Friday, December 15, 2017

When science triggers spirituality...

This post is an attempt to bring together some of statements (most of them by scientists) that triggered a spiritual impulse in me. I guess there is something spiritual about any quest for truth - both scientific and religious. Also 'the wide-eyed sense of wonder' (typically associated with children or the child in adults) is probably the passport to both religious and scientific progress. Again our shared sense of 'beauty' can act us a guide in both religious and scientific pursuits.

The following are statements that somehow struck a spiritual chord in me. I don't want to over analyze them. So I am capturing them without comment. In some cases I have brought together statements made by a scientist in different occasions. So here we go....

1. Every formula which expresses a law of nature is a hymn of praise to God. Book of Nature is also a Book of God (Maria Mitchell)

2. Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry (Richard Feynman)

3. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both." (Carl Sagan)

4. Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe - a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naïve. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” (Albert Einstein)

5. It was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls (Max Plank)

6. For most scientists, I think the justification of their work is to be found in the pure joy of its creativeness; the spirit which moves them is closely akin to the imaginative vision which inspires an artist (James B Conant)

 7. I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me (Isaac Newton)

8. It is strange that only extraordinary men make the discoveries, which later appear so easy and simple (Georg C. Lichtenberg)

9. The saddest aspect of life right now is that gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom (Isaac Asimov)

10. Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less (Marie Curie)

11. You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself (Galileo)

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