Author: Joseph Paul
One of the raging topics in my High School forum last week was a piece triggered by Denzil Bob about Scientific vs Mystical Knowledge. In it he quoted a stanza from the poem ‘Auguries of Innocence’ by William Blake:
“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”
Denzil argued: “Mystical knowledge, even if it transcends reasoning and baffles expression, is no less factual and experiential, even as scientific knowledge is precise and exact. The poet understands it to some extent, and yes the child too. Descriptions need not be only verbal; they can be felt in the heart and felt along the blood, and expressed organismically as the child can or the charismatic does. One of the fallacies of life is that experience in the spiritual realm is some kind of levitationary disembodiment…..the truth is that, as incarnated spirits, we cannot experience our spirituality except through our bodies….Why do we think that only scientific knowledge is derived from experiment and observation? Are the meditative insights of the spirit not observation-based? Yes, the object of observation may be different……the mystic looks within, exploring consciousness, piercing the veil of even the unconscious. The scientist explores the external; the material world…….The intriguing thing is that when he investigates the sub-atomic world, the scientist, like the mystic discerning the psychic world, arrives ultimately at the same essential unity of things. And, in the throes of this in-depth revelation of the nature of things, both realize the inseparability of the observed and the observer, the symbiosis of the cognitive and the intuitive in the experiencing, and learning and discovery that occurs….”
Reminded me of my school days where we had to interpret similar poems and works of Shakespeare. And also set me thinking….
As I read the well articulated perspective on the above subject, I also realized that apart from Science and Mysticism which occupied my professional and personal time earlier, I am increasingly getting drawn into more quality of life impacting issues at a global and at the country level. And a vast majority of the online personal content seem to reflect this trend. I began wondering..
Denzil described two major axis of the human paradigm in the evolution timeline – mystic and scientific knowledge. Though appearing to be at variance, he has rightly portrayed the intersection of these to be key to where the human race is today. Depending on the characteristic of the individual, they tend to be more of one than the other in varying degrees and at different stages in one’s lifetime. The Poet-Philosopher on one end of the spectrum to the Professional-Scientist at the other.
But with an increasingly connected and timely awareness driven world, is there a third axis that is coming into play. If you call the other two as intuitive and cognitive, can we call this empathetic (for want of a better word) which drives the modern man’s action and reaction. Maybe, it is even replacing mysticism at the timeline. I see that in my children and in the talking subjects of their peers. The local sparks and the global fuel that drove the rapid revolutionary changes in the Mid-East would have been brought about, in an earlier era, through philosophy and science only after many years, if not multiple generations.
Let me take the liberty of adding this dimension to William Blake’s lines, where he states that you can “experience the macrocosm by contemplation of the microcosm”(-as explained by Steve D in answers.yahoo.com):
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
…inequality in a tear,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour
… change destiny in a thought.
About the Author
Software Architect at a Fortune 100 company in Delaware, USA.
- What is Scientism? (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
- It is always now (francocignelli.com)
- Rationalism, Scientific Thought and Mysticism – Relevant sections from M.N.Roy (radicalhumanists.wordpress.com)
- “Travel back in time to share one piece of scientific knowledge from today” (larryferlazzo.edublogs.org)
- Nature Genetics Editorial: When Customers Become Collaborators (23andme.com)
- Responding to Levi Bryant on the Question of Religion (footnotes2plato.com)
- The Congressional War on the Social Sciences (psmag.com)
- William Blake (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Philosophy and Physics (sophisticatedfinance.typepad.com)
- Science and Spirit: The Schism (indrajitrathore.wordpress.com)