Thursday, 14 February 2013 23:51

Introduction To The Science Of Love‏

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This is the introduction to my forthcoming book, the Science of love. The book is still being edited (from its present unwieldy 1200 pages down to a manageable 1000 pages). I thought that you might gain some insights into religion, philosophy and the mission of science from this introduction. Please buy and read the book when it comes out later this year.  (From now on I use my full Igbo name, Ozodiobi and drop my Christian name, Thomas. I reclaim my traditional role as the high priest of Amadioha, of the Umuamadioha clan and stop pretending that I am a Western this or that professional; I accept what I was born as; I am the return of the Igbo Dibia, healer. The Holy Spirit in all of us is trying to heal us; those messed up, big time, by their encounter with Western civilization!)

INTRODUCTION TO THE SCIENCE OF LOVE

Ozodiobi Osuji

This book deals with religious, philosophical and scientific matters, although not as those are generally taught at our universities and colleges.  The book deals with the type of religion, philosophy and science that colleges ought to teach about for they enable people to make sense of their bewildering universe and lives. The universities ignore the subjects that really matter to people and, instead, dwell on what they feel that they have objective information on. What they teach is, of course, useful and we must study them.

So far in their sojourn on planet earth, human beings have devised three methodological approaches to explaining their world and understanding who they are. These are religion, philosophy and science. I will briefly give an overview of these methodological approaches to understanding ourselves in these introductory comments. These overviews seem particularly germane to this book since the book is essentially an attempt to understand who human beings are and awareness that their true nature is love (unified spirit self is perfect love).

The word religion comes from Latin, religio. Religion stands for every activity human beings engage in in their efforts to discover their source and reconnect to it. Human beings are those creatures that seem to believe that they are cut off from their source, are disconnected to wherever they think that they came from.  They perceive themselves as strangers, aliens in this universe of space, time and matter; they feel as if they do not belong here or did not come from here.

Whereas their bodies are clearly part of the universe of energy, matter, space and time and seem to have gradually evolved from matter (their bodies are made of the various elements especially carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and traces of iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, sodium chloride, calcium etc.) but their minds or their ability to think seem not to belong to the world of matter.

Some scientists do their best to tell people that their brains produce their thinking but that seems a tall order for people to swallow; in fact, such view seem more magical than what scientists claim to be the magical thinking of our alleged superstitious and primitive ancestors who believed that the sun is god (Roman god, solar). People do kill animals and see what is in their brains and by inference know what is in their own brains. They simply fail to see how three pounds of grey matter (flesh) divided into two hemispheres, right and left, with a hypothalamus and cortex could be responsible for the complex thinking that human beings engage in, especially their ability to study and understand the world they live in.

It is not convincing to tell people that their thinking is epiphenomenal, a product of the permutations of neurons, atoms, and their particles in their brains. They refuse to accept that even as neuroscientists are trying to force feed them that seeming magical belief (epiphenomenalism has no basis in empirical reality).  Simply stated, people believe that they are strangers in this world and that they came from somewhere else.

But where is it that they came from? It is not self-evident where folks came from.  Religion consists of those activities found in all human groups (since every human group had its own religion it can be argued that the presence of religion, not so-called intelligence, is what characterizes some animals as human beings; if we could find a human group that did not have an indigenous religion perhaps we would call them non-human?) that attempt to figure out where they came from.

Generally, religionists posit what they call God or gods as the source of where they believe that they came from. Having posited their understanding of God they generally seek ways to approach him in a placating manner so that he would be happy with them and perhaps help them adapt successfully in their new world and take them back when they die. They tend to behave as if they did something wrong to their source and placate him to forgive them and not punish them.

I was raised a Christian so let me speak about Christianity.  Christianity presupposes a father figure it calls God; it presupposes (and said so in Genesis part of its holy book, the Bible) that human beings offended this powerful God that created them and that he chased them out of his heaven (metaphorically represented by the Garden of Eden). Christians believe that they were once in paradise with their creator and that they did something wrong (represented by the metaphor of eating the forbidden apple), disobeyed God, and were chased out of his paradise and cursed with suffering, pain and eventual physical death.  They hope that by pleasing their God that he would change his mind, forgive them, love them and accept them back into his heaven (to be near God is considered desirable, a blessing and to be far from God, separated from him is considered a curse and the cause of human suffering).

Christianity assumes that people once lived in God's grace (in communion with their creator and all their needs were met by their creator) and somehow fell from God's grace (and now have to fend for themselves). People sinned and were chased out of the presence of their creator. That sin is called the original sin; it is supposed to be responsible for our suffering in the land.

Some aspects of Christianity, Gnosticism, claim that people were created by God as his sons and that people somehow decided that they wanted to be the creator of God. People were created by God but apparently pride entered their minds and they wanted to create God and create themselves. They wanted to chase God out of his creatorship throne, create him, create themselves and create the world they live in.

Adolescent children tend to resent their parents and want to parent their parents and parent themselves; therefore, we can understand this alleged rebellion by the children of God for we do it right here on earth when we resent our earthly fathers being our fathers.

Gnosticism says that some children of God rebelled against God, fought with those children still loyal to God (led by the arch angel Michael) and were defeated and chased out of heaven.  The Demiurge, Lucifer, the son of God (there are other names given to the leader of the rebellion against God) rebelled against his creator and was chased out of heaven (state of eternal union with God and his creation). He left and descended into darkness, our world of matter, space and time.

