Thursday, November 6, 2014

How Best to Mine Diamonds

     "my goal is to pluck the diamond from the dunghill of esoteric religion. There is a diamond there, and I have devoted a fair amount of my life to contemplating it, but getting it in hand requires that we remain true to the deepest principles of scientific skepticism and make no obeisance to tradition."
       Sam Harris. "Waking Up. A Guide to Spirituality without Religion." Simon & Schuster, 2014.

     The general idea of the above statement resonates. Harris would, of course, ridicule a religious person examining science WHILE remaining true to the deepest principles of her religion
     From my understanding, to plumb the depths of any discipline, one must completely immerse oneself in that discipline "with an open mind" - be it learning to speak French, play the piano, or pharmacology. Each discipline has its own internal logic and set of rules. This can, and should be done, without "parking your brains at the door before you enter". There's far greater clarity with direct perception than in today's "gold standard" of scientific skepticism.
     Immersive learning does call for psychological flexibility ie letting go of, if only temporarily, dogmatic rigidity (a psychological affliction in its own right). Huston Smith studied several of the world's major spiritual traditions (Buddhism, Islam, and others) by immersing himself in each for years at a time. Perhaps most inspiring are clergy, like Sister Elaine MacInnes, who while remaining a Catholic nun, is also a Zen Buddhist roshi (master), the highest level of teacher in Zen Buddhism.

Peter Essick, National Geographic

No comments:

Post a Comment