“Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are artists of one kind or another. The function of the artist is the mythologization of the environment and the world.” -Joseph Campbell

I had a revelation the other day in the shower, about how science really is the religion of the 20th century and that the goal, to explain creation, is the same as spirituality. Scientists are like modern day alchemists and everything they “worship” as fact, is really just as made up as everything else. Facts are works in progress. The very word fact comes from the Latin factum which means “deed, accomplishment, work, act, achievement.”  Even the so called empirical evidence is all based on human reasoning, which is subject to human biases and our limited ability to comprehend things. Some astrophysicist even agree that the reason things are so sketchy far away in space is that the math (our modern day divination tool) could be wrong, or that is does not apply to space as it does here on Earth.  

I understand why scientists have a beef with religion. Religion has held them back for ages, as it has everything else. Many of the older belief systems have been literally wiped off the face of the planet through their persecution and unwillingness to accept “another way” to the Truth with a capital T including the scientist, right alongside the “witch” and the “heathen.” I could stand to see the old religious institutions based on policing the masses go the way of the dinosaur because they no longer serve the human population. Spirituality helps people make meaning of the world they exist in. Religion is based on dogma, hierarchy and control. Surprisingly, in all of my research as a student of Monomyth, I have discovered that most of the so-called “primitive” spiritual systems had (and have) a much deeper grasp on the reality of the world through cause and effect, the way energy cycles, etc. than the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions. The East is also much closer to science in it’s vast concepts of time, space and energy. What is the Big Bang theory if not a cosmogonic myth?

I think the spirituality of the future will be the one that ties the old anthropomorphic personifications of the awesome powers of nature and the Universe with the “proof” of those powers’ existence and origins through science. To alchemize the science with the old archetypes in a meaningful psychological way with emphasis on humanism and sustainability which will also (I hope) benefit all of the other Earth’s creatures in the long run.  And that requires, first acceptance and acknowledgement of differences in the interpretations as all being equally valid for their time and cultural setting, and second the willingness to integrate, mix and create a new myth for the future generations that will give depth and meaning to their lives without cognitive dissonance between the “facts” and their belief system.  We are all beginning in various stages, to “wake up.” Even those who are fighting so hard to stop the great change are aware of it’s coming, otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to stop it. I think it’s possible. I hope it is possible….

Those are my really deep thoughts for the day. 

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8 Replies to “Revelations”

  1. Brit, I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. Science and religion/spirituality seek to answer different questions. Science uses test to better understand how things work, the mechanisms behind them. Something is not science unless it can be tested. It can not, however, answer questions about purpose, these are left to religion/spirituality. I don't think that most scientist have a "beef" with religion. They do get upset when those with religious agendas try to discount what we have learned about the world through science (evolution is a great example of this). People tend to think that science can solve all of out problems (the media is partially to blame for this) and answer everything, and this I think is one of the main problems. Ask any good scientist whether something can be proven 100%, and they will say no. We can get pretty close with continued testing. Scientist sometimes dismiss religion/spirituality too quickly, for some it is a very meaningful part of there lives, for others it is not.Sorry for the long rant on this, but I felt I would not be true to myself if I stayed silent. I only write this because I feel comfortable enough with your openness to other perspectives.

  2. Very good. I think what I was trying to get across in my statement, "Science is the Religion of the 20th Century," is the notion that as much importance and merit is given to science now as was once given to religion in the past and that spirituality's purpose according to Joseph Campbell is to help human beings make sense of the world they live in and make meaning out of it. In many respects, science now does this. Check out this book by JC: I think it will illustrate what I'm trying to get across in more clear and concise manner ;0)

  3. Basically, it comes down to the things that human beings used to worship as anthropomorphic representations of the universe are now being sort of "worshiped" if you will, as data i.e. Truth. And the idea I had the other day about all of this inconclusive scientific evidence, is that it is still subject to our human abilities to comprehend things, which may or may not be the reality of the universe. Things that were taken as scientific "fact" in the past have been proven to be absolutely wrong in the present, so why not in the future? I had this idea right after watching a program on Nova about the multiverse, String Theory and particle physics, and how time after time, former theories are proven incorrect. So my thought on science is that it is our modern day divination tool, not unlike how our ancestors divined things through the elements or throwing the bones, etc. To those people, reading runes was given just as much merit as our current scientific methods, and yet over the course of the next century, our successors might look back on our muddling around now as being laughable. There's really not a huge difference between spirituality and science. They're both seeking the same answers. The problem is trying to reconcile the answers that got stuck in 900 BCE and the other which currently existing in 2000 AD. Spirituality and science are not inseparable to me, because I see them both as trying to address the same questions. Does that make sense? Again, not trying to change your mind or convince you of anything. Just trying to articulate the way I view the universe. Religion is the biggest problem in my mind of trying to reconcile the two, because for some reason, they're hell bent on viewing the 900 BCE model as the ONLY truth, instead of seeing their symbols for what they are, METAPHORS. I'm fully aware however, that on all sides of the argument…science, religion and spirituality…I am very much in the minority ;0)

