I was really happy to see the discussion generated by my ongoing series of posts over at DISCOVER. Much of it is really thoughtful and it's encouraging to see the depth which so many people consider their own thinking on the subject. At its best consideration of science and religion as a subject is really about people confronting the deepest questions of meaning humans can encounter. Lets face it. Life is weird. Being here is weird. Amidst the sorrow and the beauty and the horror and small joys our capacity to to stop and consider the world-in-and-of-itself, to ask what this is and what it means, must certainly count as one "better angel" of our nature.
At the same time in some responses you can see the shadow in us. There is a need for certainty that emerges for some when these questions are touched that is rigid and shuts out the capacity to learn. I love science for its simple ethic of 'stay awake' and 'be suspicious of your preconceptions'. While it may surprise my scientific colleagues to hear me say this, I found the same spirit in many of those who are authentic in their religious life, who find their sincere attempts to live compassionately and with wisdom emerging from their own sense of a deeper weaving to the fabric of the world. That is what makes those people so interesting to me as a scientist (and a friend, acquaintance, etc)
It is sad that for too many people the discussion is not about humility before the great mystery but a kind of steamroller that "they know". I always find this perplexing and unfortunate and it also clearly is the root of a lot of the world's suffering. In the end being human is a creative act of creating meaning from our observations and our lived response to the world. Its so much richer when you don't bring your preconceptions or your demands to the easel before you start to paint.
A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever it wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
and keeps his mind open to what is.
The Tao Te Ching
Translated by Stephen Mitchell
The Great Pant Rip Episode of 2012
4 years ago