Monday, August 19, 2013

Spirituality and Science OR Spirituality vs Science?

One of the most deeply rooted and age old debates in our society is the one between spirituality and science. For centuries, spiritual seekers have associated science with man trying to question the work of God and maybe play God himself, and the Scientific community has given very little credit to spirituality.

I choose to use the word spirituality and not religion because by talking about spirituality and science, I wish to focus on the subjects of faith and rationality, experience and exploration and try to find any connection that might exist between the two. And in this context, organised religion can be kept aside for a while.

Spirituality and science are often seen as opposing concepts and in general people who speak for science are against spirituality and vice-versa.
But when I try to examine the nature of spirituality and science, I do not see them as opposing concepts at all, rather to me they seem to be deeply inter-linked. Rather than being two completely detached and different ways of looking at the world, they seem to me to be two steps of the same process -- of understanding all that is life.

To me spirituality is synonymous with experience. Spirituality and spiritual conclusions/inclinations/faiths are usually a direct result of an individual's experiences and instinctive voices and science is exploration into the logical reasoning behind an experience. So to me it seems that spirituality is the first step of 'being' which is nothing but the act of experiencing life.

And once an individual has experienced, he/she wants to look into the rationality of that experience. To explore and find a logical reason for what the experience of the instinctive voice tells them.
So in this way of thinking, spirituality and science are two steps of the same process of being a human. First you experience and then you try to understand and find a reason for that experience.

In other words spirituality and science seem to be nothing but the two halves of our brains trying to understand and comprehend the unified reality in two different ways. The right side spiritually experiences the world and then the left rational half sets on the process understanding that experience.

And so conflict between spirituality and science in the world, to me, is representative of the conflict between the left and right side of our brains. The key to life in any context seems to be balance, but our world which is representative of our states of minds is clearly out of balance. We seem to be living in a world dominated by the Left side of our brains. And how are we to get a complete and unified view of the world when there is conflict between the two halves of our brains? Only when the left and the right side come together with their understandings and conclusions can we hope to achieve a complete picture of the world by the harmonious use of our brains entirely.

Logic, mathematics, and science gives us numbers, figures and infinite possibilities but one thing science can not do is reduce these infinite possibilities to one outcome. That is where you and I, the observer comes in. Every moment in our lives presents us with infinite choices but it is our choices that reduce all these infinite possibilities to once concrete tangible outcome in the real world.

I very strongly feel that human beings trying to explore life and universe through science without taking the observer/spirituality into consideration will never work. Here is the analogy that time and over again leads me to this conclusion -  Let us imagine the entire universe as one big jig-saw puzzle, and human species being a part of the universe is one of the jig-saw pieces. Now what is happening is that this one jig saw piece called human has pulled itself out of the overall picture and is trying to find the 100% in the 99% of the puzzle, which it will never find. Only when human scientific exploration puts the human piece of the puzzle back into the equation will the puzzle be complete, not otherwise.

Scientific development on a lot of fronts seems to be meaningless, and on a lot of other fronts it seems destructive because we are exploring possibilities of our universe without considering who is exploring?! And why did we begin the exploration in the first place?!
I strongly hold that human exploration on scientific and technological front will find the direction and reason that it clearly lacks currently only when spirituality is rightly recognised as the first step of human exploration and is deeply embedded into our scientific and technological endeavours.

Spirituality and science are not opposing in nature as it might seem at first, rather they are two steps of one unified movement of human existence and one can't be complete without the other; one is blind without the other.


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