Science -v- Spirituality

  • You will have heard me rant on about how important evidence is in what we do as therapists.  For us to claim that what we do utilizing hypnosis therapeutically, must be backed up by a firm basis in evidence.  This is usually provided by empirical research, i.e. The science.  One might be forgiven for thinking that such thinking leaves no room for spirituality, however, I contest this wholeheartedly.

    Last week I was involved in a debate over dinner regarding a book entitled “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.  Now I confess that I haven’t read the book and nothing that transpired during the debate has inspired me to do so. I feel it’s probably a little too “fluffy” for me, but the book and the thinking therein has fostered a huge following and I have no doubt that it has changed many people’s live. There seems to be very little evidence base for the philosophies it puts forth though.

    However, one cannot ignore how it has worked for so many people.  We even had one person at the debate confirming that it had changed his life.  So the book has plenty of anecdotal evidence which perhaps leads us to ask if there is something in it.  This is where belief comes in.  If you believe in something strongly enough, it tends to have a good chance of happening.  Perhaps the most startling example of this is the rare yet well documented examples of the stigmata that have occurred around the World.  An individual who believes in their religion so strongly that they develop the marks/wounds of Christ’s crucifixion.  The power of belief is amazing.

    Science is simply a set of rules through which we are trying to explain how things work in the world through experiment, measurement and calculation.  But surely there must be a belief that something is a certain way before we attempt to prove it utilizing science.  You have to believe in an idea.  Einstein didn’t simply get up one morning and decide to split the atom over his cornflakes that morning.  His work up until that point had led to his belief that this could be achieved.  For me, belief plays a major part in spirituality, ergo, you need spirituality for the science to work.  Everything starts with an idea or a belief.  It’s down to science and it’s methods to prove (or disprove) those beliefs.

    Take yourself back and put yourself in the shoes of someone a century ago.  Our way of life today would simply be the stuff of science fiction.  Yet here we are, able to stand in the middle of a field and chat to someone in Australia!  So I don’t think that spirituality and science are mutually exclusive.  Far from it!  They need each other.  One simply can’t exist without the other.

    Personally, I choose to wait for the ideas presented by Rhonda Byrne to be proven scientifically.  I am certainly on the side of science and like to weigh all the facts and evidence before running with something.  But I’m not a cold soulless robot.  For example, I firmly believe  that there is life on other planets.  Why?  Because I simply can’t reckon with there being no life other than our own in something as big as the universe.  Billions of galaxies in an infinite space and we’re the only living things in it?  Sorry, that sounds like ideas of grandeur to me!  To me, it’s impossible for there NOT to be life out there somewhere, but science has yet to prove it.  So I got rather excited at the landing of NASA’s little Curiosity robot on Mars this morning.

    Science  versus Spirituality. No!  It should be Science AND Spirituality!  We should accept that science doesn’t know everything and we are always learning.  I wonder where we will be in another hundred years time?


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