The Zen Influence in the Sciences

untitled-zen-imagesScience does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science but (humans need) both.
A quote from Fritjof Capra

Increasingly we’re witnessing in action the rise of scientism and its false claim that science alone is the final authority on universal truth even though such a ruling may fall outside its field of expertise.

Emphasis on the scientific method alone rather than the scientific discipline categorizes subjects as diverse as physics, biology, and the humanities of sociology, psychology and philosophy under the broad spectrum labelled the sciences.

As author Rupert Shortt duly notes; scientism is a sitting duck because a proposal such as ’the only meaningful statements are those derived from natural science’ is not itself a proposal of natural science and so is flawed. The same argument can be used against the soft sciences.

The idea that objective reality doesn’t exist is a reoccurring theme popping up all over recently and is impossible to ignore.
This translates into reality being different for everyone as it’s based on individual perception so therefor cannot be objective.

In fact this reasoning has more in common with Zen Buddhism where human consciousness plays an active role in creating its own reality.

Simply put the argument is reality is an illusion and goes something like this- if an object or event goes unnoticed it either doesn’t exist or didn’t occur. Observation is also falsely equated with perception instead of measurement which is elementary to classical science.

In cognitive science perception is in the eye of the beholder called “consciousness agents” although if realities are all subjective one must wonder if the purpose is not self-defeating.
If this is the direction cognitive science is headed what impact if any it will have on the natural sciences.
Has the materialistic worldview been abandoned in favour of a more philosophical or spiritual one?
Or more specifically are certain philosophical/ spiritual allegiances driving science?

While the long held big bang theory still has substantial support the theory of multiple universes is gaining ground in popularity.

A 2014 article in the Huffington Post titled; Toward a post-materialistic science -is self- explanatory promoting a 360 degree revolution in scientific thought.

Its source comes from an essay in Explore- a journal of science and healing called- manifesto for a post- materialist science- and goes onto claim that this new understanding is to science what Luther’s 95 theses were to religion.

The essay’s collaborating authors are from fields such as biology, neuroscience, psychology, medicine and psychiatry and their views are emergent not mainstream. .

The article goes on; the newest frontier of science is the study of consciousness which is biased by a materialistic outlook. Therefore this has to be changed in favour of a non-materialistic worldview bent?

The authors propose a radical post-materialism where the mind represents an aspect of reality as ancient as that of the physical world.

They drop the bombshell idea of the mind being fundamental to the universe- that is- it cannot be separated from matter which is part and parcel of the building blocks of the universe.
Put another way – the mind is the ghost in the machine of the brain.

This seems a convenient play on semantics as if re-defining terms explains the why’s and how’s.
As one neuroscientists admits; the brain and mind are related but how remains an enigma.

The idea of a non- materialistic universe isn’t new- but found in the philosophy of Kant and Hegel- but what is new is the naming of the science of the future as “post materialistic”
Where mind is no longer separated from matter- philosophy and natural philosophy is reunited and the clash between science and religion via consciousness is resolved according to the authors.

Much has been written about the compatibility of Buddhism with science with the former entering into the science and religion dialogue.

It’s known that the philosophic and psychological teachings of Buddhism share common traits with modern scientific and philosophic thought.

Well known stem cell researcher- Robert Lanza- released a book a few months ago titled; Biocentrism-how life and consciousness are the keys to understanding the universe.
The title alone is more new age than scientific in nature.

Apparently Lanza turned his attention to the disciplines of Quantum and Astro physics fairly recently.

Biocentrism teaches that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe and that consciousness creates the material universe- not the other way round.
He also believes in the theory of multiple parallel universes where the body may be dead in one reality yet alive in another.

Supporters of the non-material universe call this the third scientific revolution; the first was the physical world of the enlightenment; the second the biological world of evolution through Darwinism; and the third the spiritual world of non-materialism when combined with the other two completes the cycle.