April 13, 2009

The sense of oneness with all things is an experience shared across mystics of all faiths

Re: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: The dialectics of biology and culture; science, ecology & economics (part 6 of 6)
by Tony Clifton on Sun 12 Apr 2009 12:19 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Someone asked if instead of stating that the best mediation for a dialog between science and spirituality was culture, why not put the matter more straight forward and state that science and spirituality are culture?

This is a valid point because on closer examination science spirituality and even nature are by in large constructed by our cultural perspective of them. For example Nature was sacramental to the indigenous peoples, but wholly de-sacramentalized by Protestantism. Our perspective on spirituality is also structured by our cultural embededness. Thats why the world has different religious traditions, and the reason Sri Aurobindo vision reflects the perspectives of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Gita.

Science is by in large also culturally constructed from the Western tradition that valorized logic and empiricism. The reason Science and Spirituality were not simply treated as cultural constructions in the paper however, -besides the incommeasurable approaches to experience and knowledge- is that one has to also admit a certain universality in both systems.

In Spirituality once one parses the rituals, language, text given in the religious presentation to encounter the mystics of these traditions, one finds a commonality of narratives in the experience of what is called the Divine. The sense of oneness with all things being an experience shared across mystics of all faiths. In science too one must parse what maybe culturally constructed from the universality of knowledge upon which many different cultures converge. Richard Levins gives an excellent assessment of this in Biology Under the Influence:

The patterns of knowledge and ignorance in science is not dictated by nature but is structured by interest and belief. We easily impose our own social experience on the social lives of baboons, our understanding of orderliness in business , implying a hierarchy of controllers and controlled, on the regulation of ecosystems and nervous systems.

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