Thursday, March 22, 2012

Science and religion

The relationship between science and religion has been a topic of discussion recently. New Scientist has articles about the attempts of scientists to explain spirituality and religion (see for instance this and this). Also Bee has written about this under the title What can science do for you? and this posting is a typo-free version of the comment to this posting with some additions.

What makes for a scientist so difficult to understand spirituality is the failure to realize that genuine spirituality is not a method to achieve something. For a scientist life is endless struggling to achieve some goal by applying some methods: problem solving, fighting against colleagues, intriguing to get a research position or funding, etc..

It is natural that the scientific explanations of spirituality follow the same simple format. For a scientists it is difficult to believe that a person who becomes aware of the existence of higher levels of conscious existence does not calculate that it is good to have this experience since in statistical sense it maximizes her personal happiness. Neither is this experience a result of some method to achieve a relief from a fear of death or of life or to achieve maximal pleasure. It is something completely spontaneous and makes you to realize how extremely limited your everyday consciousness is and how hopelessly it is narrowed down by your ego.

What makes for a member of church so difficult to understand spirituality is that organized religions indeed teach that by applying some method which includes blind belief on dogmas, the registered member of the community can get in contact with God. Even the idea about single God represents example about how the greed for power tends to corrupt spirituality: gods as those conscious entities above us like we above our neurons are replaced with God - the ultimate conqueror and absolute ruler. And after all, spiritual experience is only the realization that higher levels of conscious existence and intelligence are there. This realization comes when one is able for a moment to get rid of ego and live just in this moment. But there is no method to achieve it!

This view is by no means new. For the first time I discovered it from writings of Krishnamurti for about 26 years ago as I tried to understand my own great experience. The writings of Krishnamurti are a blow against face of anyone who has adopted the naive "scientific" view about reality but I felt that Krishnamurti was basically right. I felt that he must have experienced something similar to what I had experienced and I of course hoped to get these two magic weeks back. Certainly I hoped to find a method allowing to achieve this from the writings of Krishnamurti, and I refused to believe when Krishnamurti told again and again that there is no method!

After these years it is easy to agree with Krishnamurti's view about egos as the source of the problems of society. Ego is the castle that we build in the hope of achieving safety. This ego isolates us and in isolation fears multiply and we become paranoids. Coming out from the castle of ego to the fresh air and meeting the reality as it is, is the only solution to our problems. Isms cannot help us since they only help to build new castles. The bad news for the scientist is that there is no method to achieve this. At some moments we are able to just calmly observe our suffering without any kind of violence for our mental images, and the miracle of re-creation takes place.

15 Comments:

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Ulla said...

There is a huge difference between religion and spirituality. Religion is telling you what and how you should act, and its purpose is to actually diminish and control the interference with higher consciousness (system where you are a subsystem). This is also the reason religion and states are linked. Eduction is regulated by these two.

Spirituality is basically free, and can therefore be extremely creative and 'dangerous' for the 'system'. It was a tool in gnosticism, and the basic difference that made them heretic.

There is nothing so 'sweet' and addictive as the white light in the head. :D

No drug is stronger than spirituality so today we have an enormous longing for spirituality, seen in the amounts of abusers. They get the wrong 'drug'.

As you know I don't agree about the ego and Self. Ego, from environment, education should vanish, but self is essential as tool for the interference. Some unfortunate also succeed in abandoning the self and live the ego, with deep tragedy as consequence.

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous ◘Fractality◘ said...

Science has been hijacked by reductionism and the intellectually dishonest skeptic hegemony has ruthlessly excluded the "eccentric" and alternative scientists (as Matti has documented)

Here is a relevant quote from MAX PLANCK:

"Scientific discovery and scientific knowledge have been achieved only by those who have gone in pursuit of it without any practical purpose whatsoever in view."

A lot of the scientists who created unprecedented scientific theory were considered "nutty" by the fundamentalist skeptics.

Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, John Lilly, Francis Crick, Werner von Braun, Issac Newton, etc... Newton talked to angels. Einstein wondered if the entire universe was conscious. Von Braun believed that mathematics proved the immortality of the soul. Watson and Crick credited LSD with understanding the structure of DNA.

 
At 1:03 AM, Anonymous matpitka@luukku.com said...

To Ulla:

A comment about the relationship of self and ego.

I see self is basic element of consciousness. Self hierarchy can be equated with hierarchy of quantum jumps and self hierarchy makes possible for self to experience subselves as mental images. These subselves would give rise to an experience about flow of time. But I feel still puzzled when trying to understand in detail of what I am saying;-). Clear signal that something important is waiting to become understood.


Ego is the model of self which highly advanced self loves to construct. Certainly useful for practical purposes. This model involves a lot of cognition and memories and expectations and desires. The message of Krishnamurti is that self usually tends to equate itself with ego or what ego should be in future: reality with its model or dream about good reality. Ego - something static - becomes a model of self which is continually recreated.

This yields the conflict and suffering, this causes violence by restricting free will to constraints of ego and forcing self to endlessly murder subselves representing undesired mental images inconsistent with what ego requires self to be.

