random thoughts, origin of science, mythology, Sufism, psychology and all that stuff

Here is a cool quote:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern.”
                                                    WILLIAM BLAKE

As a scientist with crazy ideas locked in the vault of my head I always am thinking about the origin of science. I dont know why. Since I was a child I have always felt like anything someone wanted to know, they could find out. To me the universe is entirely knowable because every force manifesting in theuniverse is manifesting in us 24/7. The totality of the working of the universe is within us. 

Some things are more difficult than others, finding out why they call a big mac a  big mac might be easier than figuring out why we feel a rocking sensation for instance right before we go to sleep. However I have found sometimes strange in my talks with other scientists is that I started out my scientific training early in life, in a non traditional way. I was taught science by my father from maybe 4-5years old if not before it seems. He instilled this belief in me that scientific thought and action, philosophy and mysticism were all different ways of looking at a single answer. He taught me that all knowledge was singular and that the labels are secondary, just an obsessive need of our mind.

Its is only right then that over the years I have grown to feel a sort of kindred spirit in the figure of Giorgio de Santillana (Italian-American science philosopher and science historian, and professor at MIT.) My First Introduction to him was through his iconoclastic book Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge and Its Transmission Through Myth. This book was very provactive and ahead of its time I feel. Though the conclusions have been rejected bythe establishment.

One of the many things that struck me in the book was this sentence:

Over many years I have searched for the point where myth and science join. It was clear to me for a long time that the origins of science had their deep roots in a particular myth, that of invariance.

One of my fascinations since the third grade was mythology. To me mythology is a language a symbolic language, it is the ‘english’ of the unconscious in that it goes around beats up other languages,  small linguistic joke excuse me.  Our dreams are a medium through which we communicate through to ourselves. I really feel that human existence happens on many more planes of existence than that we note. Actually there is a rather interesting tie-in to sufi practice for thoseof you who are interested. Dr Nurbakhsh ( Doctor in pyschology wrote an iteresting 2 part article comparing the method of the pyschoanalyst to that of the sufi Sheikh.

From what has been said it is clear that the program of the spiritual Path begins with the liquidating of the psychic ‘knots’, complexes and passional tendencies of the disciple, so that he attains after a certain period psychic equilibrium and moral health. The second stage of the Tariqa is the disciple’s assumption of the spiritual virtues or becoming embellished with the Divine Qualities and Attributes.

In order to direct the disciple’s spiritual development, the master controls all of his behavior down to the slightest detail. A question here which draws a good deal of the attention of the Qotb and which today from another point of view attracts the interest of psychoanalysts, without their realizing its spiritual significance, is that of dream. The master cures the disciple of psychic and spiritual difficulties by analyzing his dreams, which are told exclusively to the master himself.

Thus, the first phase of the Tariqa is a period of “spiritual psychotherapy” which varies from disciple to disciple. And let us note in passing that the work of psychoanalysts today is an imperfect imitation of what is accomplished by the Qotb, lacking completely the link with God.

By exercising his curative methods the master ‘washes’ and purifies the disciple of passional and diabolic tendencies by means of ‘the water of Devotion and Love’. He replaces the disciple’s bad qualities with Divine Attributes.

Its really interesting to see the psychologicalimplciation of mystical and occultpractice. Take a look at the psychological implcation of this sentence taken from Evelyn Underhil’s book Practical Mysticism

The education of the mystical sense begins in self-simplification.

I spent a lot of time, actually many years digesting  and further analyzing the implications of the centrifugal role played by myth. Though I am no Joey C [Joseph Campbell] or Mircea Eliade  A lot of things have come together before my minds eye. It is at once a language of the subconscious. Its images are indicators of our stage of development, its language is universal , and can manifest themselves socially on a large scale by the prevalence of certain rather interesting symbols which suddenly become picked up by society  for a time being. Its funny looking at movies and novels and video games you can start to trace out some interesting trends and movements or rather the seed of some new movement sprouting. 

It the implications of myth being the origin of science which has got  lot of gears turning in my head. I want to share some of these thoughts with you. But before that I would liketo talk about the myth invariance which is where according to Santillana where science originates. This will be the opic of my next post in this series but I leave you with a brief description.

The Greeks, as early as the 7th century B.C., spoke of the quest of their first sages as the Problem of the One and the Many, sometimes describing the wild fecundity of nature as the way in which the Many could be deduced from the One, sometimes seeing the Many as unsubstantial variations being played on the One. The oracular sayings of Heraclitus the Obscure do nothing but illustrate with shimmering paradoxes the illusory quality of “things” in flux as they were wrung from the central intuition of unity.

Soon after, Pythagoras taught, no less oracularly, that “things are numbers.” Thus mathematics was born. The problem of the origin of mathematics has remained with us to this day. In his high old age, Bertrand Russell has been driven to avow: “I have wished to know how the stars shine. I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.” The answers that he found, very great answers, concern the nature of logical clarity, but not of philosophy proper. The problem of number remains to perplex us, and from it all of metaphysics was born.

Dave-O

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