~ The Sword that Divides ~
Without science, humanity’s spiritual transformation is impossible. Science is the institution within society that sharpens our understanding of reality. Through science, humanity gradually learns to see the world with eyes that are no longer prone to distorted perception. Whether speaking of an individual or humanity as a whole, such clarity of thought is a prerequisite to further evolution and eventual enlightenment. Though science has not yet matured to the point where it understands its spiritual role, its destiny is deeply spiritual and essential. Through its methods, science separates truth from falsity. It cuts away misleading ideas and assumptions in order to give clarity to truth. Science is therefore a great sword that divides that which is real from that which only seems to be real. In the highest sense, science will someday provide the discerning tools needed in order to better differentiate the human soul from its outer reflection, the personality.
To better understand the role of science in humanity’s evolution, we must first realize that science is a sacred expression of life. It represents a category of humanity’s collective consciousness destined to reveal some aspect of reality, and this as a function of evolution itself. Contrary to the Darwinian view, it is consciousness that is evolving toward a higher and perfected state. Outer forms (such as the physical body, societal structures and ways of living) are merely effects of the evolution of consciousness. Society’s institutions are the outer effects of the ideas and thoughts they are built upon. Looked at in this way, human history is best understood as the evolution of ideas. Whether speaking of business, the arts, government or religion, all are out-pictured categories of humanity’s collective consciousness evolving toward a higher and wiser state. Science is no exception.
Within the Esoteric Tradition, it is understood that in the future (probably within this century) science will provide proof of the existence of the soul. Though humanity has long believed in the soul, it has largely been mysticism and faith that has formed the foundation of this belief. As another out-pictured category of our collective consciousness, religion has done a great service to humanity in this regard. Yet gradually another category of consciousness, science, is rising in its capacity to influence our lives and eventually reshape our understanding of the spiritual dimension of life. Today’s science is still comparatively narrow in its methods and views. Even so, branches of science are beginning to break free from the limitations of its bias toward Newtonian ideas, and by so doing, reveal something deeper and more profound about reality. For example, the emergence of quantum physics in the twentieth century has gradually led the scientific community to conclude that there is a field of energy underlying matter. When considered historically, this realization is monumental and marks the advent of the Atomic Age. Indeed, this revolution in science is what will one day lead to the scientific discovery of the soul. This will occur when science comes to the realization that the energy underlying matter is actually alive. In fact, it is Life itself. This has yet to be claimed, but one day surely will. It is only a matter of time.
Another example indicating that the spiritual destiny of science is emerging can be found in the field of Systems Theory. In this branch of science, there is a realization that all systems are interconnected and interdependent. For example, from a biological perspective we see that the various systems of the body function as a whole. The nervous system is intimately connected to the endocrine system and neither can properly function without the other. When adding the psychological component (which is another system) to this we see that a person’s physical health is deeply related to his/her mental and emotional state, as well as the reverse. The emergence of holistic medicine is the result of this understanding. When we consider Earth sciences, such as geology and meteorology, we see elements of systems thought emerging. Increasingly, science is starting to believe that the various systems governing the Earth and life upon it are interconnected and interdependent. Indeed, some scientists are beginning to hypothesize that these global systems are in fact alive. Advocates of its most progressive expression, the Gaia Principle, are moving toward this conclusion. This principle maintains that the Earth is a living entity expressing itself through its many systems such as plate tectonics, climatological patterns and its vast array of ecosystems. These developments are clearly supportive of the notion that there is a living energy transcendent to outer forms. When considering this cutting edge science, we see that the Soul of the Earth is beginning to be realized.
A very promising area of science is the study of consciousness. In the field of psychology, there is a movement toward transpersonal research. Transpersonal Psychology hypothesizes that beyond the normal considerations of the human psyche is found a deeper dimension of being. This deeper realm of existence is thought to be transpersonal in that it transcends the personal aspects of one’s ego identity. Various forms of scientific inquiry are looking into this possibility. Biofeedback research associated with altered states of consciousness, mythology-psychology correlation studies, multiple personality research and the study of near-death experiences are just a few of the many new avenues of scientific inquiry. All are related to the emerging discipline of Transpersonal Psychology. Through the application of scientific methods, greater clarity and understanding about these deeper states of consciousness will certainly come to light. Much of the glamours and distortions associated with psychism will eventually give way to a mystical understanding of reality supported by clear scientific thought and validation. Humanity is becoming more mentally centered. Likewise, respect for clear thinking as a means to understand life is growing. This is precisely what is to be expected in the long journey of humanity’s evolution toward enlightenment. We are moving into the era of the practical mystic. In the Esoteric Tradition, the mind is considered as sacred as the mystical experience, and it is science (rightly and practically applied) that will bring the human mind into its divine heritage as the equal companion to mysticism. In truth, they both need each other. Mysticism without science is impractical and distorted, while science without mysticism lacks vision and spiritual insight.
