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Re: To Daniel - On Science

Oct 12, 1995 05:57 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker


Welcome back to the list. (You've posted a few messages in the past week,
and now seem to be getting active again.)

> [writing to Daniel]:

>Most of what we are discussing here stems from the misconception that
science is
>somehow distinct from the rest of society. It simply is not. Scientists
live in
>the same world we all do. Thus, they are as influenced by the moods and
>philosophical opinions of the times as everyone else is. Science is not some
>idealized thing.

True. Scientists are all among us. In fact, many of us may be scientists
and not know it! Most technical jobs require an understanding and application
of science. And I would not reserve the honorary title of "scientist" to
someone solely engaged in pure research, althought I might make the distinction
between theoretical and applied science. A computer programmer, a lab
chemist for a drug company, or an economist working for a major bank could
all be considered as much scientists as someone working at a university on
a research grant.

And we *are* influenced by the moods and forces in society. Unfortunately.
But as Theosophists, we have access to materials from the Mahatmas, materials
that can broaden our understanding of life and aid us in our spiritual quest.
These materials may not be in a form that is acceptable for inclusion into
popular scientific thought, but *to us* can be highly useful.

>It is a living institution poplulated by living people, people
>subjected to the same failings we all are. But this said, as I've pointed out,
>the hallmark of science is its self-correcting nature.

This is necessary because it is a *living knowledge*, and has to grow, change,
and adopt to changes in life or face stagnation and death. We are not living
in a static, fixed universe -- it is alive, and grows and changes as it will.
Science represents the common, public heritage of knowledge, as opposed to the
*hidden heritage* preserved by the Masters. As the world changes, over time,
these bodies of knowledge need to adapt as well.

>At any moment in time
>there may be all kinds of philosophical opinion layered around the science of
>the day, but this is always only a temporay situation. As times and
>philosophies change (often as the result of science moving on despite current
>philosophies), so will the way that science is seen.

Philosophy is not exactly science. Science gives us an equation, say for the
acceleration of an falling object due to gravity. Philosophy means "the love
of wisdom", and goes beyond the factual nature of the external physical or
astral world. Philosophy deals with an understanding and integration of what
we experience and learn. It deals with our assimilation of external experiences
and information, leading to understand and self-mastery. It's quite possible
that in different times the philosophical description of things changes, and
that an *interpretation* of the external world will vary. The purpose is
to fashion worldviews that facilitate *inner awakenings* in the populace,
rather than express the factual nature of the physical world in the most
efficient manner. There is meaning to a sunset, and something special on
inner planes, that transcends our knowledge of sunlight passing through the
earth's atmosphere.

Both philosophy and science are useful for their respective purposes, but
I would be careful to not make it seem as though philosophy was but a form
of inaccurte science.

>What will not change though is the method of testing ideas against reality.

We have tried-and-proven techniques to arrive at scientific knowledge.
Likewise, we learn from reading "The Mahatma Letters", that the Masters
have their methods of learning and teaching, and for *their kind of knowledge*
we must adopt their ways.

> ... It will be
>likewise with the study of psychic phenomena. Now that reliable tools
exist for
>studying the dream state, it will be only a matter of time before this is
>extended to other altered states of consciousness.

This will be interesting to see in the coming years. I'm looking forward to
reading about it when it makes it to popular scientific magazines like
"Discover". One limitation of the studies, thought, will be the subjects
themselves. You cannot measure non-physical activities with physical
instruments. To explore experiences that transcend the ordinary, either those
of other planes or of higher states of consciousness, you keed suitable
subjects. I don't expect either Chelas or Masters to offer themselves as
subjects, because they've had a long-standing policy of *not* releasing
occult knowledge in the west. Our best subjects may be little more advanced
than the common man.

>Furthermore, progress in neurology (the study of the function of the human
>brain) is begining to shed light on much of what was traditionally considered
>occult phenomena.

If the senses are basically astral, and the physical body is an external
form that we use for sensory input, I'd expect the same with the brain:
thought is in the mind and the brain is the physical organ for the experience
of thought. But that only applies while we're in the physical body, and
not separate in the Linga Sharira or mind-created Mayavi-Rupa.

