“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” – William Shakespeare
Since the beginning of recorded history, man has been curious about the world around him. His inquiry, fueled by the desire to understand his existence and purpose, is largely confined within two major frameworks: mythological/religious and scientific.
The myths and religious beliefs tend to evoke and emphasize both thought and feeling by way of elaborate and beautiful stories, music, art and more, while the scientific approach rests more squarely on the cold and hard intellectual facts of life. Advocates of the former direct their inquiry to the totality of the phenomena they seek to explain and favor answers which point to the whole of truth, while proponents of the latter prefer to examine, describe and understand the component parts of the whole with the goal of eventually finding answers to the same questions about life and existence.
The myths/religious belief systems give answers to the largest questions of life, such as “Who am I,” “Why am I here” and “Where am I going” while the scientific approach typically focuses on identifying concrete answers to questions significantly more limited in scope. What interests me most about these two approaches, however, is that they share a common goal: understanding.
In some ways the religious framework has provided more words and concepts to describe the invisible aspects of life, but certain branches of science, such as quantum physics, are working hard to the same end. Whether the twain shall meet I cannot be sure, as both approaches tend to crystallize that which is inherently flowing and therefore divide more than they connect using the analogy in yesterday’s post.
Is the gold rush for information going to end in a bust? Is it nothing more than a trip down the rabbit hole? Time will tell. Do the religious approaches thin the veil which divides wisdom and knowledge? It shall be shown.
In the meantime, we have limited symbols – words and concepts – made available to us by both approaches through which we can peer to find insight into absolute truth.