Sunday, June 12, 2011

Science, Consciousness and God

"The great problem of the modern age is to preserve the religious spirit, whilst getting rid of the superstitions and absurdities that deform it, and which are alike opposed to common sense."
-- Ernest Renan --
("Life of Jesus")
Whilst a religious belief that contradicts or ignores the realities science has uncovered regarding man, the world and the cosmos quickly becomes absurd, a sole reliance on science to inform us of these realities says nothing about our inner condition, or how we chart a path to contentment and a truly sustainable relationship with the Earth.

In a concise three-part video, below, Peter Russell, a fellow scholar at The Institute of Noetic Science, critiques the blind Western reliance on science and technology to shape our worldview, describing it as being arid and sterile in terms of providing satisfactory values and meaning.

What science has been unable to explain, as yet, he notes (as many others have) is the phenomenon of consciousness, a matter that has been the subject of Eastern inquiry for millenia. Developing our understanding and experience of 'consciousness' and 'being', he proposes, will move us along a path to sustainable happiness and inner peace."
"Western science has been remarkably successful in explaining the world around us," Russsell points out, "but it hasn't given us meaning. The world it describes is a dry, material world without any real purpose. And science has also given us an abundance of technologies which we use to satisfy many of our needs and desires. But, again, it hasn't given us values. It doesn't tell us the best way to use this incredible knowledge and power. It also hasn't really helped us to develop inwardly. If anything, it has reinforced our sense of self-centeredness."

"We are probably more full of ourselves today than we've ever been," he notes, observing that what we really need "is an integration of our scientific understanding of the world with the wisdom that is held in the world's spiritual traditions."

"The origins of consciousness may remain a mystery," he concedes, "but how to awaken our consciousness, how to free ourselves from disguised attitudes and values, to discover who and what we really are, is not a mystery. That is not a mystery. That is something that has been explored by spiritual teachers from around the world, people who have gone deep within their own minds and discovered the true nature of consciousness, and from that how to live with joy and love in their hearts. And that is what we need today. We need to rediscover that wisdom for ourselves."

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