We left the world of God, a world said to be the world of light, and now live in the world of darkness.  Our earth is said to be a place of darkness.

Darkness is metaphor for everything that is the opposite of God; such as hate (God is love); separation (God is said to be a state of union); temporality (God is said to be permanent, eternal and immortal and changeless); the earth is the opposite of God for it came from opposition to God.

As a world that came from opposition to its creator everything in the world opposes everything else; children oppose their parents; the world is a place of conflict and strife; there is no peace in the world.

Those who live in darkness seek light, for light is necessary for seeing, even as they fight that light (refuse to accept what the light shows them).

In Plato's cave allegory, some of those living in a cave, darkness, saw a glimmer of light; some went out and saw light and came back into the cave and told the cave dwellers about the light they saw and the cave dwellers could not believe it for their eyes were accustomed to darkness.

Some human beings sense that there is God and tell those living in darkness about him and they do not believe in that God or his messengers; in fact, generally, they murder the messengers of God, including murdering Jesus Christ.

Everywhere on planet earth human beings live in darkness and some seek the light they associate with their creator.  Religious practices (usually initiated by the few who see the glimmer of light, God) are those efforts that aim at taking people out of their present darkness (state of ignorance of their true self, self-forgetfulness) and return them to knowledge to light.

Christians presuppose that their God is an angry and punitive God and seek ways to placate him. Christianity is a religion that worships God; God is construed as a powerful, narcissistic man who is prone to intemperate anger and punishes his children for their disobedience of his will (he willed that they obey him; that is, that they must remain one with him and instead they separated from him).  Christians seek ways to be on the good side of their angry, vain God so that he does not punish them.  They hope that if they pleased their proud God he would take pity on them and make their suffering filled life on earth less painful and when they physically die receive them back into his heaven (state of oneness with him), instead of relegating them to hell (to be in hell is being not near God, not being close to perfection, peace and joy).

Of course Christianity (and its antecedent religion, Judaism) and its conception of a punitive father God is not the only conception of God there is. Hinduism conceptualizes God as people's true self.

To Hindus there is one God, called Brahman. Brahman extended his oneself to Atman, his son. Brahman and Atman is one and the same self (one self in seeming two places). God and his sons, us, are one self. In spirit there is Brahman and his infinite sons, Atmans, as one shared self with one shared mind.

Brahman and Atman cast a magical spell, Maya, on themselves and decided to experience the opposite of their real self, a different self (they are one and want to experience separation; they are equal and want to experience inequality, differences etc.).  Brahman, Atman went to sleep and in his sleep dream this world of multiplicity.  This world is said to be the dream of Brahman/Atman.

Interestingly, while Brahman, Atman seems to be sleeping and dreaming this world, a greater part of them are said to be awake, so that when they awaken they do not feel like they have missed anything going on in their unified state of heaven.

When each of us awakens from this world, this dream, this illusion, he is said to realize that he was in heaven, union, even when he felt that he was not there (the eight century Hindu philosopher, Shankara said so; Ramanuja, another Hindu philosopher, also said so).

Hinduism dedicates itself to showing people how they can awaken from their sleep-dream. When one awakens from the dream of self-forgetfulness and remembers that one is no other than Atman and knows from direct experience (in Samadhi) that one is one with Brahman one is said to have become illuminated to one's true self; one is now an enlightened  person and lives in peace (ananda).

Gautama Buddha was a Hindu who claimed to have awakened from the sleep-dream of Maya and now knows that he is one with his creator.  He claimed to have experienced Samadhi, Nirvana and Satori and broken free from the chain that keeps us in ignorance of who we in fact are; he is no longer to be reborn in the world of separation and its egos (ahankaras).

Buddhism is a religion dedicated to enabling people to finding out their true selves; the true self is said to be one with Brahman.  This discovery of their real self is generally attained in meditation. The real-self knowing person is said to have attained Buddhahood; he lives in peace even as the world he lives in is in flames.

In Africa every ethnic group, tribe, has its religion.  Each of these religions speaks of how God created the people, how they should live their lives to please him and eventually return to him (and enjoy his blissful presence).

Since nominally I am Igbo (a member of the Igbo priestly class, Umuamadioha) let me briefly speak about Igbo religion.

Igbo religion speaks about how God, Chi-Ukwu (the supreme God) extended his oneself to Chineke (God the creator). As God the creator, God created his sons called Chi.

Chi-Ukwu, Chineke and Chi are one self, a holy trinity, one God in three seeming different selves.

Chi (which can be construed as the individual's soul, his real self) for some reasons, left his creator (Chineke) and manifested in body, on earth.

Igbo religion is aimed at enabling the individual to regain awareness of his true self, Chi and then return to his creator, Chineke and, ultimately, remember that he is part of the supreme God, Chi-Ukwu.

In addition to this conception of the individual human being as part of God, Igbos say that God gave each of their towns, villages, kindred, family a god to guide them. Each Igbo town has a god called Ala (as in Ala-Umuohiagu, the god that protects my town of Umuohiagu). Each Igbo village has a similar god also called Ala; Ala is always a goddess; as an agricultural people Igbos needed a god of fertility to make sure that their farms yield good harvests. (Ala-Umuorisha is the god of my village.)

There is Amadioha, the God of light, the God of knowledge (the God that this writer is its current high priest).

Igbos have gods for each of their disparate activities (such as Ahanjoku, the god that is responsible for farming; its priest is called Osuji or Njoku).

