Science and Spiritual Wisdom
“Someday someone will write a pathology of experimental physics and bring to light all those swindles which subvert our reason, beguile our judgement and, what is worse, stand in the way of any practical progress. The phenomena must be freed once and for all from their grim torture chamber of empiricism, mechanism, and dogmatism; they must be brought before the jury of man’s common sense.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
We live in the point in time when science is put on the highest pedestal of society. If science agrees with something, it gives it approval to have its place in the world, and if it doesn’t, that something becomes marginalized and is looked in a certain way. Spirituality, for example, is deemed not scientific, and therefore it is placed in a special unprivileged place in society where, although billions of people around the world are practicing their religion, they are not too open about it, as the world we live in today, and especially so in the West, is overtaken by the mindsets of atheism and rationalism.
But let us first take a look at the origin and the etymology of the word science, and how it evolved into what we know as science today.
How the materialistic science hijacked the meaning of science
According to Online Etymology Dictionary, the word science comes from Latin “scientia”, meaning “knowledge, expertness”. In the 12th century, the French word “science” meant “knowledge, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge”. According to Oxford English dictionary, the oldest English sense of the word is related to theology and philosophy.
In the 15th century, the word science started to be associated with ‘experiential knowledge’, and “a skill resulting from training, handicraft; a trade.”, and later in the same century with “collective human knowledge,” gained by systematic observation, experiment, and reasoning.
In the 18th century the meaning of science became “body of regular or methodical observations or propositions concerning a particular subject or speculation”, and since the mid 19th century the meaning of science is restricted to study of the phenomena of the material universe and its laws.
Someone may argue that evolution of language is a natural thing, and that is true, but to remove the original sense of the word completely, which was in use for centuries and millennia, and to apply to it a limited definition that has been in use for only two hundred years, and excluding every other meaning from it, is a clear attempt of manipulation. And sadly it is an attempt that’s been successful, as everything else that is not related to empirical scientific method is regarded with scorn and ridicule.
This puts what in the past was known as a spiritual science in a position where it is no longer deemed science, but a mere belief system. However, since the time immemorial until the present day, the spiritual seekers who were not content with a blind belief did actually take spirituality as something experiential, in the sense that they would do certain spiritual exercises, such as meditation, dream study, out-of-body travel, higher senses activation etc., and would start attaining concrete and repeatable results. These results were not demonstrated with physical instruments, as the latter cannot measure non-physical phenomena, except for those that have a direct effect on the body, but they were demonstrated in other ways, just like many out-of-body experiences and near-death-experiences have been verified today.
And thus, from the 18th century the word science has been restricted to the observable and physically demonstrable phenomena only, leaving out everything else that does not coincide with it, even though the non-physical is as intrinsic part of the physical life as the physical is. Such change probably happened in order to eliminate superstition and decrease the power of the Church (at least on the surface, although the Church has never endorsed experiential spiritual knowledge, as it went against their political agendas and the blind following of their dogma). By so doing, the knowledge that was passed on through the ages in the form of myths, legends and folklore have been frowned upon by the society’s high class, which probably resulted in a good portion of such knowledge being lost, especially the one that was passed down orally.
Two centuries later and we have the world in which science is science, religion is religion and spirituality is spirituality, and naturally we are taught that only the first of these belongs to reason and knowledge, whereas the other two to superstition and irrational.
The Church and spiritual wisdom
The influence of Vatican (the Church) on the development of the (Western) world cannot be overstated. Although the world’s cultures have always leaned towards centralized power, something of such scope as is the case with Vatican has never before been seen, and even today we are likely not in know of the wealth and power that the city of Vatican actually has.
Considering this, it does not seem likely that the individuals in the scientific circles of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries would dare to marginalize the Church in any way. The latter always maintained its high position in society, even among the scientists of the above-mentioned time as well as of today. Other spiritual doctrines of lesser familiarity were not so lucky; just like throughout the ages they were attacked by the Church with the stigma of heresy, so they continue being marginalized and discredited by the materialistic science today.
In the view of many Catholic priests and bishops, spiritual wisdom is reserved for prophets, saints and dedicated monks, nuns and religious practitioners, as long as they are awakened in Jesus Christ and perceive through the eyes of the Catholic doctrine. Though a question arises, what is the faith of the Church in the world ruled by science and corporations?, can it remain as it is now?, will it too be marginalized?, or is it too powerful to be threatened?…
The scientification of spirituality
But despite all the attempts of the materialistic science to undermine spirituality, it is still present in this world, though a fraction of how it was before (which is normal for the age of Kali Yuga), but it is still present. And even though the materialistic attitude and upbringing has made people spiritually disabled, today like never before the information on various spiritual traditions is available for everyone to study. In the past, this was reserved for nobility and priesthood.
And though on one hand we can say that there are more and more people who are open to spirituality, at the same time a great majority of people are spiritually paralyzed, unable to contemplate any great truths outside the scientific paradigm of this age. Such a strange situation has caused what I call a scientification of spirituality, where the Western minds (and by this I mean everyone with the Western way of thinking) can look at spirituality through the prism of science alone. This has caused that great spiritual truths given to us by those beings who were very dedicated to spiritual progress, are now distorted or aligned to modern scientific dogmas, or simply lost in the complex scientific jargon.