A good analogy comes -somewhat unexpectedly- from LHC;-). The data gathering at LHC is based on the assumption that the new physics, which must be there, is consistent with the standard proposals. Therefore one throws away from the data all anomalies which do not allow an interpretation as allowed new physics! Brilliant! The outcome is that no new physics is seen although it should be there! Eventually we must begin from scratch and admit that we "knew" too much. In the similar manner ego paralyzes self and prevents its evolution!

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger Ulla said...

Ego is a CONSTRUCTED self, Matti, due to what others want from you, parents, schoolsystems, community, religion, MORAL, etc. There is a deep difference between moral and ethics, as deep as between ego and self.

The problem is a too weak self, that cannot stand up to the pressure from environment. This makes it hard to recieve gifts :) There are two choises, give up the Self or give up the Ego. I think today that most give up their selves, and start play roles, in aim to avoid conflicts.

"Ego involves a lot of cognition and memories and expectations and desires." Yes, so it is created, constructed, not something fundamental.

In entanglement language this makes disorder? Makes our basic energy level higher, so it creates stress. This is the reason we should skip it.

Can you see now? I have tried so many times :D Free will is restricted, yes.

This is just one of the things biology has got upside down. Like the 40Hz gamma signal and EEG in general. What is ATTENTION and HOMEOSTASIS? Think about that.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2012/03/25/sciencereligion-debate-live-streaming-today/

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger Santeri Satama said...

In our local mythology Soul is a trinity of 'itse' (self), 'henki' (spirit) and 'luonto' (nature/character). Europeans have mocked that Finns - and other native peoples - have poorly developed category of personhood aka "ego". So Ulla is on the right trail that ego/subjecthood/personhood is a social construct, but not only that, it is the social construct of imperialistic civilizations and dualism of ego the conquerer and controller and nature to be conquered and controlled. Ego is thus not an individual matter, but collective mental disorder. Dualism of 'spirit' (entanglement?) aspiring to define and control 'nature'(ZEO?), and loosing sense of self in the process. In our mythology and art of shamanistic self-healing there is the spiritual journey to regain the self, the lost part of soul. Matti's theory is such a spiritual journey. And "self" (as in "Know Thyself") is not just the mental image of self-referentiality and infinite regress of Russian dolls - all the way down to the Source and all the way up to the principle of Maximation of All Forms. This is much more and much less, just sensing this body as is this moment.

 
At 9:49 PM, Anonymous matpitka@luukku.com said...

Ego is collective construct, a model, reflecting the values of the society. Today ego is marketing and selling itself, making a product of itself and endlessly competing. Something rather boring in in its completely open opportunism;-). Could one see soul as a more refined predecessor of ego at more religious era? Or as something different, maybe self?

In any case, also soul is often thought to be a permanent entity, actually something fundamental which by definition does not change. Self as the moment of re-creation (self hierarchy must be mentioned in the same breath to make some sense of this;-)). "Know thyself" would translate to "re-create", "evolve".

 
At 5:19 AM, Blogger Santeri Satama said...

Perhaps there being both time-dependent and time-independent Schrödinger equations is somehow related?

Dunno, but have been thinking and sensing the question about sentience and it's relation to question about conscience. In this experience body-sense is not limited to classical matter, but the form of "tight" in the middle (heart) and soft around the edges suggests that the "strength" of spatial reach of body-sense in this form drops in square-roots and/or cube roots from the center. Which could suggest direct and consciouss sensing of gravitational and/or electromagnetic fields from this position or form of observer participation.

This form of body-sense is not meant to suppose that sentient forms are limited to what was just described, and in fact there was a glimpse of multitude of geometric worlds and forms, with words "observer-space" attached to the experience.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger Ulla said...

Well, Self is slowly changing. We only need to think at a stroke patient to realize that. Also the self is different with different ages. I doubt this is what the oracle thought of with 'know thyself'. Or maybe a part of it? We can change if we want to.

A more stable and longlasting construction is the personality. But also that can change.

So self is hierarchy depending on systems/subsystems. Strokes makes those self-systems impossible to use, connect (phosphorylation?), but they are not destroyed. Drugs can change the Self and even the personality.

Something realized change the self instantly, in the jump. Note that this is descreate, linked to matter (state function reduction). This is 'known' without studies before (through Jungs window). The term re-creation tells that there are something old that changes, as in a symmetry breaking shift. But also completely new things can 'hit' you through the window. Like prophesy (from the future?)?

What is the difference between personality/self and Soul? The Nature aspect tells us that the genome are changing too, and it is different in different parts of the body. This due to methylation/acetylation mainly, so then also the Soul changes? Or do we have a complex and fractal soul? Or a Soul in form of a more continous magnetic body, not directly linked to the Nature aspect? But then again this view gets troubles with the dark matter directing the genome? So this Soul is some kind of collective, if it is stable? A hierarchy? A dark matter Soul and a material Ego as collective dualistic 'pairs'?

Do we need the Ego and Soul at all to describe this? Do they contribute with clarity? Or is the collective phenomens enough to describe them?