Each African group, as every human group, has its religion; each of these religions aims at enabling disconnected human beings to rediscover their source and reconnect to it. Religion aims at reconnecting the alienated children of God to their father. As long as people are disconnected from their source they tend to be unhappy and lack peace.  When they feel connected to their source they tend to be joyous and peaceful.

But where is the evidence that God exists and that people came from him? Ah, therein lays the rub. We do not see God or spirit. Religion traffics in the unseen, in the non-empirical, in metaphysics. Because it deals with what there is no observation for it those human beings who seek more rational ways to approach their being tend to want to understand their true selves through the auspices of reason and downplay religion and its beliefs. These people tend to be called rationalists, aka philosophers.

More recently, some folks have discovered ways to understand their world through observation and experimentation. These folks, generally called scientists, either say that there is no God or say that if he exists we do not understand him and ought to keep quiet instead of talking about him.

Let us, therefore, look at these other methodological approaches to understanding our reality: philosophy and Science.

WESTERN PHILOSOPHY

In the Western world the term philosophy comes from two Greek words (Philia (love) and Sophia (wisdom). Philosophy, in effect, means love of wisdom. This would seem to suggest that only Greeks and the West loved wisdom. Nothing could be farther from the truth than that.

Every group of human beings that have subsisted on planet earth produced people who quested for knowledge. In the East we have abundant evidence of this reality in the philosophies found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism,  and other written Oriental documents delineating their efforts to find out what is true or not true about their nature and world.

In some parts of the world, such as Africa and the pre-European Americas the people's ideas on knowledge were not always written down on paper; they had oral traditions. One thing is correct, though, they had their wise men that had ideas on the nature of the world they lived in.

In the West those who studied philosophy generally study Western philosophy, not other groups' philosophies. Since we are living in a Western dominated world let me briefly explicate Western philosophy (in the book other philosophies will be explained).

In the West, until recently the term philosophy encompassed all efforts to understand the world we live in. The original Greek philosophers' minds ranged from pure rationalism to what we might now call early science.

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle could be considered rational philosophers; folks like Democritus who posited the hypothesis that the atom is the smallest indivisible part of matter could be considered what we now call physical scientist; all of them were motivated by love of wisdom.  To the Greeks the task of philosophy was to understand the world they lived in (Greek philosophy began2500 years ago when Athenians began their efforts to understand their selves and world through reasoning rather than mere religious belief; at the same time in the East Gautama Buddha, Confucius and Lao Tzu were trying to understand their world through religious philosophy; each age, apparently, gives rise to certain human activities).

However, as Western philosophy developed it became divided into certain branches of inquiry: epistemology (how do we know what we know and how do we know that what we think that we know is true; for example, if we receive information on the external environment through the five senses of our bodies, how do we know that the senses give us correct information about the external the world it conveys to us?).

Do we know something to be true through reasoning; but pure reasoning is of the mind (brain) and how do we know that reasoning accurately represents the external world? Indeed, how do we know that the external world even exists?

Could it be that what we call our rational explanations of the world are merely our perceptions, our opinions?

Philosophy dealt with metaphysical issues. What exactly is metaphysics, as opposed to physics?  Metaphysics would seem to mean that which is more than matter (physics); some speculate that mind is more than matter hence metaphysics dealt with mental issues.  But is mind not part of matter, as modern neuroscience tells us?

Brain science suggests that thinking, aka mind, is epiphenomenal; that is, produced by the processes of neurons, neurotransmitters, atoms, electrons, neutrons and protons in our brains.

If the mind construes an unmoved mover, as Aristotle did, does the putative unmoved mover, aka God exist? What is the evidence for the existence of God?

There are those who hold that God does not exist (atheists), those who say that we cannot know anything for sure about God (agnostics) and those who say that we have to believe in the existence of God even if we do not know for certain that he exists (theists) and those who say that God exists and created the world but does not take part in what happens in the world (deists).

Talking about the world we live in does it exist outside us, is it external to us, or is it just ideas in our minds. At night we sleep and dream and our minds produce a world that looks exactly like the world we see during the day time, and while we are sleeping and dreaming we believe that the dream world is real. How do we know that the day world is not also a dream in our minds?

George Berkeley insists that the external world may be in our minds (this is called solipsism or idealism).

English empiricists like David Hume and John Locke believe that the world seems external to us, although they concede that we know about the world through the auspices of ideas, ideas that our minds have of the world, ideas we employ in representing the seeming external world. What we seem to know for sure is the ideas of the world we have in our minds, not the world itself? Therefore, does the world exist outside our minds?

How do we resolve this dilemma? In the meantime we have philosophers arrayed on one or the other side of the divide (idealistic monism, materialistic monism).

Science appears to believe that the world is external to us and studies the seeming external world without bothering to wade into what it considers wasteful, unproductive and interminable philosophical arguments about whether the world is inside us or outside us. Obviously science seems to have triumphed over mere philosophical debates.

Yet, we have this sneaking suspicion that if a tree fell and there isn't any human being around to observe its fall that perhaps a tree did not fall? If it takes the agency of people to observe the world, does the world exist outside people, or is it inside people?

Is Idealistic monism or Materialistic monism the truth of reality? Take your pick and you would find supporters.

As for God, is he inside us or outside us and if he is outside us can we understand him?  Some say that he is immanent in the world; others say that he is outside the world, transcendent. Whichever side one accepts has philosophical implications for one.

