Check out this article on the “new humanism”. The part that attracts me discusses how science is the same type of struggling field of human knowledge that all other genres are. In the process he lays out a beautiful vision of science as one discipline among many. One that intrigues me…yet one that seems strangely far away from what the word “science” communicates to me.
The true “sacred texts” of the western tradition have been for centuries, those of the great authors. Plato and Aristotle, Dante and Shakespeare. But also Victoria, Bach, Handel, Beethoven. And Giotto, Fra Angelico, Rembrandt. And Archimedes, Pascal, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Heisenberg. And Paul Celan and Bela Bartok. Etcetera. All of them are “sacred authors.” Canonical. Quantum physics is no less-inspired a monument than the Bible. Nor less ambiguous. The scientist Arthur I. Miller writes: “As a great work of literature, quantum theory is open to a multitude of interpretations.”
Indeed, those who pit science against sacred texts or science against art do so in error. Respective boundaries of autonomy aside, everything forms a part of the same prodigious struggle. The pursuit of the real which, in a sense, is the also the pursuit of the absolute. The absolute that is intuited, though it remains inaccessible.
So here’s my question. Where is this intuited, yet inaccessible science? What does it look like? How can we get there? Because that is one vision I’d love to see. The only dialectic seemingly aiming to correct the scientistic arrogance that qualifies the modern vision is the anarchical philosophies of science that the author so quickly skewers. And I’d imagine that he’d give short shrift to the postmodern movements in the universities, bringing a self-centered literature curriculum to the center of Truth. Religion (and much of this is just guessing) would probably seem to provide a false sense of synthesis, pulling the knowable back into the mysterious. I’m just wondering here. He doesn’t want to leave the mystery in cultural influences upon science. And I’d doubt that he’d leave the mystery in the objects of science themselves. Instead, he leaves the mystery in the center of humanity. The difficulty here is that its easy to leave it here and fall back into a post-Enlightenment, head-spinning malaise.
The fascinating thing is, though, if you root the mystery in God, creation itself becomes a playground for it. The ‘clarity’ isn’t us plumbing the depths of God, as many thinkers have …thought. Instead, the ‘clarity’ is mystery meeting mystery, of creation meeting creation, all along hoping that God is there. The problem with the traditional view of religion is that our metaphysics are all turned around. CS Lewis saw this and defined the problem, we don’t have faces yet. God isn’t the mystery. And neither is any of his creation. We’ve created the mystery in ourselves by breaking ourselves, and refuse to recognize it. We’re broken answers…in other words, we’re questions.
Anyway….sorry for the rambling post. Maybe I’ll see if I can make some sense out of what I’m thinking over the next couple of weeks.