Thursday, 17 November 2022

Metaphysics and Science

 Bruce Charlton made a comment on a recent post of his which you can find here. (The comment is at the bottom.) He said "Metaphysics is prior to science, therefore science cannot 'inform' it." This is something I have long thought, ever since the days when there were popular books linking mysticism and quantum mechanics and the like, and there was much excitement that science was confirming the wisdom of the ancients about the nature of reality and consciousness. I thought then and I think now this was a mistake. You see, metaphysics to be truly spiritual in content must be founded on intuition and insight, direct perception. It comes from above to the below, from the spiritual. Science is just the opposite. It comes from the physical or material. Please don't tell me scientists have intuitions. That isn't the point. It's the primary level of awareness that matters, the plane of insight. The true metaphysician thinks from the metaphysical level. The scientist speaks from the physical or mental which is part of the material.

Science may, using its own language, confirm some of the insights of the metaphysical but this is of no spiritual use because it comes from below. Science might "prove" in some way that God exists but this would be spiritually meaningless and spiritually worthless. It would just create a thoughtform of God on the mental level and would have nothing to do with the real God who is spirit and must be worshipped/approached in spirit and in truth. The commenter to whom Bruce was responding said that reality is one and the divisions in knowledge are human artefacts but this is wrong. Reality may be one but the divisions in reality are real. The different levels of consciousness, at their most basic, the spiritual and material, operate in quite different ways. What operates materially, as science does, can never inform the spiritual. It can describe it in its own terms but it cannot enter into it. It remains forever outside unless it approaches it on its own terms. The lesser can never encompass the greater though the converse is true.

Science is a noble pursuit because it seeks to uncover truth. (At least, it used to. It's hard to have the same positive attitude these days and even harder post 2020.) However, it always remains outside the metaphysical because it only relates to the phenomenal world. It can approach the spiritual when rightly oriented but the scientific method is of no use when seeking to understand the spiritual in the proper sense. You can only understand the spiritual spiritually. A scientific understanding of the spiritual is by definition materialistic. You cannot comprehend music in terms of the shape of the notes even if you theorise that the notes are expressing something more than their physical form. If science really wants to get to grips with the metaphysical world it must humble itself and knows its limits. Then it might start to go beyond them but it will be transformed into something else in the process.

This is not saying science is a waste of time in terms of the pursuit of knowledge (I'm not talking about its technological applications) or a futile endeavour. It may well be that by having gone through the scientific mode of thought spiritual understanding if and when one gets to it will be richer. The mind will have been sharpened and therefore more receptive to higher truth than it might otherwise have been even if this higher truth can never be known by science as it is in itself.


dave howitzer said...

Science is fake. Its just liars taking credit for what engineers have done. Science is all hucksters and and frauds with no accomplishments. Those who can't do peddle science. And those who really really can't do teach science.

William Wildblood said...

Science isn't fake. It may have been corrupted by the usual defects of human nature but in itself it is the quest for knowledge. It just does not have a spiritual dimension.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - Real science (now so rare as almost to be extinct) does have *some* 'spiritual' aspects - but these are not inside the science, but instead outside and making/ regulating it.

Creativity is a spiritual thing, and the great scientists have that.

Truth-seeking and absolute truthfulness are not exactly spiritual, but to regard Truth (as all true scientists do, as opposed to the 'scientists' nowadays) as a moral absolute, implies a belief in the transcendent.

In other words, science only 'works' when scientists are 'regulated' by values that are - in their origin and justification - religious, and to some extent spiritual. But the scientific discourse itself, the 'content' does not display these religious/ spiritual traits - which is why/ how modern fake-scientists have come to ignore and deny them, and themselves to become uncreative and dishonest.

Christopher Yeniver said...

William, I offer a polite plea as to where to approach astrology, what authors to read, and if I'm not mistaken then Jacob Boehme is such an author. I realize that no one person is to be taken in isolation, just as no one symbol in astrology is to be. It is a great discipline that can expand intuition, to being able to absorb much information and synthesize it all into a pattern.

William Wildblood said...

Christopher, I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you asking for recommendations for books on astrology? I'm afraid I haven't read one of these for 20 years but back in the day the books by Robert Hand were highly regarded. I also liked Astrology:A Beginner's Guide by Graham Boston which is a short but comprehensive treatment of what the title says.

Christopher Yeniver said...

Yes, William, I do wish to study astrology. I've been adrift without an anchor, that a place like America in the 21st Century seems to be a vague ocean of influences that could relate to nobody. Without any trade, or skills, or work for as long as I have been without is essentially to have total zero worth to everybody. I have finally landed somewhere that may be the best I can get for a long time and that in light of the increasingly reduced options hence 2020. I'll have holiday work as is guaranteed each year, and perhaps work bottling "liquid cheer," a nice brewery in the Bavarian style making Pope's beer. Astrology is certainly something that resonates with me, although I had no way of representing such ideas, so a bit of study is just what I need.

Bless Us

Lady Mermaid said...

Accepting the limitations of science is vital for any type of spiritual renewal. Even Christians get caught up in accepting the terms of materialism. For example, scientists have pointed out that many events in Genesis are impossible from a scientific perspective. The response to scientific challenges to theology is to either rewrite theology to fit modern science or try to debunk modern science.

While science is a useful tool for understanding the natural world, it cannot place limits on God. A lot of events in Genesis or other parts of Scripture may need to be seen in light of God's miraculous power rather than trying to "scientifically" explain them. For example, Tolkien believed that Eden was literally real but located in another realm. It's all well and good to explore how our world was formed and changed through natural processes. However, we cannot place God in a scientific box.

Christopher Yeniver said...

Dr. Charlton is absolutely right, and for another one of those synchronous events, I had mentioned on a twitter discussion that our metaphysics is far older than any theory of evolution, that choosing any one of the popular theories is not informing one of the reality that possesses them and if conscious they would simultaneously possess. It is absurd to ask what one wishes they were based on a choice of how ape. Science attributes meaning by attempting to place humans somewhere among reality, and justifying our presence from reaction to processes. This ends up at Evola's paralysis(not the literal paralysis of his legs). Living is merely an "activity" and its end and means and nothing is better than anything else, especially discarding individuality, "sub-personal" in his words. Better for whom we must ask or we treat all individuals like a process with expected results.

Christopher Yeniver said...

Historical examples are ever abundant and perhaps this reveals intent behind any claim 'to' history. Could be Socrates, Caesar, or Christ, and the excuses are the same though the day differs. Anyone of magnificence who dares to defy "The Law" and "The People" are truly liberators in the most sacred sense and only suffer a false damnation which has zero grounds in what is holy. "The Science" is simply another excuse.