The purpose of science is to discover what is. The purpose of morality
and ethics is to determine what we should do about what is. Mythology
compares appropriate modes of feeling and behavior using archetypes and
parables or fables, while Religions are based on considerations of our
behavior in relationship to that of the god(s).
From Plato's time onwards, the relation between appearances and reality,
and the possibilities of connecting the two, characterized different world
views. Plato believed
that it was possible for spiritually enlightened persons to release themselves
from their shackles and turn towards the light.
rituals to psychoanalysis,
faith is defined as inner attitude, conviction, or trust relating man to
ultimate salvation. Whenever mankind has been deemed to need divine aid
for salvation, there has been an emphasis on a personal relationship with
the saviour-god concerned. This relationship usually connotes faith in
and loving devotion and service toward the deity, and such service may
involve moral and social obligations.
Some religions have grown so strong over time that virtually every detail
of human behavior is prescribed. A person who doesn't want the responsibility
of making life choices may gravitate toward a religious or military life.
Campbell alluded to the Darth
Vader character as an archetype who has given up individuality and
come under the complete control of a system of beliefs. Campbell
describes Vader as a worm-like creature hiding his shameful identity behind
a mask of unfeeling obedience, capable of any atrocity. In that sense,
the purpose of any "ism"
is to devour individuation. Our behest is to gain what structured
knowledge we can from established systems, but remain intact as a caring
and feeling individual.
Deep within, most people apparently hold some religious values, and
may not give much thought to conflicts between between appearances and
reality, or science and religion other than to suppose that perhaps God
allows the universe to evolve according to a set of laws. In religion,
blind faith is supreme, and the belief that we are somehow living a sacred
path is pervasive.
In fact, being completely sincere and completely wrong is all too common.
Man's worst inhumanity to man has invariably come out of religious bigotry,
("if we are right, then they must be wrong"). The atrocities committed
by science are also horrendous. But even worse is when bigotry is combined
with science. Hitler's original intention was to transform the human species
into something more godlike.
Western religious traditions stress divine grace, the inner certainty
or attitude of love granted by God himself. The classic medieval
understanding of faith, set forth by Thomas
Aquinas, saw it as the belief in revealed truths on the authority of
God as their ultimate source and guarantor. A leap
of faith is a metaphor used by the 19th-century Danish philosopher
Kierkegaard to describe commitment to an objective uncertainty, specifically
to the Christian God.
view, underpinning the physical sciences and forming the background of
psychology, is usually expressed as some form of Scientific
Realism. In this view, there is a well defined Real World, to be discovered,
if not totally mapped and understood by the application of logic and the
Human experience, in this world view, was very much a secondary construction,
a product of sensory
input which is elaborated into the perceived world by neurological
processes within the brain. And, according to this view, although these
processes are not at present wholly understood in detail, their main structures
are becoming clear and no radically new principles will be required to
complete the neurological picture, because the brain essentially lies within
the "known" region of reality.
Consequently the only areas supposed to lie beyond our grasp, beyond
the scientific knowledge of reality, are the remoter vistas of particle
physics and cosmology which are in any case of no direct relevance to human
experience. In this view, "unconstrued
experiencing" could be a valuable category of thinking to bring to
therapeutic practice, or to neurophysiology,
but it tells us nothing about reality and is only of individual personal
that only science can find truth which is presumed to be purely materialistic,
and that ultimate reality is without conscious significance of its own.
Actually, this is in itself an act of faith and points to the limitations
of science. Since the psychological factors are not tangible, scientific
knowledge is really limited when discussing on how the Mind works. We can
have a lot of scientific knowledge and be miserable without a good state
Science does not have all the answers, and when we assume that it does,
we can make errors of judgement. For example it was discovered fairly recently
that 90% of the mass of the universe is unaccounted for. Life choices made
entirely on the basis of physical evidence can be the cause of very real
Faith may represent conceptualizations of the human encounter with the
divine mystery, and usually imply some notion of levels and stages in the
progress of believers as they move from the threshold of faith toward its
fulfillment. Different conceptions of faith cohere with different views
of relationships to reason or rationality.
For example, Jodo
in Japan is known as the "Way
to the Pure Land", and is a devotional sect. Since Buddhism does not
specifically address a God in the Western sense, it is considered more
of a philosophy than a religion. Buddhists knew, 2500 years ago, quite
a lot about modern problems of psychology, the inner landscape that have
not been measured or quantified.
Modern philosophers as a group are usually thought to be purely secular
thinkers. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the early 17th
century until the middle of the 18th century, all of the great philosophers
incorporated substantial religious elements into their work.
theory of gravity has opened up a new possibility, in which there would
be no boundary to space-time and so there would be no need to specify the
behavior at the boundary. There would be no singularities at which the
laws of science broke down and no edge of space-time at which one would
have to appeal to God or some new law to set the boundary conditions for
The modern form of phenomenalism
known as the participatory
view of reality opens the way for research that could for the first time
bring an empirically based understanding into an area that could form the
core of the human condition.
The central idea in psychology, is closely connected with philosophical
issues concerning the relation of experienced phenomena to "reality." Whether
you believe it or not, you are at least partly the creator of your reality.
According to Pavlov,
in animals there exists only what he called the first system of signals
of reality. It is made up of these brain systems that receive and analyze
stimuli that come both from within and without. In human beings, there
exists, besides the first system of signals, a second one, language, that
increases the possibilities of conditioning. For human beings words can
function as stimuli which are real and effective even though words are
symbols, abstractions. Stimuli can act as a sign and turn the conditioned
reflex on. Symbolism a central concept of organized faith.
Why an inert substance, a so-called "sugar pill," or a fake surgery
or therapy would be effective, is not completely known, but 30
to 40% of patients obtain relief with the use of placebo
administered under test conditions. Many believe the placebo effect is
due to either a real effect caused by belief or to a subjective
delusion. If I believe the pill will help, it will help, even when the
placebo is not given wittingly. The placebo response apparently works by
Homeopathy or even some conventional treatments may work through partly
through the placebo effect. Patients with cancer gain in optimism because
of complementary treatments. This optimism clearly has medical value in
and of itself. Within the body is a virtual pharmacy, including an arsenal
substances that enhance or regulate the immune system. We know that
emotions increase our immune responses, and can even elevate the IQ,
Negative emotions have an opposite effect. Technology has surrounded
us with stressors
that chronically evoke alarm
reactions, associated with the fight
of flight response. Most of us have learned that the the principles
visualization are valid, even if we don't practice them consciously
or consistently. Applying these same principles to the ills of society
can act as a stepping stone past the pessimism of the nuclear
age, into a brighter future, just as the Renaissance led us out of
the bigotry and pessimism of the Dark Ages.
Whether or not the universe is ultimately conscious of itself may not
be immediately knowable. The fact is that we are becoming conscious
of the universe, and in a way our minds are the universe becoming conscious
of itself. What an incredible moment in history! What a privilege we have
to be born in these times! But, in order to usher in a new society propagating
peace, harmony, and wholeness,
we must change our perspectives
of what is valued.
To have a dream come true, you must first have a dream. This is the
key that unlocks the door to the future. The more often you hold this
dream in the motion picture screen of your mind, the more complete and
vivid it becomes. In mysterious ways your unconscious mind propels you
toward that dream. Whatever we pay attention to is what we become.