The other key branches of Western philosophy are ethics, aesthetics and ontology. Ethics studies people's behaviors with eyes to figuring out behaviors that conduce to human happiness and social order.

What is happiness, anyway? Is it the pursuit of one's self-interest and unbridled consumption of creature comforts (hedonism), as Epicure said or is it retraining ones appetites while helping other persons to meet their basic needs (as Zeno and his Stoicism teaches)?

If we are having difficulty defining happiness how can we decide what behaviors conduce to happiness? Socrates, as documented by his star pupil, Plato, asked folks questions, trying to get clarity on their terms.  Through his dialogues with select citizens of Athens (interlocution) Socrates apparently believed that he was figuring out the truth; but was he, or was he merely taking the opinions that satisfied his eccentricity as the truth? Many in Athens saw Socrates as a very dangerous man who was corrupting Athenian youth with his unorthodox ideas on reality, arrested and tried him and condemned him to death. He drank the hemlock and died.

Folks talk about what is moral behavior but what is that and who decides it?  Hedonism or Epicureanism; which way to go?

English utilitarian thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham, John Mill and his son John Stuart Mill believed that only the individual can tell us what is good for him; that the individual pursues pleasure and averts pain; and that the individual construes good as that which gives him optimal pleasure and bad as that which gives him pain. By generalization, the people seek pleasure and avoid pain; therefore, public policy should be that which maximizes social pleasure, that which is good for the people and minimizes pain for the people.

Does good behavior lead to human happiness?  Does human behavior have goals (teleology) or is it random?  Is there such a thing as altruism or selfishness?

Aesthetics studies beauty; human beings seem to like beautiful things and seem to feel unhappy in ugly environments. Looking at the beautiful architecture of Rome probably gives people joy whereas the functional (ugly) architecture of American cities probably contributes to Americans depression...America's cities depresses me (and that disposes them to seek drugs and other mechanisms to stimulate them into some sort of joy).

Ontology: For example in his ontological proof of God's existence, Anselm argued that human beings seek perfection, but are imperfect; he reasons that there must be a being whose perfection no other person can exceed; that being with total perfection he called God; he further argued that it is more perfect to exist than not to exist; therefore, God, perfection had to exist.  The assumption is that it is impossible to conceive a situation where God does not exist.  Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz in some form or another embraced the ontological argument. Thomas Aquinas, David Hume and Immanuel Kant rejected the ontological argument.

Here is a little question for you: does perfection imply existence? Does perfection even exist in the world or is it merely our imagination of ideals of our imperfect world? Folks like Nicola Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes ask us not to waste our time talking about perfection; that instead we are to deal with imperfect human beings and the imperfect world as they are("perfection is the enemy of the good" is one of brother Barack Obama's favorite phrases).

In the real world, Machiavelli sees people scheming to rule other people for their personal political gains while presenting goody-goody social self-images; Hobbes tells us that people are selfish and that out of their selfishness would exploit other persons and that as a result people's lives are characterized by nastiness, brutishness and short.

Hegel talks about what he called absolute spirit in people (and history), operating through the dialectics of thesis, antithesis and synthesis in moving history forward.

Schopenhauer talked about what we would today call instincts as what motivates people's behaviors (World as idea and will, representation).

Nietzsche dreamed of a world where the powerful ruled the weak and Henry Bergson imagined that  inside people  is a life force, élan vital he called it,  that makes them do what they do.

Philosophers generally speculate on the nature of things; some philosophers call themselves critical philosophers and try to ascertain the internal consistence of the logic of every belief. However, showing that a system of belief is internally consistent does not necessarily make it true.  You can show that socialism, communism, fascism, capitalism and other political ideologies are each internally consistent, have air tight  logic supporting them but you would not have demonstrated that they are anything but beliefs that some people hold dear; you cannot demonstrate them to be self-evident truths.

What is the truth, anyway?  Talking about the truth leads to eternal debates. Some persons simply are tired of debating and seek what they can observe in the world, verify and or falsify and accept those as truth, albeit temporary truth until refuted by more evidence.

But is what we can observe necessarily true?  What our eyes show us can be deceiving? A stick inside water looks bent; on a hot day if you look into the distance you would see what seems like a body of water; looking from a distance you could take a rope for a snake and behave as if the rope is indeed a snake, run from it.

If ones idea of what is real is what the five senses convey to one's brain, well, one can be wrong. Science embraces what the senses can verify as real but how do we know that science is not naive?

What is knowledge? Rationalists and empiricists have their ideas on what constitutes knowledge. Pure rationalists like Rene Descartes used pure ratiocination to come up with what seemed to them knowledge. For example, pure thinking led Descartes to believe that there must be a God, just as it led Aristotle to believe that in world of motion there must be an unmoved mover of things, a first principle that determines things,  that cause other things to come into being.

Cartesian rationalism would say that since we tend to like beauty that there must be a force that is all beautiful, perfection itself, God (ontological argument for God's existence).

Descartes saw people as dual in nature, made of body and mind (spirit). The body part we can ascertain but the spirit part we have to assume is there. His "cogito ergo sum", I think, therefore, I am seem like balderdash. The fact that you can think does not prove that you exist independent of your thinking (the computer I am typing on does more calculation in a second than I can ever do in this life time, so does it exist as an independent spirit, or is it just machinery, as we are the product of a bunch of mindless atoms?).

