Friday, October 19, 2018

Being Human and the Abuse of Science - By Anthony J. DeBlasi

The question, Hamlet, is not "to be or not to be" or even "to act or not to act."  It is "to believe or not to believe."
Human being calls for living according to a set of beliefs that come from the source of being – not from the brain, not from science, not from natural or man-made objects.  Being human stems from cognition that transcends the opinions and calculations of any individual or group.  This is something that people have always known and leaders have forgotten.
Philosophers and theologians who object or rationalize around this central fact of human life ignore or make light of the fact that we do not put ourselves here and know zilch about how, for example, water, food, and air become thoughts, emotions, and the countless products of human life and civilization, from safety standards to works of art.  This large blind spot regarding the reality of the world and ourselves leads to endless falsehoods that obstruct sound judgment and action.
One great and seriously obstructing falsehood is that science liberates us from ignorance about ourselves.  But...
If it were up to us, Scientist, we'd drop dead, because we wouldn't know how to manage the zillion things the body must do to keep us from visiting "the undiscover'd country from whose bourn no traveller returns" (1).
The belief that we are "masters of our fate" and "captains" of our soul" (2), while not pure hubris, must be balanced with the realization that, after all, we are not our own gods.
Because the source of our being is obviously not science – or any other system of human knowledge, for that matter – science is not a legitimate basis for the beliefs that help make us human.  Yet that is what it has been (ab)used for, across the centuries, and the resulting bull [3] fed the public.  Science is a great and wonderful tool.  But to consider it a gateway to action consistent with being human is intensely wrong-minded – unless the object be to turn people into machines of some kind.  Not laughably, this is what some futurists are comfortable with.  In that demented case, life would not be worth living.
Cutting whatever path through theology and philosophy, including thatconcerning science, the final question must remain "which god to believe?"
On a paper, dated 23 November 1654, stitched into the lining of his coat and found after his death, Blaise Pascal wrote: "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and scholars [my emphasis].  Certainty.  Certainty.  Feeling.  Joy.  Peace."  The famous French philosopher and mathematician who gave us the adding machine and developed the modern theory of probability ultimately and privately conceded that the joy of certainty proceeds not from the mind of man, but from God.  Release from anxiety and uncertainty is not through a process of calculation based on assumptions or derived from experience, but through alignment with the Almighty.  The brilliant Pascal realized, as we all must, that belief in God energizes the contact between us and the source of our being, which alone can steer us along the best track in life.
Pascal's "maxim" echoes through the corridors of time.  An echo, still loud and clear, comes from a 19th-century statesman: "The postulates of science do not rest upon absolute knowledge, but are derived from sources similar to those of religious conviction.  If only the data of physical researches and sensory evidence be allowed by thinking people, then we must labor forever in the agonies of doubt[.] ... They who begin in doubt may end in certainty through a higher skepticism [my emphasis] ... not the narrow destructive skepticism of the egoist, deliberately seeking unbelief, but instead an intellectual recognition of the want of evidence. Skepticism need not destroy belief; it may serve, on the contrary, to expose the unjustifiable complacency of unbelievers" (4).
From that higher perspective, it can be seen that the current sad state of human affairs in America is the consequence of replacing God with Homo sapiens and believing that that substitution is smart!
One of the saddest consequences of the disconnect between human minds and their source has been the terrible game that democracy has become in our republic.  The hidden rule of the game is that everything, sacred or not, negotiable or not, is subject to the tyranny of a majority, whose members believewhat they are made to believe.
In this ruthless game, brainwashing and propaganda form the will of the majority who then vote the will of organized rascals that have the largest bankrolls.  But what kind of men and women are they who presume to rule over you, me, and everyone else?  Is there a halo on the ones who are "holier than thou"?  How many of the wiser among them are even aware of, let alone true to, a higher Authority than themselves?  Being wise in your own mind is not being wise, and being powerful not a reason to rule.
Many consider a view of life centered on God retrograde and old-fashioned.  This is the prevailing attitude among those who practice the secular humanist religion.  Their leaders fail to notice that their bodies are also old-fashioned.  They are the ones who fail to notice that the brain is designed to help keep us alive, not take over ownership of mind, body, fellow being, community, and world.  Regardless of I.Q., they are the ones who stick themselves in boxes of their own making and know not love, beauty, truth, and the significance of having been born.  They include the many who are too lazy to think and give their hearts to whatever warms it.  And they are the ones whose arrogance and presumption cause the innocent of all times and places to – in Hamlet's words – "suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."

(1) Shakespeare, Hamlet.
(2) W.E. Henley, "Invictus."
(3) "Cold facts" and empirical data by themselves are meaningless unless collected into a system of thought and action believed to be true.  It is sometimes argued that, as a way to "make sense of the world," science is in an exclusive class by itself, but as serious belief, science is not exempt from competition with other serious beliefs.
(4) Russell Kirk on thoughts of Arthur Balfour in The Conservative Mind, Chapter XI.