolation even for years.

I have often seen one argument put by both rational and spiritual arguers that rational arguments come from mind/brain (so both of them giving adjective that they are good or bad depending on which side they are).

While is it not clear that even rational arguments are just there, we only discover them by observations and creating a proper environment for them to be discovered.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

about the line "all knowledge is scientific as well as spiritual", I wrote that with the sentiment that knowledge is knowledge- a true knowledge can come from either of these styles but if one is convinced about it and arguments or observations given about its truthfulness look convincing, either of them will use it. Only care a person needs to take is clearly see with what assumptions and what type of observations that knowledge came to light.


sasanka7 profile image

sasanka7 5 years ago from Calcutta, India

I agree with your all three points mentioned above. But I beg to differ to the point that “all knowledge is scientific as well as spiritual”. There are so many debates among scientists, philosophers, social scientists about ‘what is knowledge.’ If we consider it (what is knowledge) very minutely then we find that its definition cannot be determined or accepted universally as like as science. Knowledge can be acquired by various methods like rational argument, scientific method, mathematical proof, experience, witness, observations even meditation, believe and justifications (like Buddha’s bodhi) also. Some scientific theories are considered as universal truth (electrons behave the same way under the same condition) but the knowledge conceived by individual mind / brain definitely differs. In the primitive stages, intellectuals, might be the scientists also, consider that earth is flat but later on it proved wrong. Generally we see the sky is blue but actually it is not. So far we knew that none can travel than the speed of light but in September 2011, it is detected that neutrinos can move faster than light. Spirituality denotes humanistic qualities, unconditional love to others, universal brotherhood (being an atheist) etc including the belief on supernatural aspects as a theist thinks. So, the concept of spirituality may be changed in the walk of life.

Very nice and thought provoking hub indeed. I liked it. Voted up + interesting.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi Sasank

I agree with you. I never meant all knowledge is science or spiritual. I only meant that in outlook and style when they are presented in a language clear enough in rational arguments they have both types of characteristics or attributes, scientific and spiritual.

About "theories are considered as universal truth (electrons behave the same way under the same condition)" - you only mean perhaps that it for every body's use- that I agree.

Otherwise I think just now science does not really tries to find universal truths, they do not have tools to study such aspects, in their current style. They mostly make axioms with aim to study some phenomena and based on observations and then use experiments, meditations (thinking about ideas etc.) and rational arguments to build up theories.

I feel, in the Indian style definition and idea of knowledge as some thing which exists (it is not a product) and When a person gets knowledge or understands some thing it is a sort of manifestation of the basic existence of some that knowledge etc. on the mind. I think that idea is quite appropriate to understand the idea of knowledge.

If one looks from that point of view, I do not see much contradiction in what you say and what I have been saying. Manifestations need not be eternal, in fact generally they are not, while knowledge itself is eternal. I agree with most of the points you are making they look natural in this light.


sasanka7 profile image

sasanka7 5 years ago from Calcutta, India

Thanks a lot.


newday98033 5 years ago

Voted Up!


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! newday and sasanka

Thanks a lot newday. I was any way going to request to you and sasanka both to look at these series of articles, when you have time.

"walking on paths created by our rishis (two links I have given above, I am publishing them on speaking tree forum). I am trying to study in those articles the model of universe built by Advaiata vedanta school. Coming from a different back ground, my language is very different from the language generally used to study such objects.

Both of you have quite a bit of insight into these ideas, and I wanted your comments, reactions, if some thing does not look all right in my exercise, cautioning me etc. I am very much looking forward to it.


skye2day profile image

skye2day 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Hello and Blessings A quick comment In sharing the WORD of God often times the content is twisted or changed so that is why when writing and referring to The Holy Living Word of God it is important to put the scripture verse. The reader can then go themselves to the Bible to see if it has been twisted or revised to meet certain needs for self or self seeking motives or purely it could be an innocent mistake with the writer or one sharing the word. SO it is advisable in my humble opinion that Gods WORD is shared in full context so none get confused with the Written Word of GOD Almighty. Science has proved scripture to be true. As much as they try to unprove the miraculous signs and wonders GOD Almighty has done. The truth of God as relevant to scientific evidence has proven Truth of God Almighty and HIS Creation. AMEN

I finished slave and master conclusion if you care to read the ending.