If we alter or enhance the brain, we may be able to experience in the
physical body forms of perception and thought that were not otherwise
possible. (Except, of course, when we're apart from the body.)

>John Algeo's article about Persinger missed this completely.
>Persinger is only one of many very good scientists who are discovering that the
>brain itself is no mere organ to be be eschewed but that it contains extremely
>marvelous properties that indeed could allow it to be a vehicle for telepathy
>and other such psychic phenomena.

The physical brain is the key to our future faculties of perception,
while existing as fully-embodied people on Globe D.

>Furthermore, I do not think psychic research is "big science". It can be done
>very inexpensively, as I have published articles about elsewhere. I am
>confident that the critical mass is growing and it is only a matter of time
>before what used to be the purview of occultism becomes the subject matter of

If this happens, we may end up with a subrace with additional psychical
powers, but not as developed, I'd think, as back in Atlantean times.
Is that a good thing? How does that affect our *spiritual* evolution?
Those are other issues, one's that JRC and I have gone over many times,
and still haven't completely worked out.

Regarding your book on astral projection, I was curious about it and
was going to take a look in the theos-l archives, but could not find it.
Do you have an internet ftp site where it's sitting?

>the issue is not so much reductionsim verses holism. The idea
>is to balance both points of view so as to have a balanced perspective.

There are uses for reductionism, when not carried too far, in an attempt
to get at basic causes, as you've pointed out. There comes a certain point,
though, when you cannot go any farther without losing the life or essence
of the thing that you're looking at.

Krishnamurti may overuse reductionism, reducing everything to primal
motivations like that of fear. And Freud to that of sexual drive.
It's like a child's questions: "why, why, why, etc." You eventually
get to a meaningful explanation, with enough why's, but if you push it
beyond that, you end up with meaningless answers. The criticism of
reductionism is against going too far with it, with the fact that it's
subject to abuse, and not, at least for me, with it's usefulness as
a tool, when applied with common sense and intelligence.

>So, again, the present system is in trouble. It doesn't matter what the
>system thinks or believes because the tides of history are eroding it
before our
>very eyes. 20 years form now, things will be very differnt.

True. And hopefully the present religious and philosophical systems as well.
And apart from the evolution of these external systems, we're free, as
individuals, to directly persue the Path, and *go beyond*.

>And if the handful of researchers such as myself and a few dozen others keep
>quietly plodding along with our investigations into so-called "paranormal"
>phenomena, then all the better. When the dust settles, we may have something
>to show for our efforts.

Your manner of research will lead to a better understanding of the brain and
consciousness *as it functions in and through that brain*. You may also gain
some gems of occult knowledge along the way. Knowledge is power, though, and
I hope that if you uncover some truths of occultism that are otherwise kept
secret, that you carefully consider their impact on the world before rushing
into publication. There may be other forces, besides nuclear power, that are
better kept unknown, until the general moral and ethic development of humanity
advances far beyond its present sorry state.

>What I am saying is that if the TS as a whole were more committed to the 3rd
>objective of the Society, the TS itself would be in a much more creative and
>constructive situation.

Why don't you keep us updated with highlights from scientific thought? You
could post a few paragraphs on discoveries or reserach of note, as you come
across them.

>Most of the views I've gotten here from our discussions on THEOS-BUDS are
>woefully out of date and out of touch with what is presently occuring.
>This only reflects how the TS as a whole has basically neglected its
>original commitment to a scientific spirit

It might be useful to discuss what views are out-of-date, and why you
think so.

>It would be ideal if there would come a day when Theosophy would dovetail and
>fuse with science.The "writing on the wall" indicates that science is moving
>in this direction. Its unfortunate that the TS is not.

If a theosophical group wants to take that direction, that's fine. And the
same for individual members. But there's another purpose for theosohical
groups, and I'd hope that at least a few of them support that purpose: to
provide an junior college to the Mysteries.

This makes me think about a quote by Manly Hall:

"Throughout the ages, the Mysteries have stood at the threshold of reality --
that hypothetical spot between numen and phenomenon, the substance and the
shadow. The gates of the Mysteries stand ever ajar and those who will may
pass through into the spacious domicile of spirit."

-- Eldon

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