There’s an age-old debate going on between scientific and spiritual minded people, both sides arguing for their own right. In this video, I’ll try to reconcile the debate, and show you that in fact both of them are right in their own sense. But before we start, we have to add in two other subjects to the explanation to make the picture whole.
There are essentially four ways humans have tried to get to know reality throughout history: mythology, religion, science and spirituality – more precisely mysticism. Mythology was the one that developed first, but my definition of mythology also includes superstition, otherwise known as folklore or magical thinking.
In the early days, before the age of scientific thinking, people were unable to explain most natural phenomena, because they lacked the knowledge to identify cause and effect relations. This reduced their chances of survival, because many random, unexplainable and surprising events could negatively affect them. That’s why they invented various gods, spirits and demons, and tried to please them throughout their entire lives.
Now they felt more in control, because they could say that if something bad happened, the gods were angry. Now anything they didn’t quite understand happened because of the gods, and if you showed some kind of sacrifice, you could please them, thus your life would be better. This kind of magical thinking mostly died out, but can still be seen today in the form of superstitious beliefs and the concept of luck.
There’s another important distinction to make, and that is whether one examines the inner or the outer world. Mythology and science are mostly interested in the outer, while religion and spirituality in the inner reality. And what matters just as equally, is whether one relies on beliefs or on direct experience when trying to explore the nature of reality. Superstition and religion are based on belief, while science and mysticism value direct experience above all.
Now let’s continue with religion, because that was the second kind of tool humanity developed in trying to get to know the truth. Religion is nothing more than an organized, absolutist and dogmatic superstition that got widely accepted. It’s essence is still about pleasing a god to win favorable conditions in the external world, and when it’s applied to the internal reality, it’s based on beliefs instead of first-hand experience.
Many people realized the weaknesses of religion, and the Age of Enlightenment brought about the rediscovery of science and rational thinking. The debate between science and religion started at that time, and it hasn’t stopped ever since. But science has weaknesses too. It’s the perfect tool for understanding the external world, but for the inner, it is utterly useless.
That’s because science completely dismisses the existence of the soul, and the importance of subjective experiences. It’s only interested in the outer reality, only in what it can touch, examine and prove. And while rational minded people dismiss religious ideas as pure beliefs, the two are much closer than you might think.
If you also consider yourself rational, you more than probably only believe in science, just like religious people believe in their religions. You see, if you haven’t done an experiment yourself, and seen the outcome with your very own eyes, then you cannot say that you have direct experience about that specific phenomenon. If you wanted to be truly scientific, you would have to recreate all the experiments that scientists have ever created, and prove all the theories they have ever proven.
But who would do that? Nobody, because it’s simply impossible. But if you can’t do that, then you have to rely on what these individual scientists are stating about their own theories and experiments, essentially you have to believe them. And we tend to indeed believe them, because what they say usually makes sense. But after all, it’s all just a belief.
Now let’s suppose they are not lying to us, and let’s also disregard their occasional mistakes, plus all the mysteries of the natural world they haven’t solved yet. Even then, the most important weakness of science shines as bright as light: namely, that it can’t explain the inner world, but it’s not supposed to, either. Science as a tool is useless for discovering the internal reality.
It’s just like trying to explore a cave while remaining outside, and pointing a flashlight to its outer walls. No, to explore the inner, you have to enter your own subjectivity, but you can’t just go there blindly. You have to bring with you the light of your consciousness, and see it for yourself.
Mysticism is much closer to science than it is to religion, but so-called rational people sadly tend to put the two together in the same basket. For a rational mind, praying to God and reaching enlightenment both just seem as myths or wishful and irrational thinking. But mystical experiences are not beliefs. They are just as real as anything you can touch with your own hands.
Science is beyond mythology and religion, but spirituality is beyond even science. But don’t misunderstand me! I’m not saying to deny science, just see its inherent limitations. For the external world, science is perfectly okay, but for the internal, for what truly matters, the way is spirituality.
I’m not against science at all, I’m simply against trying to explain everything with it. I’m actually asking you to learn from science, and use its methodology for inner work. The difficulty with that is that you can’t rely on your senses. Science falls into the trap of dismissing the inner reality exactly because of this seemingly unsolvable problem, but you should avoid this!
Just think about it for a second: how does the scientific method work? Well, there are three main steps: observation, inquiry and realization. For example, when Newton discovered gravity, he also went through this process. At first, he observed an apple falling from a tree. There were thousands of people before him who saw an apple falling from a tree just like he did. But there were very few who then asked themselves the question: what causes this phenomenon?
Not only did he ask himself, he also found the answer for the very first time. He realized that the hidden magnetic force of the Earth pulls the apple towards itself. Did somebody tell him to believe this, or did God whisper into his ears? No, the answer came from his own consciousness. He was also not just philosophizing, because nowadays we know that he was right.
The answer came from his intuition, which is the inner power of realizing the truth in an instant. While many people have seen an apple falling from a tree, he was the first who could see it all from a totally different perspective. It can’t even be called an experience, a realization is simply a shift in perspective, seeing the real nature of something for the first time.
Well, you don’t have to be a scientist to have profound realizations about your own nature. Just enter your inner cave, observe it, ask yourself questions about it, and wait for the answers, it’s really so simple. In other words, observe your bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions and other inner experiences. Proceed with self-inquiry, and ask yourself: who am I, what is my nature?
Keep observing and asking until you become a true inner explorer, a scientist of the soul, and sooner or later, you’ll have those realizations that the mystics are speaking about. When a realization happens, you instantly know that it’s true, you don’t need any other proof, and in the internal world, you can’t have any either.
But don’t worry about this, because when you truly know something, there’s no need to prove it. Only a belief needs proof, but by doing this inner work and not just thinking about it, you’ll have direct experience instead of belief. An inner experience is just as reliable as an outer, even though you can’t really grasp it. For example, when you touch a table, you don’t question yourself whether you really touched the table, you don’t search for proof for the existence of the table, because you experienced it. The same is true for internal experiences: the simple fact that you experienced something proves its existence.
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