Our world is increasingly in the grip of a devastating materialistic scientism (MS).
As a Yogi I’ve struggled for years to understand this obvious pathology – so clear to me a form of mental sclerosis.
The roots of this MS include “proximal” and “distal” causes – in fact, perhaps a whole spectrum of causes lying between “most proximal” and “most distal.”
Might we now begin to comprehend and move beyond this entire package?
For me, a spectrum of limitations of understanding our “human condition” is part and parcel of this package – limitations for which Yoga is itself the remedy.
Of course, Yoga is and has meant countless things to countless individuals over its multi-millennial history and into the present.
Thus, part of our challenge is to discover for ourselves exactly what Yoga is and exactly how it relieves us of pathologies.
An ancient principle of Yoga is that “Yoga is known through Yoga” – in other words, it is only in the practice of Yoga that one discovers what Yoga is – it cannot really be known “from the outside,” or merely as an object of intellectual inquiry.
Thus, the admonition to practice our spirituality – our “Yoga” – whatever form it takes for us as diverse individuals, is central.
But exactly how we understand what we are doing in our practice, it has always seemed to me, is also central.
Thus “what the hell do I think I am doing?” is right next to “who the hell do I think I am?” as parallel spiritual inquires for living in a world in unprecedented crisis.
My intuition is that science can be a handmaiden in this critical Yogic inquiry.
Science is a method for bringing into our consensual minds a progressively deeper understanding of ourselves and our world.
To move beyond materialism we need only examine our own experience and freely observe the utter failure of materialism to in any way even begin to explain our own awareness, our sentience, our consciousness – all protestations of well-intentioned but ambitious cognitive neuroscience to the contrary – seems to me.
Scientism is science as slave of powers that seek only more power – sometimes consciously, most often unconsciously, instinctively, primitively, destructively.
To move beyond scientism will require a political readjustment that sees clearly beyond power to the authentic freedom required for real scientific inquiry.
That freedom is served most directly by the genuine practice of Yoga – personal spiritual work of any and all kinds.
With that freedom, and only with that freedom will science be able to move into the future as handmaiden rather than as slave.