Our world is deeply confused and we are increasingly hurting ourselves. We’ve lost our ability to reason and we’ve forsaken any epistemology that would allow us to see reality. Instead, we have created silos of tribalism, identity politics, and otherness. We’ve lost our way and we have turned our backs on the source of wisdom which could provide the leadership we desperately need. Within this void of understanding has backfilled every form of human suffering and oppression within our society.
If our world is ever to experience peace and unity again, we must re-imagine what it will actually look like. We are watching the world make a fatal mistake as the cultural ethos assumes that peace can only happen through uniformity. Likeness. Sameness. Agreement. In last weeks post, I introduced this series which will reveal the one blueprint whereby diversity and unity coexist under one law, that of love.
As younger generations turn loose of their parents mainline religions, our culture is increasingly being identified as unaffiliated with any particular system of faith. Unfortunately, when we reject the cosmology and anthropology offered by religion, such foundational categories are replaced from another source. That source for the majority of the world has been Science.
Science is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. Yes. I called it a religion, because despite all its claims to unarguable facts, it is actually a faith-based system. It has it’s guru’s to be obeyed. It has it’s ritual and law to be followed. It requires ones faith to subscribe to it’s teachings which change over time. Science is not as simple as just believing the facts, the proof, or the evidence.
Though true science is concerned with finding the truth and gathering reliable data, our world no longer regards the facts unless the facts validate our petty tribal understandings. As such, science has been manipulated and adulterated, like all religions, to report only those facts which our tribe desires. Much of what we call science has become yet another power-play sold to the highest bidder. Of course the true scientist and those concerned with the Truth are able to differentiate junk science from the real thing. This will be true as we examine other religions as well.
Science has brought so much benefit and discovery to our world, yet it’s ultimately powerless to help us with the real, deeper problems of the human heart. The anthropology and cosmology of science denies a human soul even exists. Science has concluded that each of us is a byproduct of a lot of time and chance. We are a random, evolved commodity of some star’s gaseous expulsion, left only to matter, motion and time. In the scientific framework, meaning doesn’t actually exist. No doubt this has hurt our efforts to convince an oppressed world that each life has purpose and meaning. How could it, scientifically speaking.
Our world had hoped that it could put its weight of trust and pin our hopes for a better world on science, but alas, it cannot. What our low-consciousness epistemology has done to religion, it has done to science as well. Of course, true science, when practiced freely, is free of bias. It instructs us by trial and error and we adapt to the facts. Yet we all know our darkened minds have drifted from adapting to the facts a long time ago. Science was supposed to be the safe harbor for the world to put its faith once we fled the over-reach and intrusive finger of religion. If we reject truth anywhere, we reject the truth everywhere.
Science cannot offer us meaning. The cosmology of science is randomness which cannot be meaningful. Of course, the riots and protests in our cities clearly believe and long for meaning. Why should science care one iota about the loss of life, an economy, or a vaccine for coronavirus? Isn’t virology and death just biology doing what biology does? The existence of meaning within science is imported from another worldview. It’s not endemic to Science. For example, science proves that white and black skin only differ in melanin, so why would racism exist scientifically? The religion of science is proving how bankrupt it actually is in solving the deeper problems. It conveniently borrows meaning from another worldview other than science in order to make it’s anthropology and cosmology tolerable.
Allow me to prove it. Something is considered irrational if it is arbitrary. Arbitrariness, is when any of us conclude something is true with no substantiating evidence. How can empirical science prove the existence of meaning? What about logic? What about mathematics? Scientifically, these should all be treated in an arbitrary fashion just like science has treated the topic of God since all of these real things are not empirically measurable. It’s arbitrariness to embrace one and not another. And science is full of it. Like I said earlier, our world is now completely comfortable with being irrational and has lost its ability to know The Truth.