God Bless always and 4 ever

'He is the way truth and life' John 14:6


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Sky2day for the visit. I liked your comment and enjoyed your devotion visible in the comment very much.

Thanks a lot for reminding me, It had completely slipped out of mind. I will just now read the remaining parts of slave and master. You have a great style of writing, one can not lift the head once one starts reading that story as written by you skye2eye.


newday98033 5 years ago

Hey soumy, that's funny, I had a website titled "The Model of the Univese", now defunct.

As one goes along it gets so simple that life untangles too quickly to keep interest up. Only comedy or art seem worthy of notice. I imagine the folks on your end mention something like this.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks newday. Yes sure they do. If you have somewhere your article, I will like to read it. Your vision is yours. That has a very different style and very, enjoying. I actually want to add at some right place part of your vision as quotations from your articles, comments. That gives clarity to picture. I hope you will not mind that. You have already published them any way.


newday98033 5 years ago

Hi Soumyasrajan,You have my express permission to quote, adapt, or otherwise use any of my writings in any way you choose, with or without acreditation. Since they are your writings as well that seems fair.


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks newday. The same from me to you as well, if any time you need just feel free to use any way you like.


newday98033 5 years ago

Thank you, soumy!


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! newday

Looks like u have disappeared from hubpages? Is there some way to contact you?


Saroj Das 4 years ago

Vedanta has already taught me the 'eight states' of matter. When Science will rise from three or four(plasma) states and explain to its students about the other states, the gap between science and Adwaita Vedanta can be filled.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Saroj for the visit and your interesting view point.


RobSchneider 4 years ago

Thanks for bringing this hub to my attention. Science versus spirituality (or religion), although not stated as such, was a big part of the foundation of my education in America and still is, I'm sure. There was no real middle ground.

You wrote: Try to build and see the natural flow in the phenomena or problem under the study. When you do that suddenly understanding just comes to you and one starts feeling "oh! it was so clear, why did I not think about it earlier."

That is what we often call an "Aha!" or "Eureka!" moment and is so rare, it is sometimes considered miraculous. I could go on and on, but instead I'll just thank you for writing this hub. It gave me an "Aha!" moment!


somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 4 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

I came to this article from the link you left on Rob Schneiders page, thank you!

Ya gotta empty the cup and that is a difficult proposition for most, keeping a open mind on all subjects especially the ones you think you understand can be a daunting task, indeed.

I'm currently reading The Source Field Investigations by David Wilcock and it is enlightening to say the least. However I don't make a distinction between spiritualism and science as they go hand in hand as far as I'm concerned.

Great Hub, you just got another fan! . . . . . Knowledge Speaks, Wisdom Listens!


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Rob. I quite agree with you. I think in India it was not so bad mainly because any way 'religions' of majority consider science to be part of it. Though for quite some time in India, blind imitation of Western ideas became the religion for many and under that influence it was not very different from what you mention at least for some for last several decades.

What you call indeed "aha" or "eureka", I think most of science gets developed by those- though generally small such steps. In Science in today's style any way one generally thinks of only small steps.

Only some times it just becomes miraculous.

One very interesting basic understanding in some Indian philosophical schools , which I like essentially says the following. A knowledge just comes to you, or a work just gets done. That will just happen whether you want or not. Only thing little in your control is to help in creating an environment around you for that to happen (for example if you near a ringing bell any way you will hear it).


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot somethgblue. Agree with you very much "Ya gotta empty the cup". It should be actually a pleasure.

Oh! I also feel just like you, "I don't make a distinction between spiritualism and science as they go hand in hand as far as I'm concerned."

Actually boundaries between many subjects are meaningless, when one wants to learn, who cares what subject it is, just use a tool what ever is needed.