  4. Okay, so yes there are some things in science that have been proven wrong, but this is usually just refining of knowledge. Some pieces of a theory are thrown out after further testing, but generally not a whole theory. We come up with better ways to test things, so we develop a better understanding of the process and the mechanics.I understand what you are trying to say, I just don't agree with some of the details. Yes runes and other divination tools were given a lot of credence, and many scientific ideals will be proved "laughable" (like blood letting). But I think those that are strong and do reflect truth will withstand. For example the things we now now about the solar system (at least locally) have been refined over the last few centuries and the principles Galileo developed are now taken to be fact. I think evolution is another good example of this, the theory has been modified and improved upon and now we have a very good understanding of it. I have to admit that there is some dogma in science, but I think in the end this usually gets sorted out, though it might take decades or centuries to do so.As for the anthropomorphic part, maybe I am misunderstanding you here. I don't know that there is any other way to see the world. We will always be viewing the world with our ape brains. Nothing can be totally objective.While I do think that science and spirituality are looking at different questions (how vs why), I do not think they have to be incompatible. I think you can answer the how with science and the why with spirituality. Personally I do not feel the need to answer the why (this is a whole Pandora's box that I will not open here). I feel satisfied, and actually quite comforted, by the assumption that we are just random pieces of the universe, and rather small pieces indeed.I so like the idea of metaphors. I have always thought that all the stories found in religion have been taken way too literally. For some reason we have always viewed the Greek myths and just that, myths. Stories that teach us lessons, but for some reason the bible is truth. I am getting a bit out of my realm…On another note. I was talking to a friend the other day about how good it feels to be able to discuss things with those who have different view points- be it religion, politics or whatever- without the fear of ridicule or hurting of feelings. I think when we have discourse it forces us to really examine what we think we "know". I don't think these conversations are about changing anyone mind necessarily, but more about understanding a perspective other than your own.

  5. Here, here! Where's my "Like" button for this? "I do not think they have to be incompatible." I think you just simplified what I was trying to say in a nutshell. The anthropomorphic aspect of the forces of the universe has to do with archetypes and much more to do with human psychology. We need new archetypes that will help us integrate our body's limited capacity to catch up and evolve with the changing world we live in. We've done away with all the archetypes, meanwhile we need the archetypes. Without them, human beings are spiraling into mass psychological disorders and rampant drug abuse be it illegal substances or pharmaceutical junkies because the world without spirituality and pure science alone is not enough for our primitive brains to make meaning as of yet. Hence my desire for some sort of new global myth, that will utilize the psychologically sustaining power of the archetypes with the scientific universe we are now aware of. Not only do I think it's healthy for the human psyche, but I think it will be necessary to create a sustainable world. One that we are all in together. I think there are some people who can live without the "why" but, they are not the majority of people. The majority need to have answers to the "why." One of the things that makes us human is asking the question, why? Without answers to the why, people have horrific episodes of identity crisis', and general feelings of uselessness and malaise. All you have to do is look at tribal societies which have had their whole way of being destroyed to see how quickly they fall apart, lose self-esteem, become drunks, start beating their wives, children, etc. Look what happened to the Native Americans. On a larger scale, I see this kind of societal and psychological deterioration happening on a global scale. I think the reason religious people clutch to their faith so strongly is out of fear of losing not only themselves, but their roles in society and their reasons to go on living. But at the same time, their explanation of the universe is one of the most elementary out there. Therefore, they have cognitive dissonance. A lot of the people I know who have gone through suicidal moments of identity crisis are those who have had a breakthrough where their Christian upbringing or (insert Judeo-Christian faith here) has failed them because they can no longer ignore the reality of the world we live in. But science has not given them a basis to live their lives by, and therefore they have gone on drug benders or attempted to commit suicide or the very worst is those who actually succeeded in suicide. They needed to have some of the why questions answered. I was just talking to a friend and co-worker about his experience with crisis and how he later found meaning in Buddhism. The Eastern philosophies seem to actually lend themselves quite well to the universe as we now know it. So, in essence, I think it's very important for people to have the symbols of the "how" to answer the "why" but it's not the current mythological model we have in existence…Wow, we really need to talk about this in person some time ;0) And I also agree that it feels good to have these discussions and to understand other points of view without fear of being burned alive at the stake or ostracized ;0)

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