Classical empiricism relies on observable phenomena to ascertain what is true or false. As already noted, we do not understand the seeming external things we observe directly; as John Locke and David Hume conceded, all we have are mental ideas of the external world and work with those ideas as if they are true.

For example, we say that the smallest parts of matter are atoms (protons, neutrons and electrons); atoms are actually not easily ascertained with the physical eyes...there are millions of atoms in the period (full stop) at the end of this sentence.  Even the most sophisticated electronic microscopes have not ascertained the independent existence of atoms and their particles; atoms and their particles seem like mental models of reality, theoretical constructs but not reality itself?

At the sub particles level, as quantum mechanics physicists such as Werner Heisenberg (uncertainty Principle) and Neils Bohr (complementarity principle) tell us, the observer influences what he observes; meaning that the external world may not be independent of the observer's intensions.

It would seem that in the final analysis we really do not know that the seeming objective world we seem to see is out there, in fact. Consider the desk on which I am typing this material. I see a solid object that I call a desk, able. But that table is made of certain chemical elements, such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen etc. Those elements are each, in turn, made of particles of protons, neutrons and electrons. Those particles are made of quarks and or photons. Quarks are made of radiation (photons) and photons came from nothing during the Big Bang explosion that got the universe started 13.7 billion years ago.

Where did the heat energy that produced the light energy that produced particles (and mechanical, electrical and sound energy) during the Big Bang come from, some say from nothing?

(In Buddhist and Taoist categories, to come from no-thing means not to come from one particular thing, which means to from everything; we came from nothing thus means that we came from everything; since God is metaphor for everything in existence we therefore came from God!)

Let us assume as particles physics teaches us that my wooden desk is made of nothing.  That which came from nothing and is made of nothing is nothing (?). Therefore, when I think that I see a desk I am actually seeing nothing; it is probably my mind that gave me the illusion that there is such a thing as a desk?

My thinking that I see a solid desk is an illusion, just as my body, peoples bodies, other objects in the universe, space and time itself are illusions that may not exist but seem to exist because I, the observer want them to exist?

The salient point is that in the end we are speculating about the nature of things and may not know what they are, in fact. Science, as superficial scientists tend to believe, may not, after all, be superior to speculative philosophy!

Be that as it may, the fact remains that philosophy is full of unproductive speculations. Both Plato and Aristotle were speculative philosophers.

Plato simply used his mind to speculate about the nature of things. He asked questions and through such questioning arrived at what seemed to him are the truth of the subjects he was talking about.  Ultimately, he believed that what we see in the observable world have their ideal archetypes in the spiritual world. As it were, the imperfect things we see in our world have perfect versions of them in a different (spiritual) world.  Manifestation in matter makes perfect ideas imperfect. This is philosophical idealism.

But how do we know that there are perfect ideals out there in spirit land; does spirit land even exist?  Plato believed in several things that cannot be verified, such as personal souls, immortality of souls, and reincarnation of souls in different life times and transmigration of souls from one species to others.

Aristotle made an attempt to improve on Plato's excessive speculations.  Aristotle tried to observe his world (philosophical realism) but in the end laid down improbable ideas about the nature of things, universals that are not derived from empirical observation, so he was not really a realist; he was just a more refined speculative philosopher.

Francis Bacon redirected philosophy to natural philosophy by insisting only on what is observable as true.

Isaac Newton, like Galileo and Copernicus before him, did a lot of observations and posited the law of gravitation and the three laws of motion.

Other English philosophers (logical positivists) followed on the path of Newton, such as Boyle,  Dalton, Thomas Young, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, Charles Darwin, (plus, of course, the mere natural philosophers such as George Berkeley, David Hume, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill and so on).

Across the English Channel, in France were both rationalist philosophers, such as Pascal, Voltaire, Rousseau etc. and empiricists like Lavoisier, Laplace, Becquerel, Pierre and Marie Curie  and the other physical scientists that contributed to modern science.

Philosophy speculates on God (the philosophy of Religion).  Over time folks posited what seemed to them arguments supporting the existence of God; these are the ontological augment, the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, the argument from miracles and others. Each of these arguments have their proponents, such as Kant, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Erasmus,  but in the end you have to accept one or more of them on the basis of personal idiosyncrasy not because of self-evident proof.

If you are predisposed to believe that God cannot possibly exist in the world you can always point to the fact that evil exists in the world.   People do awful things to each other. As I am writing this material President Assad (of Syria) is murdering his people with impunity, all because he wants to stay in office and the rest of the world stand by and watch him kill thousands of people and do nothing about it (as they say, they do not have overriding vital national interests to justify supporting the rebels trying to overthrow the bloody regime of Assad junior; why should they get their young soldiers to go get killed by Assad for nothing; worse, some of the rebels trying to overthrow Assad are Muslim jihadists who want to cut the throats of Christians or convert them to Islam, so why should the Christian West support those intent on killing them; let the Arab Muslims kill themselves; the world is better off without them; this is real politics; sentimentality is not allowed!).

If God exists and is supposed to be loving and good how could he permit evil to exist in this world? Some theologians tell us that God gave us freedom and that some persons choose to abuse their freedom by harming other people, and would be judged by God and punished. They wish!

Would God also judge tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes and germs that kill more people than people kill people? Where would God place those after he has judged them evil; would hell contain them all?

It would seem that those who want to believe in God have to do so on faith, or perhaps by what they call personal revelation from God but seldom by act of pure reason. Voltaire, in his novel, Candide made fun of a loving God who created a world where natural occurrences and people destroy people.