I am also your fan. Just was reading your interesting article on hollow earth.


somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 4 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

Thanks and that tool I enjoy most is my brain, whatta concept!


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Yes somethgbluse and I like your using word enjoyment. I feel the same. All efforts, ideas and tools are basically for some enjoyment (Sanskrit word Ananda perhaps expresses a little better).


E.Rajarethinam 4 years ago

Hi, Sowmyaji, you've wonderfully explained the process of learning. However, why attempt to de-link realization of a truth from the reasoning process that led to it. Wouldn't realization be stronger-founded if it's based on reasoning and verifiable data or observation. Just in case, after attempting to fall in line with the arguments presented in all sincerity and discovering a serious gap or fallacy in it, if I get to the conclusion " Oh, this is how so many billions have been misled so far", similar to considering the earth to be flat, wouldn't it be another dimension of learning? After all, the activity of reasoning in itself suggests that there are possibilities either ways. I could either align myself with truth or mistake a fallacy for truth.

This is just to take forward the process of learning, you've wonderfully articulated above.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Rajerethinam

Thanks a lot for visit and comment. You mention

"However, why attempt to de-link realization of a truth from the reasoning process that led to it.?"

I wonder how did you feel that I have de-linked realization from reasoning or that I have argued that if billions say some thing is right then it becomes right?

In fact I have argued in the article that process of learning involves several aspects including rational arguments.

Perhaps you did not notice these sentences in the article

"At that stage one does not have to bother at all about rational language. The rational arguments, if the thing is right, are built up automatically for both science or spiritualism. Rational arguments are not final goal, they are meant for being careful that vision may not be wrong, feeling that "I know now" may not be wrong . "

It clearly says that for right observations generally rational arguments are easy to build and one does that to check that observations are right.

I describe the process followed in any learning generally.

The example about earth being flat is quite nice, it teaches one to be careful. But at the same time one should also understand that example does not show that what ever one may find just by simple reasoning may always be right.

Culture and style in our country (for more than 2000 years) is indeed opposite. One should go on verifying by each and every method (reasoning is one such method) any statement or previous knowledge and modify it suitably if it is found to be not in agreement what one finds with reasoning or any other method. One should be on guard all the time with the feeling of this ancient sentiment "all knowledge at any given time is just a drop in ocean". That tells us there is a lot to learn and discover at any given time.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Rajarethinam. I am enjoying this discussion with you.

I agree with most of points you make except talk about spirit etc. and your feeling holistic approach may be the only path.

Spirit I wonder - can it be even described properly, what one means by it? Perhaps you mean by spirit existence (metaphysics). That (existence) does form a base of most Indian philosophies.

I feel almost all studies (in science, philosophy or spiritualism) essentially are based on creating and studying some models. These models have some initial axioms formed using simple observations and keeping mind the focus of the study. The study then essentially consists of efforts using rational arguments and observations dedicated to test the model (how far it represents the objects under study) and if needed modify the model.

The reality can not be really described in words. Only attributes and ideas about it can be described. Thus rarely one may argue that model is the reality. It is more of a tool to understand reality properly or helps in choosing a path to understand, study or identify with reality.

If one looks in this manner it matters very little whether model or path is holistic or reductionist etc.

Nor can one make a final statement easily that it has to be this way only. What ever one chooses, one should be always ready that it may need modifications and also that finally holistic may look reductionist and/or vice verse.


Saroj Das 4 years ago

Vedantic science is an extension of our Science. This ends and That starts. We study about sound, but do not study it with reference to the 'ears' and an 'active mind',without which, perception of sound is not possible. There are certain permanent laws that governs the outer world like the 'Law of gravitation or Law of Motion' etc. Similarly, there are a set of permanent laws that governs the inner world. Those are scientifically exposed in the science of Vedanta. Thanks.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Saroj and nice comment with interesting information.


loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

You really know how to put pen to paper, I like your presentation. You have definately givin me food for thought.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Loveofnight

Thanks a lot for so strong appreciation. I somw how missed your comment notice. I saw it only now. Sorry for delay in responding.

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