“…always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7)
The very work of science is supposed to eliminate arbitrariness by applying the scientific method. Unfortunately, the data, information, and proof produced by science proves to be no more reliable than the soul of the people doing the science. Just look at our headlines. Science cannot agree on it’s data about the coronavirus. Science hasn’t agreed on whether statins actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Science hasn’t determined if genetically modified organisms and pesticides in our food are harmful. Science hasn’t told us if fat or sugar is worse for our heart? Can science reveal the truth about global warming? We all know that science has been bought, just like religion and politics. Science cannot solve our corruption of the data even though true science can prove corruption exists.
The disposition of the heart (corruption) which learned to distrust institutional religion is now distrustful of the institution of science. The response should not be to double down on the fundamentals of science any more than we should double down on the fundamentals of religion. I want to offer what I believe is our best path forward, namely the path of wisdom. Since intentional corruption is not an aspect of sciences purview, science cannot offer a solution to how its been corrupted. Corruption is an aspect of the human heart. While we all agree that we want our science to be free from corruption, we all see now how science has no power to heal us.
The path of wisdom is the freedom from binaries. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and. It’s a dimmer switch, not a on/off switch.
“Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.” (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18)
What I desire to show you is how this path emerges from within us and changes our epistemology. The act of admitting that none of us possesses all the truth, but that each of us reflect some aspects of it means that we must learn as Tich Nat Han says, “to listen compassionately.” As we warm our hands to each others “fire”, we begin to replace the truth as it is for “me” with the truth as it actually is. This means our epistemology (our way of knowing) can better perceive reality. Furthermore, it will become painfully obvious that this “inner work” or “transformation” has been the focus of nearly every religious tradition and that of science as well.
What we will discover is that, as Ken Wilber would say, “we must transcend AND include.” The path of wisdom is the path of liberation, healing and our collective rising. This is not possible by abandoning all of the institutions and organizations that have brought our world so far. It comes by gaining what each institution offers us and then graduating unto life as one who has been taught but not identified with any institution. Our addiction to identity politics and strife is due to the fact that we have over-identified with particular institutions. We gave them that power. Now it’s time we take it back.
Growth, enlightenment, or salvation is evident once we regain our reason and our ability to know and obey the truth. I will prove that this theme is repeated throughout all religions, including that of science. We do not need perfect agreement, for we cannot all be at the same place at the same time. We need only have a shared commitment to knowing and following the truth. Once the data means something again, we know our faith has returned. Our healthy skepticism has brought us out of smaller prisons, but it hasn’t been able to free us. At some point we must trust again.
But what or whom do we trust?
I’m a Gen X’r, and my generation doesn’t trust anyone and for good reason. I will suggest that we learn to see beyond the thing, beyond the institution, beyond the rule, beyond everything to the power, the influence, the force or spirit which we all know exists, but struggle to define. That which we must trust is not in the realm of “things” or “people”, it is in the realm of “no-things.” The spiritual realm is not only real, but more real than the material world. While difficult for our myopic, cynical minds, the spiritual realm is more dependable, more durable, and more reliable than anything we can touch. It’s the only realm whereby our world can actually change in the way we want it to.
Do you want a world free of racism? It starts in the spiritual realm. Want a world where businesses, religions, and governments serve the people, not enslave them? It starts in the spiritual realm. We must go there, but we cannot approach this the way tribal religion has been doing this for centuries. This is not a competition for to find which religion was right. It’s not a matter of exiting religion and adopting science or apathy or cynicism. It’s a matter of honoring each container for what it is, but recognizing each is only a container for that which is beyond it.
Our journey in this series will be a deconstruction process, along side of reconstruction process. This is not a buffet where we will just pick out the stuff we like, for that is a recipe for relativism and it gets us into our hurtful postmodern tribalism. We will see the single thread that ties each thing together and then at the end we will finally see the biggest, loudest, most abundant message in the universe which has eluded us for far too long.
The only way to see it and experience it is to be willing to let go of the truth as it is for us, in favor of the truth as it actually is. And amazingly, that is precisely the goal of True science.