One may wonder if such scientification of spirituality happens because it is the only way for the Western minds to express themselves without going against their ideals, or because an attempt is made to absorb the spiritual into the new world view ruled by the corporate science.
The Church of Progress
A true science is the one that is true to its origins, a pursuit of knowledge of reality in which we live, as well as other dimensions of life. In the mainstream science of today, there are of course a lot of real scientists who have an open mind and are unhindered by scientific dogmas. Unfortunately, such scientists are not occupying the most important positions in the scientific circles, but are subservient and follow orders.
The circle of scientists at the top of such a hierarchy is still very much bound by the scientific dogmas that created what a prominent researched of the Ancient Egypt, John Anthony West, has called the Church of Progress. Here is what he said on the subject in one of his interviews:
“…And what it actually is is that it is not based on reason as they promote themselves. What it is actually is the rationalization of their own inner emptiness. They can’t handle the fact that there might be something else, and the fact is that all intellectuals are consecrated to proving that life is indeed as meaningless as their own.“
“….Underlying that contention, which is not science in and of itself, that is just a hypothesis, that is speculation, and what is based upon is protecting their own vision of the world which is that the Universe is an accident, and anything that is mystical or so-called spiritual is hallucinatory, and they have the answers. And these people as far as I’m concerned are more dangerous even than politicians.
“The Church of Progress is the religion of the emotionally defective, spiritually dyslexic, and philosophically deprived. To put it into other terms, a martial arts master I studied with briefly used to say: ‘If you want happiness in this crazy world you do not talk about moon beams to the blind, music to the deaf, and you absolutely don’t talk about sex to eunuchs – they would just get angry.’ And this is what you’re dealing with when you’re dealing with these intellectually-based scientists. They are spiritual, emotional, and philosophical eunuchs, and it’s no surprise when they behave the way they do. Who is surprised when the eunuchs snicker behind the sultan’s back and deride his passions? The problem is that with our Church of Progress, when the eunuchs take over the palace and call their terrible disability reason, then the empire is cooked.”
~ John Anthony West
Fortunately for the world, more and more scientists are emerging who see the fallacy in the Church of Progress and in looking at the world from intellectual point of view only, which is one-sided and defective. One of such is a biologist Rupert Sheldrake, a popular scientist and speaker famous for his discovery of Morphic resonance, which speaks of a non-visible field that connects creatures of each species, and that through this field knowledge is passed on unknowingly. He wrote a book called Ten Dogmas of Science (or Science Set Free)
Scientific Approach to Esoteric Investigations
In order to arrive to spiritual wisdom, to the knowledge of higher realities and of divinity, we have to use the techniques of experiential spirituality, regardless of what tradition it is, as long as it is a genuine one that leads to the real development along the Path of inner transformation. Therefore, such approach is inevitably scientific, as it seeks for knowledge of reality of oneself and the Universe.
This knowledge is experiential and verifiable. With experience and dedication we come to know it without any doubt; we know it not only with the mind, but equally with the heart – the heart needs to feel the truth and the mind must interpret it by using the intelligence of the consciousness, so that this knowledge can be intelligibly expressed. With the apparatus of the Being we are equipped to use the instruments for the investigation of reality that are higher than the instruments of the materialistic science, as it allows us to see the bigger picture, and it is only through seeing the bigger picture that we can arrive to a concrete view of our reality. Otherwise, we are stuck in the Plato’s cave and see nothing more than shadows on the wall.
The advancement in modern science is without a doubt a good thing. Nobody can deny that without these advancements, our lives would be very different. Having said that, many people who think of themselves as progressive would say that we are at the pinnacle of civilization due to all the advancement in modern technology and comfort. On one hand, that is true, but on the other, are we happier as a civilization? Is our life unfolding equally good as before such advancements took place? Is our mind, our brain, evolving, or is it perhaps devolving? What about our consciousness and our overall spiritual constitution? Could it be that the road we took with the existing technology, was done on the expense of developing inner faculties that could perhaps enable us to communicate telepathically, perceive clairvoyantly, and feel deep truths?
Despite the technological progress, we are still not a peaceful civilization, and if we say that a civilization needs to reach peace between all nations in order to be a true civilization, then we are still an emerging civilization. How long will that process last, and will we ever emerge from where we are, is yet to be seen.
I think it is important to bring back the meaning of science to its rightful place, to its original place, which is “knowledge, expertness, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge”. Let’s not limit it to the criteria of the materialistic science of today, where only someone with correct gadgets or diplomas has access to the world of science, whereas everyone else is excluded. Let’s not limit ourselves due to our ignorance of the potential of the human body and consciousness. Scientists of today should be more open-minded, not being bounded by the dogmas and the atheistic tendencies of many of their indoctrinators. Such close the doors of perception, with exception to the perception of the mind, which is bound by its physical limits.
Like a great scientist of the early 20th century, Nikola Tesla, has said: “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
HDP, February 2022.