Skepticism and cynicism notwithstanding, human beings seem programmed to believe in a higher power that produced them. Pure reason cannot understand this belief in God (in his "critique of pure reason" Kant made a herculean effort to show that God exists; he failed, of course, for reason cannot prove God's existence).

In the meantime, we all know that each of us has the capacity to harm and or kill other persons if we choose to do so. So what prevents the individual from harming and or killing other persons? Fear of God's punishment after he is dead; or fear of the laws and mores of society punishing him?

Society lays down laws, arrests lawbreakers and judges and punishes them. So is it the fear of the hang man that makes people to obey the laws of the land, and respect their neighbor's right to live?  But if you are smart you can commit crimes and hide them so that the legal authorities do not see them hence arrest and punish you; yet, you choose to be law abiding; why did you choose to be law abiding and remain poor when, if you are like corrupt Nigerians, you could steal from the public treasury and become rich?

What exactly is the root of ethics and morality?  What makes most people good and only a few bad?  Is it pursuit of enlightened rational self-interest (if you harm others they will harm you, so to avoid being harmed by people you do not harm other persons); or are there more to it, such as altruism, inherent goodness in people that dispose them to be good?

If people are mere selfish animals, as socio-biologists, such as Edward Wilson and Richard Dawkins, tell us how come they respect other people's rights, and even go out of their ways to help other people?

Where does the sense of moral responsibility that most people have come from?  Fear of the hangman, as Sigmund Freud (in his pessimistic book, Civilization and its Discontents) said?

Philosophy deals with the above issues and provides us with interesting ideas on them.  However, beginning from 1543 when Nicolas Copernicus posited that the sun is the center of our world, to Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Huygens, Tyco Brahe, and, of course, modern scientists, it is now clear to all that science is the better way to understand natural  phenomena.

Science provides results and seems able to predict future events whereas philosophers merely talk sweet talk, talk that does not put food on the table.  Thus, in the twentieth century philosophy, more or less, died or is left to idle scholars (kept on university campus for the sake of protecting Western tradition not because they are equipping students with job skills needed by the capitalist market).

Aware that they have been marginalized by science what remains of philosophers talk about such innocuous subjects as pragmatism (William James, Pierce and John Dewey), language (Wittgenstein); analytic philosophy (Bertrand Russell). What do these subjects mean, anyway?

Academic philosophy has taken leave from reality; it now talks rubbish; no wonder folks tune it out and run to the more useful physical sciences and technology! If you want to be unemployed study philosophy; if you want to be employed study science and mathematics (especially in their applied forms, technology).

After the end of the Second World War, it became apparent that there is no God that intervenes when super evil persons like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung embark on killing millions of their people. French intellectuals became depressed and talked about Existentialism, which, among other things, says that there is no intrinsic meaning and purpose to life.

Existentialism posits that people are just like other animals and have no intrinsic worth but ought to give themselves make-belief meaning and worth without the illusion that they are true.  Behave as if you have value and worth bearing in mind that your head of state, out of mere whims, may order his goon squad to murder you; indeed, your friendly neighbor may beat him to it and murder you (in December 2012, a young man took his mother's assault rifle, a gun with high capacity magazine, clip, went to an elementary school, Sandy-Hook elementary school, Newtown, Connecticut, USA and mowed down twenty six year old first graders and six of their teachers and administrators before turning the gun on his self...in a matter of seconds he pumped over ten bullets into each of the children; where was God to protect those innocent children we ask and become despaired!).

Depression and despair seem the most appropriate response to the realities of living in a world where random acts of violence kill innocent persons; but why despondency when it leads to nothing?  Nobody cares that you are despondent, so, hold your head high, thrust chin out and live as if your life matters to you, even if it does not matter to other persons!

If it suits your temperament, you might even have blind faith in your conception of God (as Kierkegaard did) or be an atheist such as Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, Jasper, etc.

For our present purpose, philosophy has had its run and its glory days seem in the past; we are now in the age of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and geology.

And, believe it or not, the kings and queens of the sciences , too, seem to have had their balmy days (to the best of my knowledge we are still living off the amazing discoveries made in the early twentieth century by quantum physics such as Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Ernest Rutherford, Maria and Pierre Curie, Becquerel, Roentgen, Neils Bohr, Broglie, Schrodinger, Pauli, Heisenberg, Born, Dirac, Chadwick, Lise Meitner, Fermi, Oppenheimer, Gamow, Friedman, Lemaitre, Hubble, Hoyle, Wheeler, Wigner, Murray Gell-Mann, Alan Aspect, Alan Goth, John Bell, Hugh Evert and so on).

The scientific run, however, is still fascinating; what would we do without science to keep telling us how the material universe works?

Anyway, who knows where the electronic revolution is going to lead us? Understanding of protons, neutrons (nuclear physics, their fusion and fission) and electronics is still leading us to incredible technological accomplishments.

Let us hope that knowledge of nuclear fusion (hydrogen bomb) and fission (Uranium based bomb) does not enable us to destroy ourselves...the mad mullahs of Iran would probably use nuclear weapons to destroy the world and go meet their maker who gives each of them seventy- two virgins to have sex with until they drop dead from physical exertion!

Modern science is actually becoming as speculative as idle philosophy; consider it telling us that we understand only 4% of the universe and the other 96% is made of dark energy (73%) and dark matter (23%) that we know knowing about?

