Monday, August 29, 2011

Ways of knowing- why science and spirituality coexist in me

"There are ways and ways of knowing, as even the heart itself knows how to beat"  -Lloyd Alexander The High King

Each of us enters into life with a unique perception filter, or lens.  Add to that our cultural ways of knowing and our spiritual journey and you get an enormous variety of ways in which a human being can interact with, perceive and understand the Universe.  Big news, right?  Yes, I know you already get this.

Science, religion, spirituality, mystic experience are all ways of knowing.  They vary within cultures, with in individuals, but they are all equally valid methods.  I have loved science and mysticism in my life.  Rarely equally, but that is okay.  Science is a powerful way of systematically exploring existence; used correctly, it opens human eyes to tremendous possibilities within our physical existence.  When it is divorced from greed and politics, it explains things in beautiful, simple terms and encourages dialogue.  It is rarely used that way, but that was it's intended purpose.

Spiritually based ways of knowing are equally valid, as they explore the individual, the unseen, the spaces between.  It is rooted in the ephemeral, the unspeakable and those things which can only be felt by our consciousness, not our bodies.

Between the two, I exist.  Curiosity un-quenched, regardless of what lens I use to know my world.  They are the two eyes through which my vision is complete.  I try not to value one too far above the other, and to allow for mistakes and distortions in  perception because of their differing views.  I have learned that neither is infallible and that both can cause suffering.  They unite two halves of my mind in curious, fascinating ways.  Without them both, I would be incomplete.

Among the lessons to be learned in the dialogue between the two, is that all human things are subject to corruption, to decay, to vice.  Just because something cannot be quantified by science, does not mean it should be ignored, and vice versa.  Humanity can increase it's understanding and views by employing both, by allowing each lens to focus as it needs to to bring the Universe with all of it's mysteries, all of it's beauties and all of it's experiences in to sharp detail.  If we can stop quibbling about which way is a better way of knowing and start conversing about the similarities we find, we could move forward into a different existence.

1 comment:

  1. Great post!! I have always thought that science, religion, mysticism, and the like could all coexist. There is no need for fighting over which is right when, obviously, both must be since they are both experienced by the humans. I bet if everyone worked together we COULD find we=here left meets right and find things niether side could have imagined! :D

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