Spirituality are Two Doorways to Knowledge
It is common in this day and age to think of spirituality and science as two opposing forces. Spirituality is often characterized as the “mythical,” and science is characterized as the learned path or “what is real.” These two perspectives do not necessarily need to be thought of as opposites, but rather as different perspectives that can be utilized by people on the path to knowledge at different times or even simultaneously. Advances in science from the latter half of the 19th century to now in the beginning of the 20th century have made us very dependent on scientific research, testing, and results as our guides in life. Yet, we need to consider what science really is. Science is not a belief system, nor is it a worldview, while many people treat it as one. Science is a methodology for learning and/or understanding. We all learn in grade school about the scientific method, in which a problem or a question is first isolated, then researched, then tested, and then concluded upon. This, simply put, is what science is. It is a way of trying to come up with answers. When followed without bias and with the intent of finding the truth, it is a very good method. For it to be even more honest, science should also bear in mind that with effective testing, inconclusive results can also be found.
In a time where much of science is practiced by academia and is dependent upon grants that are ordained by politicians and/or bureaucrats in positions of power within the government, that the intentions behind scientific studies and the need for certain results to yield more funding, it is easy to see how science can often be practiced in a biased manner. To some scientists, the ends justify the means in that they feel that their research or livelihoods are so important that certain results can be fudged in order to achieve some “greater good” of having more research funded. The spiritual world is not immune to such forces either. While government is not usually as involved, the desire to “open minds” or “show people the way” can override good judgment, or good understanding. In both the world of science and spirituality, there are forces at play that can veer one off of the path of truth and true knowledge. This reality is because we are all, human beings, after all and are imperfect. Whether it is endless change in what is really healthy and unhealthy to eat in the world of science, and with all of the endless prophecies that don’t come true coming out of spiritual thinkers, it is easy for all of us to realize that imperfect people come up with imperfect results.
It is hard to consider that any of us wants to completely give up on science. It is undeniable that many advances in health and in technology have certainly made improvements in the quality of living the world over. It should also be considered that spirituality is not deserving of being dismissed either. Some of the world’s greatest works of art and music, stories, and performances have been created by people who weren’t thinking with pure logic, but with spirit and heart. While science is a methodology for understanding and learning, spirituality is also a method for understanding and learning. Spirituality, however, focuses on those things that are more mysterious, unexplained, and on-physical. A world in which love is thought of as only a blast of neurons on certain centers of the brain seems over-simplistic. A world in which life is just a random, freak occurrence with nothing to learn from it or gain from it also seems over-simplistic. While it is accepted science that 94& of what makes up the universe is dark energy and dark matter, which we have yet to observe, test, nor have any way of confirming other than “it needs to be there” for our current scientific models to hold up, ridicule from scientists about the mysteries of the non-physical seems constant.
These two perspectives do not need to be mutually exclusive. They are like two doorways that can be entered, at will, at any time one wishes to, and in many ways, they can both be entered at the same time. One can scientifically test one’s own spiritual beliefs, for example, albeit in a less rigorous way. If one’s spiritual path is not serving one’s evolution and discovery, then, perhaps, it needs to be revised. If one’s logic does not seem to be serving one well, then perhaps certain precepts need to be re-thought and can be considered a mystery for the time being. One should also bear in mind that spiritual teachings and scientific conclusions may not always be based on truth. Certain things, like the existence of gravity, may be pretty hard to argue with, but a blind trust in academicians with prestigious degrees and blind trust in spiritual thinkers who are very convincing with their charisma can always be taken with a grain of salt. As with everything, one needs to be one’s own chief guide. The herd mentality is quite dangerous. It is best to keep in mind that one’s beliefs and understanding can always be turned on its head the next day. The life journey is deepest on the inside, when we search ourselves without bias (which is really hard to do) and with an open mind for understanding, we are undertaking a life quest whose questions and answers keep coming. shutting off the spiritual perspective or the scientific perspective is very limiting if one is pursuing knowledge.
All of the world’s greatest scientists and greatest spiritual thinkers have died without learning everything. As As the old saying goes, “life is not about the destination, but the journey. Yet, in order to journey, one needs to have a destination, and the concept of learning about life, the world, the universe, and the complexities ourselves, we are at least undertaking a journey of knowledge, in which the journey is at least going somewhere yielding a a humbled sense of purpose. For those who believe that life is about enjoying life as much as one possibly can, it is a consideration to think of what can possibly be more enjoyable and endlessly new as the pursuit of knowledge/ If one is feeling stuck and not going anywhere, it is time to start focusing on learning.