A Logical Conversion

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For anyone who missed my ‘How Many Parsecs in a Samadhi?’ post a few weeks back, let it be known that I enjoy blending the disciplines of science and spirituality. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am dubious as to whether science and spirituality will ever truly find a satisfying common ground, though my hope springs eternal. Today I want to talk about something in a similar vein.

I want to take a look at the role of logic within modern spirituality.

For most people, the suggestion of reconciling spirituality with logic is a strange one. These two abstract ideas are generally perceived to be opposing concepts; spirituality being largely concerned with the illogical constant of ‘faith’, while for many people it is ‘illogical’ to believe in something one cannot prove through quantification. Personally, I do not hold my understanding of either logic or spirituality in alignment with conventional paradigms.

Let us first consider the true nature of logic. It is generally agreed that logic is defined as the application of reason. For example, if I climb the apple tree I can more easily pick an apple, and therefore it is logical to do it.

Let us then consider whether or not it is truly illogical to believe in the metaphysical. It is my understanding that engendering a positive mental outlook has demonstrated beneficial effects on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. Furthermore, it is illogical to presume something does not exist simply because it hasn’t been proven. Therefore, if believing that something exists beyond the physical regardless of scientific verification gives an individual an increasingly positive mental outlook, is it not logical to do so?

In the interest of being fair, let’s look at the other side of the coin. What are the disadvantages, from a logical perspective, in believing in the metaphysical? It has been suggested that spiritualists have historically proven to be innately illogical, particularly those stemming from religious sects. Obviously though, if we choose to believe in the metaphysical to satiate the perceived logic of doing so it is unlikely to compromise our ability to perceive logic, so that is a moot point. One might suggest that believing in the metaphysical gives a person cause for bias and that it is logical to remain impartial, particularly when impartiality is so important to the scientific model of analysis. However, I dispute this. Not believing in something and being impartial are two different characteristics. Deciding to not believe in the metaphysical does not make a person any more impartial than one who does believe in the metaphysical, for the simple reason that bias is the act of becoming attached to a concept. Whether you choose to believe in the metaphysical or not, it is equally possible to become attached to the abstract constant that you have invested yourself in and equally possible to lose impartiality. Therefore, I believe this to be a moot point also.

As far as I can tell, there is one key flaw we must accept when we choose to believe in something that hasn’t been scientifically proven and may never be; we might be wrong. The greatest loss to those that choose a spiritually-inclined outlook is that, in all honesty, our beliefs could potentially be disproven someday by some guy in a labcoat that works adjacent to the CERN supercollider.

I guess my question is – would that really be the worst thing in the world?

It can be easy to become attached to ideas and concepts in the information age. I believe that the most sensible outlook is to hope for the best and plan for the worst, as the saying goes.

And that is why it is logical to be spiritual.

On a side note, eyE[before]E just mounted 1,000 hits after only a month and half!

You can’t take the sky from me. 😉

(Image credit to Quirky)

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15 thoughts on “A Logical Conversion

  1. loved the article my man. i feel that science and spirituality are already on the way of blending together. i think more and more everyday we are getting closer to the realization that anything we can manifest in our minds can truly be possible. it all comes down to our belief systems. thank you for stopping by my site. i hope you enjoyed it as muh as i enjoyed your site. come back around as i am quite the science aficionado ( lol well i love to write about new discoveries and the impossible becoming a reality) take care.

    • Thanks Drew, and I believe you’re right. 🙂

      My pleasure, as I said I really like your blog too, and also have a passion for the wonders of modern science. It’s a pretty awesome world that we live in, and it’s always nice to connect with someone else who realises that. Don’t be a stranger. 🙂

  2. Interesting post, Ryan. It all comes back to Popper and Black Swan Theory, I believe. For myself, I’d err on the side of extreme scepticism, but that doesn’t mean that something approaching spirituality can’t be experienced (the best of art takes us to that place, I would argue). You’re definitely doing well with the hits, though. I’ve only managed half as many again in nine months…

    • Thanks Paul. Black Swan Theory is definitely the extreme skeptics outlook. 🙂

      I respect your candour and your opinion. Obviously, we all need to make our own minds up about what is conceivably conceivable. Though I will mention that my theory differs from Karl Popper’s slightly. Popper suggests that it’s logical to believe in the improbable because it allows for the expectation of the anomalous. While I agree this is a benefit, I am suggesting that it’s beneficial for reasons beyond scientific analysis (mental and physical health) to believe in the rationally improbable.

      As for the hits, I can only attribute this to all the amazing indie authors, poets and artists I’ve been networking with lately. Thanks guys, you are all an amazing group of people, and seeing the inspiring projects and blog articles that come out of you only further fuels my own inspiration. Thanks Paul. 🙂

  3. Interesting post. As for me, put me on the side the spirituality and science can and do coexist … actually in the many who don’t see it as a forced choice, but as a coexistence.

    • I shall put a green stamp on your hand, to ensure you don’t get mixed in with the others. 🙂

      It’s interesting, actually, that the most polarising aspect of this post seems to have been my retiscence to concede a common ground between science and spirituality. It’s not that I think they have none. It’s more so that I believe that the modern convention of the scientific ideal will have to be redefined in order to accommodate for spiritual truths. Let’s face it; quantifiable metaphysics would revolutionise the way we think of science to the point where it would be virtually unrecognisable. Nonetheless, I understand where you’re coming from, and don’t disagree. Cheers for that, Frank. 🙂

      • To me, the best part of your post and your answer here is that you’ve done it in a respectful tone. Nonetheless, whereas some see it as a choice, but I still maintain they are the minority.

        On a related note, I’ve posted much on the religion and science interchange. See “Religion and Science” in my sidebar Categories …. well, if you’re interested. 😉

  4. Nice post. I have been a rationalist and still hold science as the best way of exploring meaning. So I approach spiritual experience as matters which science has not yet investigated, explored, hypothesised and theorised. That which we cannot explain is not invalid. It is just as yet partially understood. We need people involved in spiritual belief to be as open to science as science needs to be open to the metaphysical!

    • Agreed DP. I believe that to be a very intelligent rationalization. 🙂

      Ultimately, it will take mutual understanding from both rationalists and spiritualists to mend the historic schism between the two wholly. Together, we can build a better future! ^^

      • It is similar to the arguments of Matthew Arnold on culture and C P Snow on Science and Arts. Both knew that a marriage was the best way forward, but that an engagement was highly unlikely!

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