Do Science and Spirituality conflict?

Hawaii island  2006

Have you perhaps noticed, as I have, that there are some people on forums or blogs, almost coming to virtual blows over whether science or spirituality is right, with almost no tolerance or acceptance of each other’s viewpoint? Perhaps our first port of call might be Hawaiian forgiveness techniques known as Ho’oponopono? (although that’s not the main topic of today’s blog)

Some say that if it isn’t scientific it can’t be true. Others say that unless we follow the word of their deity we are blaspheming heretics. So which is right, or is there another answer?

But what do we actually mean with these terms ‘science’ and ‘spirituality’?
Curiously many science fans do not seem to pay much attention to their history, because if they did, they would notice the common heritage and tradition that led to the study of what was known up to the 19th century as ‘natural philosophy’.

Even the great Sir Isaac Newton was a firm believer that there was far more going on than could be proven by the methods of the time. “Newton was motivated by a deep-rooted commitment to the notion that alchemical wisdom extended back to ancient times. The Hermetic (ancient egyptian) tradition — the body of alchemical knowledge — was believed to have originated in the mists of time and to have been given to humanity through supernatural agents.”

Many of those doing their best to explore the nature of the universe began to find their discoveries in conflict with the teachings of the Christian Church and therefore took steps to keep their discoveries secret for fear of persecution, and thus a long standing distrust of matters spiritual began to grow amongst some quarters of the scientific community, leading to extremists in both camps such as Richard Dawkins and the Creationist movement.

However, the Christian churches are only one narrow band of viewpoints amongst the spiritual spectrum.

Arguably some of the inheritors of the alchemical and hermetic wisdom discarded by the science camp, continued their explorations, and became know as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, of whom, much has been written.
One of their members, Dion Fortune, went on to found her own occult group, and had this to say on the matter:
“Between tradition, history and experience, careful distinction must be made. Also between objective experience gained through the 5 senses, and subjective experience gained through the higher states of consciousness. Nevertheless if we limited ourselves to the consideration of documented history and verifiable objective experience we should miss much; for there is a wealth of information to be derived from tradition if we know how to interpret it and from subjective experience if we know how to countercheck it.
The mistake is made when the different classes of data are confused and it is not clear from which a particular statement data is derived. This is unfair to the student because it confuses their judgement. Moreover the different classes of data have different evidential value, the objective and evidential ranking first, and the traditional and subjective ranking after. To lead people to believe the wrong source suggests dishonesty or ignorance on the part of the teacher.
Nevertheless, much data which ranks as traditional could be re-classified as historical if the necessary scholarship were forthcoming; and much which is subjective could be given the same authority as objective observations is an appropriate psychological technique were applied.”

So what seems to be lacking is an agreed frame of reference. It is not that knowledge gained from science or spiritual/consciousness sources need conflict, only that we need to specify our sources, and use one to confirm or enhance the other.
Of course there are limitations to both methodologies.
Science believes nothing it cannot observe or measure, and yet we are well aware of phenomona that defy our current measurement technologies.
Knowledge and wisdom received through consciousness, be it through intuition, channelling, astral contacts or which ever source, is prone to subjective distortion, as the vessel or collection of synapses and nerves, that is humans(!) are not identical, and so the same vision or intuition may be described differently by different people, and so we are required to make a subjective assessment of their descriptions.

In the end, effectiveness is the measure of truth. Does the information supplied empower or disempower, does it add to awareness or confuse or obfuscate. Does it work? An ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory.
As some would say – the difference between theory and practice, is that in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there always is!

References –
The secret history of the world – Jonathan Black
Issac Newton the last Sorceror – Michael White
The magical battle of Britain – Dion Fortune

find out more about Huna, Ho’oponopono and aloha on facebook check out the events section to find your nearest workshop for direct experience of these techniques and principles

or – check out the notes section for more articles…

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2 Responses to “Do Science and Spirituality conflict?”

  1. John Child | Positive Impact Partnership Says:

    Hi Gary,

    Great post. My Dad used to read up a lot on the paradox of science and spirituality. I remember he told me that the real thinkers in both areas shared a lot of common ground. Particularly in the view that scientific knowledge was so specific it could not have just ‘happened’ but appeared to be by design. Indeed, I have never met an evolutionist who could truely answer the question of how the first species evolved from the starting point. The idea that evolution discounts the spiritual has always seemed a little closed as views go.

    I’m not sure I agree with you that ‘effectiveness is the measure of truth.’ I’ll have to think about that. I have seen an awful lot of ineffectual truths over the years.

    • Aloha Gary Says:

      Aloha John!

      Mahalo, thank you for your comments, and I do agree with you about the evolutionist closure.

      with regard to the proverb – the point of it is, that if something is not effective, then it is not true. Therefore many theories and hypotheses, if they do not provide practical help in the real world, are actually pretty useless! 😉

      hope that clarifies?

      Aloha Gary

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