The Redefinition of Marriage Between Faith and Science
As our unKnown Friend writes, "The father of empirical science is doubt and its mother is faith." On the one hand, "doubt is the very root of every question, and questions are the basis of every quest and all research."
And yet, as Michael Polanyi has so extensively described, it is faith that guides us to the potentially fruitful question -- one that can be asked "in good faith," and to which we can anticipate an answer to be forthcoming.
For example, "Newton doubted the traditional theory of 'gravity,' but he believed in the unity of the world.... Doubt set his thought in motion; faith rendered it fruitful." In a sense, one could say that doubt is horizontal, whereas faith is vertical. And the vertical often involves a kind of "wordless anticipation" or, better yet, the realm of the "unThought known" that connects us to the whole world of things human beings Just Know.
Again, to paraphrase Schuon, instinct is to animals as the intellect (nous) is to man. Thus, for example, we "instinctively" turn toward the Creator and seek to actualize the implicit knowledge we have of him.
But there is of necessity faith in doubt and doubt in faith (note that the <---> that links the two implies their underlying unity). The doubt in faith is the "dark night of the soul," the days and years spent wondering in the bewilderness, accompanied by the childlike attitude of expectant waiting.
Conversely, the faith in doubt is the belief that the cosmos is ultimately intelligible and therefore whole and finally good; that it is a creation through which we may apprehend the qualities of its Creator.
The scientist has faith that the endless multiplicity he confronts is a reflection of its prior unity, i.e, that the world is a cosmos and not a chaosmos (or that chaos is parasitic on cosmos, for the converse could never be true). He also has faith that the human subject -- itself an ordered totality, or microcosmos -- is uniquely capable of apprehending this unity (for only one can know the One); as Aldous Huxley remarked, "science is the reduction of multiplicity to unity."
And the scientist believes in evolution, which is to say progress. And progress is absolutely meaningless unless it is situated in the light of the absolute, i.e., truth. A universe of pure change could never be progressive -- which, by the way, is another reason why political "progressivism" is always regressive. In glorifying the lowest level of reality -- matter on the one hand and desire on the other -- it has nowhere to go but down.
Seen in this darklight, progressivism quickly devolves to an excuse to unleash violence against the current order, since reality can never match up to the infantile desires and fantasies of the left. "The perfect is the enemy of the good." The leftist does not believe in the permanence of transcendent things, in the absence of which there can be no dynamic and fruitful interplay of faith and doubt, or creative evolution.
Rather, he believes in a static fantasy of an unattainable utopia, which again serves as the justification for destroying that which is -- including those beautiful values that made this nation possible. It is such a parochial and ethocentric view, since the vast majority of the so-called 99% are actually in the 1% if they would only widen their historical view instead of only consulting their desires.
It is the unrepentant spiritual terrorism of the left that frightens the population. For when you insist that this is a racist country; a sexist country; a homophobic country; a classist country; you do not just criticize the margins, but delegitimize the center. Progressivism is the expression of thanatos the "death instinct." It is perverse, sadistic, and authoritarian. Which is why, of course, they project these things into conservatives.
Eliot wrote that "if the progress of mankind is to continue as long as man survives upon the earth, then... progress becomes merely change; for the values of man will change, and a world of changed values is valueless to us -- just as we, being a part of the past, will be valueless to it.
"Or if the progress of mankind is to continue only until a 'perfect' state of society is reached, then this state of society will be valueless simply because of its perfection. It will be at best a smooth-running machine with no meaning..."
The idea that progressivism renders our lives worthless to generations of the future is a subtle point worth dwelling on. Consider how blindly the left sweeps away not just the average individual (especially if he doesn't share their values), but the truly great men of the past.
The Founding Fathers? Just racist slaveholders promoting their economic interests. Lincoln? He didn't care about the plight of blacks, he just wanted more power for the north. The men who died for our freedom in World War II? Probably just racist redneck Christianists, just as today.
The other day, a leftist-integral-Buddhist suggested to us that the liberation of Iraq was an aggressive war. We told him he was either ignorant, intellectually dishonest, or morally retarded. And we meant it literally, not as an insult.
Talk about irony. What China did to Tibet was aggressive. Removing the most sadistic tyrant on earth and installing a democracy is a gift from heaven, even if it remains to be seen if Islam and liberal democracy are capable of coexisting. At least we'll know.
The point is, the left undermines and delegitimizes the United States, and then wants to elect one of its own to be President of the land they so despise. [This was written over three years ago -- ed.] If Obama fails to bring this howling mob the revolutionary change it is clamoring for, who knows what will happen with their collective death instinct? If one is not a part of their fantasied solution, then one is just a problem, someone standing between them and the fulfillment of their desires.
For a primitive person, idealization is always a defense against aggression, so it will be very interesting to see how Obama manages the aggressive idealization being projected into him. I seriously doubt that he appreciates the hatred beneath the love, being that he is one of them.
In light of the "permanent things," time past and time future become time present. This was one of Eliot's great concerns, expressed so perfectly in Four Quartets. Again, the progressive believes in time as a straight line composed of atomistic and disjointed moments -- which, by the way, is what Eliot was attempting to capture and convey in his earlier, more pessimistic poems, prior to his conversion.
This recalls Bion's concept of "attacks on linking," which can take place in both time and space; in fact, if you think about it, you cannot attack spatial links without attacking temporal links. To attack the one is to attack the other. Deconstruction doesn't just destroy the present, but past and future as well. To destroy history is to destroy the present, and vice versa.
But to dwell in the permanent things -- the essence of conservatism -- is not to live in the discontinuous line, but within a kind of spiritual plenum that connects us to all of mankind, living and dead (indeed, to mankind as such). It is a kind of sin and scandal, not only that the dead cannot vote, but that the left wishes to force a new country upon us that would be unrecognizable to the men who died to create this one.
To say that "we are the ones we've been waiting for" is not just cosmically narcissistic but profoundly ungrateful. But all children come into the world believing they are cosmically special, otherwise they could not psychically survive the indignities of infancy.
Science in the absence of religion -- scientism -- conforms to the pattern laid out in Genesis: your eyes will be open to the horizontal and you shall become like gods! But this overvaluation of the quantitative aspect of the cosmos comes at the price of obscuring its qualitative aspects: "quality is the vertical aspect of the world," and it is ultimately rooted in the permanent things discussed above.
But as UF asks, why is it necessary to choose between the two? Why not just add the one to the other "under the sign of the cross," i.e., the vertical line of religion -- the permanent things -- bisecting the horizontal plane of science at each and every step along the way? Why not just crucify the serpent? Do so, and a metamorphosis follows:
"The scientistic creed then becomes what it is in reality: the mirroring of the creative Word. It will no longer be truth; it will be method. It will no longer say: 'in the beginning was substance or matter,' but will say: 'in order to understand the mechanism of the made world, it is necessary to choose a method which takes account of the origin of matter and of that which set it in motion from above." Likewise, we will see the brain as a function of intelligence, not vice versa.
In short, "The synthesis of science and religion is not a theory, but rather the inner act of consciousness of adding the spiritual vertical to the scientific horizontal."