Thus far, we have been discussing the spiritual meaning and importance of science. Yet it must be kept in mind that science is still in its infancy (as compared to many other institutions), and only small portions of it are beginning to rise in response to its true calling. As such, it would be well if we examine the obstacles that science must overcome in order to live up to its spiritual destiny. To begin, science tends to be overly skeptical. Consciously or unconsciously, the majority of scientists hold the view that if something cannot be proven it isn’t real. Regrettably, this attitude tends to block out the possibility of seeing deeper truths. It presupposes that the current methods of scientific inquiry are the only means of ascertaining the truth. Intuition and the testimonials of thousands of mystics throughout history are too easily dismissed as examples of unbridled imagination. This attitude must change. It is well that science maintains a cautionary note. Yet, it should be the attitude of open-minded caution (rather skepticism) that serves as the starting point for scientific inquiry. Let us not forget that many of the advances in science today are simply validations of farsighted intuitions held by people long ago.
Another challenge facing science relates to a shortcoming inherent in analytical thought and deduction. Most (but not all) of science is governed by deductive reasoning. Such reasoning means that truth is determined by reducing that which is being studied into its component parts. In other words, science tends to analyze something by focusing on its substructures. However, the price paid is that often the bigger (and subtler) picture gets lost. For example, a medical biologist is predisposed to deductively analyze various biological processes within the human body. Yet such a person will tend to have difficulty considering the possibility that consciousness (something intangible) may be as defining of health as the biological processes s/he is analyzing. In short, deductive reasoning tends to narrow one’s perception, and in so doing, the larger possibilities are not seen. A botanist studying a particular species of tree will know much about its physical nature and its role within an ecosystem. Even so, and generally speaking, such a person is not likely to contemplate the possibility that the type of tree s/he is studying is the expression of one living Entity incarnated into the millions of trees that make up that species. The possibility of a broader reality transcendent to form is not considered, simply because the mind favors deductive analysis rather than broad, intuitive and abstract considerations.
The solution to the problem of deductive reasoning will be found when science learns to accept that there is another modality for gaining information within each and every human being. It is something that is quite different than the rational approach, and superficially has been viewed as irrational. Specifically, it is the power of intuition. Sometimes called formless knowledge, intuition offers the larger insights necessary for humanity to rightly move forward in its evolution. Esoterically considered, intuition is the realm of consciousness from which the soul speaks. When properly interpreted, it offers the human mind insight into the larger meaning of life and circumstance, and provides understanding that rational thinking cannot reach. However, if a person’s mind is not well developed, then any intuitions sent forth by the soul are likely to be misinterpreted and distorted. Though there are many functions of the human mind, its highest is that of interpreter of the soul’s intuitional offerings. Intuition, coupled with a discriminative mind, is needed for progressive ideas to come forth. Intuition provides the larger abstract wisdom that the soul seeks to make known, while the mind builds ideas around those intuitions. In this regard, the day will surely come when science recognizes that it is utilizing only half of what consciousness can offer.
Science is as sacred as any other category of humanity’s collective consciousness. It is a living system of ideas destined to assist humanity in its evolution. The role of science is to separate truth from pseudo-truth so that we learn to see reality with greater clarity and with less distortion. As such, science is truly a sword that divides. In its highest capacity, science will one day prove that consciousness exists independently of the physical body, and through that discovery, the soul’s existence will become an established scientific fact. Until that time, science has much to change in order to live up to its divine mandate. It must shift from its skeptical stance to one governed by caution coupled with open-minded curiosity. In addition, science needs to realize that its greatest contributions to humanity will only come when it begins to deliberately use the power of intuition in support of its well-developed methods of analytical thought. At that time, science and religion will be seen as inseparable companions. From a certain perspective they are simply two sides of the same coin. Science is responsible for the rightful development of the human mind, while religion and the arts have long been the nurseries for intuition and creative imagination. By way of simple analogy, the soul can be viewed as a dove having two wings that make possible its flight. One wing is intuition and the other is the discriminative mind. The time is ripe for the mind to unite with its long rejected companion. For when both wings are equal and cooperative, then the Soul of Humanity can truly take flight and soar.
© 2003 William Meader
Biographical Information: William Meader is an author, teacher and counselor. Much of his work is focused on the subjects of Spiritual Creativity, the Evolution of Consciousness and the Art of Meditation. At present he is teaching in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He resides in Oregon, and can be contacted through his website at meader.org.