Science talks about unseen particles such as neutrinos that go through our bodies and mountains undetected; what are neutrinos; what are anti-matter and matter? What are virtual particles that pop out of nowhere (vacuum of space) attack and annihilate each other and produce radiation (photons) that then form particles?

What are black holes, white holes? If black holes eat matter that enter their event horizons where did those matter go to, disappear or are they used to produce new universes in the other side of black holes, white holes?

Did our universe come from a black hole; indeed, are we living inside a black hole, a bubble universe? Is our universe sort of like a black hole prison where evil souls are sentenced to as punishment, where they are supposed to learn to love one another? Are there infinite bubble universes? Hugh Everett's many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics suggests the existence of infinite universes.

John Bell's discovery that  particles of matter influence each other in an instantaneous manner suggestions that there is an aspect of matter that travel faster than Albert Einstein's supposed limit of velocity, light's 186, 000 miles per second. The concept of non-locality suggests that some things travel faster than light.

Could it be that mind (as in telepathy) travels faster than light? As Mathew Fox suggests in his "A Spirituality named compassion", could love be the energy that is faster than light; could it be that love is at the root of our seeming impersonal universe (as I know to be the case)?

Perhaps, science has a lot more cats in its magical bag to pull out and entertain us with?  Let us hope so! What would we do without the entertainment provided us by science?

Never mind that astrophysics tells us that in about a billion years our little blue earth would be bone dried and charred to cinders as the dying solar, sun begins to get hotter, then in five billion years die (slough off its outer parts, or is it nova) and that our universe would lose heat as it over expands and the galaxies, stars, planets would die, cold chill, in a few trillion years and the universe would become one empty cold space (the most fire and brimstone fundamentalist Christian minister never scared people with more damnation as overfed astrophysicists speculate on what they know for sure would happen in trillions of years to come even as science cannot predict tomorrow's weather!).

What is clear is that we live in the age of science; we all ought to study the physical sciences. So, let me say few words about the scientific method.

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

The word science is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word, physics (nature).  Science or physics is the study of nature. It is a certain manner of studying nature. You see, you can try to understand nature through your received religion's categories and its ideas of God or even through mere poetry, as artists do or through pure reason, as philosophers do.  But those are not what are meant by science.

Science is an attempt to understand nature as it is through observation, experimentation, verification and falsification (Karl Popper added the falsification criterion).  The scientific method is that methodological approach to phenomena that attempts to understand things as they are regardless of what we human beings desire them to be.  Our opinions are not good enough, although our opinions can act as initial hypotheses provided that we then try to verify them and accept what is verified and discard what is not verified.

Science does not have permanent ideas about nature but accepts only temporary ideas that so far we all, following the scientific method, can agree are true. When new information comes our way that contradict old ideas of nature we discard them.

For example, in 1687 Isaac Newton posited some ideas about gravitation.  In 1916 Albert Einstein (General Relativity) improved on those ideas by showing that space and time are a continuum without gap between them, are curved and bend light. So far Einstein's ideas on gravity, an add-on to Newton's ideas seem true until they are refuted and would then be discarded.

Simply stated, science accepts what there is empirical evidence for and as long as we can verify that evidence accepts them.

Joseph Priestly, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, Charles, Amadeo Avogadro, Lavoisier, Boyle and Davy, Ludwig Boltzmann and other chemists worked on gasses. From them we learned that if two atoms of hydrogen (hydrogen has one proton in its nucleus, circled by one electron...many elements have isotopes where the number of neutrons exceed the number of protons) and one atom of oxygen (oxygen has eight protons and eight neutrons in its nucleus and eight electrons circling the nucleus, separated into different shells, the other ones forming covalent combinations with other elements in chemical combinations...there are many isotopes of oxygen include ozone) and are heated (pressure added) that they tend to produce a molecule of water.

Water is H2O. So far this discovery holds true; but who knows what tomorrow might bring? In the meantime, science gives us definite answers compared to the scholastic and woolly speculations of academic philosophy.

We live in the age of science; science has overshadowed all other methods of knowing (epistemology).

In the area of religion science does not see God that we all can verify exists. To placate the people that believe in God science keeps quiet about the existence of God but if you push your luck many scientists would tell you that there is no God, that God is a product of people's imagination, or as Sigmund Freud said (in his book, The Future of an Illusion), something people who are afraid of finitude and oblivion came up with. People imagine a father figure that not only protects them in the here and now world but makes it possible for them to live after they die.

Okay, there is no empirical evidence of the existence of God; I do not argue with facts.

Yet, people believe in God. Some former diehard atheists like this writer have had experiences that convinced them that God exists, although it is not what most religions understand God to be.

In so-called mystical experience folks become convinced that there is an eternal, immortal, permanent, changeless force in the universe and that they are part of that force.  Some say, including me, that it is a loving force (loving force in a world where all that meets the eyes is hate and brutality).

In this book we accept the useful aspects of philosophy, religion and science.  We are not anti-philosophy or anti science or anti religion.  We take from everything that people do to make the point that the writer knows is real although he also knows that pure reason and science cannot demonstrate that reality.

This book attempts to use philosophy, theology, metaphysics, physics, chemistry, astrophysics etc. to persuade the reader to explore the existence of a part of him that is a part of what folks call God and see if it is true or false. If he can verify it then he should accept it as real but if not he should discard it or at least be agnostic.

