Thursday, 06 July 2017 11:19

The confluence of science, existentialism and spirituality

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THE CONFLUENCE OF SCIENCE, EXISTENTIALISM AND SPIRITUALITY

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

If you study science you must inevitably come to the conclusion that we live in a meaningless universe. What we know about cosmology says that 13.8 billion years ago a point of light appeared from nowhere and nothing and got hot and exploded. In its explosion if shattered into particles, photons; the photons combined into quarks that combined into protons and neutrons; some of the photons became electrons.

Protons and neutrons combined into nuclei of atoms. 400, 000 years later nuclei captured electrons and hydrogen atoms were formed.

Eventually the hydrogen atoms congregated into what we now call stars. Stars are clouds of hydrogen in whose core heat and pressure force hydrogen to fuse into helium and produce light and heat.

There are trillions of stars; the stars are grouped into galaxies; each galaxy is composed of billions of stars.

Our galaxy is the Milky Way galaxy. Our star is the sun. The sun has nine planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) orbiting it There are also comets and asteroid orbits around the Sun.

We know that in about five billion years our sun would exhaust its hydrogen and die (explode). Our earth would be dead in about two billion years; it will dry up when the sun begins to lose hydrogen and begin fusing other elements and get hotter.

We know that the universe is expanding. The various galaxies, due to the influence of dark energy, are speeding away from each other. In time they would be so separated from each other that they lose heat and die in supernovae.

All stars would eventually die, that is shatter into the elements in them. The resulting atoms would break up and the particles would die.

In a few trillion years only protons would remain and those, too, would break up into quarks and since quarks cannot exist outside nuclei for more than a second they quickly become photons.

Thus, eventually, only cold empty space would exist with cold photons in it; the photons would eventually return to wherever they came from during the big bang that got the universe going.

The relevant point to all these are that the universe is going to die; if so, why did it bother existing, as Stephen Hawkins asked?

Stephen Weinberg in his book, the first three minutes, observed that the universe is purposeless and meaningless.

In my view, the universe is pointless. This means that we live pointless and meaningless existence. We exist for a while and die off and our bodies decay to the sixty four elements that compose them, especially carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Those too decay to electrons, protons and neutrons and those eventually decay to photons.

Photons of light decay to what we do not know. In effect, science teaches that we are one giant nothing; we live to die, we live for nothing; we might as well not live.

But we do live and it is fun trying to understand the universe we live in so science is fun; science can keep one going for as long as one is alive but still it does not give one meaning in one's life.

Existentialism, looking at man's inhumanity to man, the carnage of Europeans during the Second World War, concluded that there is no god and meaning to our lives.  Read Sartre, Camus, Jasper, Heidegger and other existentialists.

If you choose you can kill people and no god would stop you; only those people who want to live can stop you (see Thomas Mann's novel, Venice). Therefore, the world is a pointless and meaningless place. All we can do is organize the world in such a manner that we do what we like doing and live out our allotted 100 years or so existence.

We live like files and die off. But the joy of living is that one can find something one likes doing and do it twenty four seven.

For example, if I am in a philosophical mood I am so happy that it is to me heaven like; I can read or write philosophy, psychology for ever and not bother with the meaningless life we live.

So, existentialism tells us to go find what we like doing and do it all the time and then die off like the meaningless animals we are.

A course in miracles, a gnostic philosophy, teaches exactly what existentialism teaches. It says that our earthly life is pointless and meaningless. It says that our earthly life is a dream and what we do in it actually has not been done. We are doing nothing. Our egos and bodies don't even exist.

When we our imaginary bodies die they dissolve to atoms that dissolve to particles that dissolve to nothingness from where they came. In effect, we not only live meaningless lives but do not exist.

The philosophy of Gnosticism, however, did give people some reason to hope. It says that there is a spiritual universe which we cannot understand with our present mental processes and we might as well not even try to understand it.  It says that we have different selves; we have formless selves that are part of a formless self it calls God. It did not define God for it says that God is beyond words.

According to it, we are all part of God and we closed our eyes and went to sleep and dream this world. The physical universe is a dream, what is done or seen in dreams have not occurred and are not there.

The world of galaxies, stars, planets, animals, people and trees we see do not exist, it says. It says that another world exists, one that looks like our world but in light forms; that world, too, is a dream, a happy dream as opposed to our present nightmarish dream; finally is the only real world, the formless world where we and God exist as one self.

What that one self is no one in this part of the universe understands. Hinduism and Buddhism have similar conclusions.

The relevant point is that a course in miracles says that our world is non-existent, pointless and meaningless and that it has to be tuned out for us to see the equally meaningless world of light forms and eventually we experience our true self, the formless unified world of Spirit.

Let me summarize what I have said. Science says that we are the product of meaningless random chance concatenation of matter; meaningless activities produced us and we are meaningless. We shall die and disappear from existence along with our meaningless universe. Science leads to atheism.

Existentialism, looking at our ability to kill each other and no god stopping us, concludes that the universe is pointless and meaningless. It asks us to figure out what we like doing and do it and that that would keep us busy until we die and disappear from existence.

A course in miracles agrees with both science and existentialism that the universe is pointless and meaningless. However, it gives us hope but not in this world but in what folks might call an imaginary world of spirits. In the here and now, it agrees with science and existentialism that the universe is purposeless and meaningless.

Thus, one must conclude that there is a confluence of science, existentialism and Gnosticism in A course in miracles.  What does this mean to you?

To me it means that I can do science and existentialism and still have the smidgeon of hope that a course in miracles gives us.

I am a scientist and a rationalist; I can keep those while still playing with the metaphysics provided by A course in miracles; I am not getting lost in metaphysical mumbo jumbo when I talk about A course in miracles.

Do you agree or disagree?

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

July 6, 2017

www.centerformindscience.org

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176