Can the Soul be a higher level Self encompassing many lives? A time hierarchy? Note that the presens is favioured in spiritual experiencings, which means silencing of environmental sensings and the brain chatter and thinking, keeping us in past or future. Introspection, going into the self, what dowe meet there? The Old One. :D

Big ignorance! The Soul is deeply anchored in our culture, and religion. A fight for souls (in numbers) not personalities, selves. As the Soul just IS without qualities, or with just +or-? Like energy? Gravity?

Santeri,
"it is the social construct of imperialistic civilizations and dualism of ego the conquerer and controller and nature to be conquered and controlled."

This is actually the problem with abandoning the Self. Without Self we cannot connect to the Truth out there. One more reason to say 'Know Thyself'.

Nature is actually a part of our Self, quite literally, so WHY should it be conquered? So we can conquer each other? Keep the tensions?

Why do we accept all this? To what do we need it? Jung had an answer.

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Ulla said...

http://www.united-academics.org/magazine/14823/higher-creativity-through-brain-damage/

Jill Bolte Taylor again, so fascinating story. Matti, DID you get the book? Y/n?

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger Santeri Satama said...

Just a short linguistic comment. The word 'person' comes from the Latin word for 'actor mask', and one of the strange features of English is that humans are by norm referred to as 'persons'. And besides 'natural persons' there are also 'legal persons'. The Finnish translation of 'person' is 'henkilö', derived from 'henki'. Finnish 'luonne' is usually translated by the originally Greek word 'character'.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Santeri Satama said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetoception

There are lots of conseptual problems with "consciousness", which can be said to be secundary to to more fundamental sensing, as there is lots of sensing going on that stays subconscious. This conseptual frame suggests that questions about quantum consciousness should build upon more general theory of quantum sensing, and cellular quantum magnetoception seems like obvious starting point, and classical senses and brain neurology being secundary channels and filters of more fundamental magnetoceptic quantum sensing.

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous matpitka@luukku.com said...

To Ulla:

I dimly remember that I have received a book telling about personal brain damage and written by a neuroscientist. I remember that I read part of the book and decided to continue reading but I must have forgot the whole thing in the midst of nasty little health problems. I tried to find the book but failed. Was it web link after all?

I any case, the amount of inhibition in brain increases with evolutionary level and creativity requires getting rid of inhibition so that brain damage might help.

Or maybe damage replaces conceptual memory based on symbols with direct sensory memory, this would dream of an artist. As you know, in temporal lobes electric excitation can excite this kind of memories.

Autists sometimes have this kind of memory. It would be nice to how Chopin, who suffered from strange attacks resembling delirium, remembered music.

Maybe left brain could containg the controlling model of socially acceptable me, the ego. Genuine creativity is never socially acceptable;-). Despite all the positive talk about creativity, creativity is something very, very irritating.

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous matpitka@luukku.com said...

To Santeri:


To me "henkilö" is something very passive. Just the social ID although it comes from "henki" which one might associate with "soul" (or with ability to breath, something very impersonal!). "Luonne" is more like "personality". Then there is also "temperament" which has rather precise meaning in recent day research: something below personality, related to genes, and not changeable.

I wonder if the social problems due to rigid egos be partially solved if people would become fully aware that "personality" is a social role and would experience it as a channel of creative expression just as actors do. Having fun with one's social role. This would of course require basic safety and trust in society but just this we are gradually losing with the recent dominating values taking us back to jungle.

 
At 11:59 PM, Blogger Ulla said...

The book was on a CD. The second half is more interesting.

Inhibitions in output (behavior) or input (sensing) or both? remember that consciousness can only be diminished (inhibited).

The behaviour also means learning.

Having fun with ones social role? Too many are too seriously identified with it and nothing else. Their selves are rudimentary. They would need a schamanic journey :) to enlarge their CONSCIOUSNESS (which they have inhibited in aim of getting more intelligence, 'meaning' instead). This also means the ability to FEEL. Emotions cannot be excluded and treated as something exclusive. They are very much the essence of cognitions.

Just one more of the ad hocs. It is said that emotions (as anger) should be inhibited, and our cortex is not sufficiently good at that, but what happen if we inhibit them? We loose life and create health problems to ourselves.

Bad temper is better to experience than trying to inhibit it etc. That is what life is about. Experiencing, perciving.

This should be so obvious.

http://www.spring.org.uk/2012/03/the-upside-of-anger-6-psychological-benefits-of-getting-mad.php

 
At 4:54 AM, Blogger Ulla said...

http://evolutionaryphilosophy.com/2012/03/22/society-and-the-true-self-part-4-up-from-inside-the-matrix/

Note, 3 parts earlier

In part 3: I described how many of us awaken to find ourselves in the middle of a life that is more a reflection of social mores than our own autonomous choices. We look at the reality of our lives and realize that the choices that we have made are expressions of the social status quo than any true individual preferences. We awaken to find ourselves ‘in the Matrix’ and along with this realization comes a tremendous sense of liberation as we sense the reality of a deeper Self that exists within us beyond the constraint of social habit = Forgiveness?

Most of us, without realizing it, fall back into the anonymity of the crowd. In fact, we only realize this after the fact when we have our next ‘awakening’ experience and pop out of the matrix again.

 

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