This book is not aimed at asking anyone to have faith in the unseen but to try to find out if there is something in what folks call the unseen.

There is nothing in this book that the reader probably has not gleaned from other books; the book is not original at all. What it did is pull ideas from many books, religions, philosophies and the sciences together to make an argument that people have two sides to them, their empirical self, the self-concept, the human personality, the ego and the unseen spiritual aspect of them.

The spiritual side of people, called real self, unified spirit self is the self that constructs the self-concept to enable it adapt to the exigencies of this world.

The book makes the point that the spiritual self is perfect love but in its projected self into the material world of space, time and matter, the self-concept, the ego, the human personality  seem its  opposite.

The empirical man is not a loving self.  The empirical self sees itself living in a world where the physical and social environment is arrayed against it and it struggles to defend itself so as to survive. The empirical self may understand the need to love but knows that the world destroys loving persons so it acts tough. In our world strong fish eat weak fish, powerful people exploit weak persons.

Be empirical realism as it may, something tells us that deep down our real self loves. Without minimizing the reality of the empirical world and its self, the ego, the book shows ways for us to get in touch with our real self, the loving self.

Mystics of all ages and all lands have talked about the inner loving self so the book did not really say anything new. What the book did do is present the perennial wisdom of mankind in non-poetic language, in prose that all persons can understand.  One does not have to spend enormous time trying to decipher what poetic writing on God is trying to say, as we do in reading traditional religion's poetic language. Instead, one is told in as simple a language as is possible what we know about the truth of the empirical man and the spiritual man.

Living realistically in the empirical world, doing science and technology that adapts to the world while recognizing the real self as loving and loving one's self and other people despite the world's opposition to love, the book says is the only way human beings find peace and joy.

Love, peace and happiness are synonymous; where one is the others are and where one is missing the others are missing.

The purpose of this book is to enable people to do what they have to do to generate peace, joy and love in their lives.

The book teaches that there is a science of love, a pattern of thinking and behaving that loves all people and conduces to personal and social peace and joy.

Those who discover this science of love (Erich Fromm called it The Art of love) and live it are blessed with happiness and peace whereas those who ignore it punish themselves with conflict and unhappiness. The choice as to whether to love or not is ours to make, and whichever one we make we experience its consequences in peace and joy or lack of them.

Ozodiobi Osuji, PhD

February 14, 2013

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PS: I just realized that today is Valentine's Day; you might, therefore, consider this piece my love for you. Love every person to love you, for you are intrinsically connected to all people and as you relate to them you relate to you. Love people and you love you; hate people and you hate you; what you give to the world is what you receive from the world. Ejike, I am reading Mathew Fox; he stimulated the following thought in me this morning.

Mathew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion. (San Francisco: Harper, 1990.)

Rev. Father Fox (he is a Catholic priest) says that science, physics is spirituality; love is the energy that produced the energy that transformed itself to matter.  Matter is energy; all that is solid, the universe is energy processes, with no disconnection in it; all things are interconnected and affect each other; independence is an illusion; interdependence is reality.

In a Black hole matter disappears; where did that matter go to;  Fox speculates that it may be transformed to energy that come out at the opposite end of the black hole, white hole, the heat that produces a new big bang, the origin of a new universe. He speculates that there are many universes.

The point is that matter (energy) is spirituality that underpins everything. This makes sense to me. My Center for Science and Spirituality studies how matter is energy ( is corrupted love energy). Our true self, I believe, is love.

Separation from love transforms love energy, aka spiritual energy, God energy to energy of matter. We must remember that we are love and love one another and help one another.

MIKE OZURUMBA DIED WHEN HE STOPPED SERVING PEOPLE

My fried, Mike Ozurumba died many years ago when he decided to worship his ego and not serve suffering humanity. When the individual stops worrying about other people's welfare and concentrates only on his personal survival he becomes a living dead person waiting to drop-dead. Mike lived only for himself hence was a living dead person even when he pretended to be alive.

He lived at Los Angeles and did not involve himself with Igbos, Nigerians, Africans, black folks, people in general to help the needy. I came to the Los Angeles area (I lived by the Beach, at Long Beach) and lived there for over a year and he did not come to see me. He did not go to see my daughter when she came there a couple of years ago and I called and asked him to go see her...she lived close to his house; he lived at Santa Monica and she lived close to Beverly Hills in West Los Angeles, only a few miles from Santa Monica.

He is better off dead for to live is to be of service to humanity and he was of no use to people hence was already dead. Why mourn him for he was already dead, anyway. Let him go. The man continues to enter my consciousness (as Igbos do); my mind wanting to process his weird life (Igbos self-centeredness). He talked mostly about his sex with many women when I could care less about sex although I found his stories amusing; they cracked me up, made me laugh (sex talk always make men laugh).  I wondered why men seek sex...you have to place value on a woman to seek her sexually; if you withdraw value from her, you remove the demand for her, the product, and she is of no use to you. Women are of no appeal to me for I do not value what they sell, sex; I only seek spiritual love, a love that transcends the human body.

Mike was a big, fat coward. He began his college career by studying political science (he used to be Jaja Wachukwu's protégé). He said that he wanted to go into Nigerian politics. He realized that in Nigeria politics is a do or die business. He said that he did not want to be killed by other politicians or their goons, so he made a change and got an MBA and PhD in school administration. The point is that he was afraid of death; fear of death deterred him from doing what he wanted to do: go help fix Nigeria's messed up politics. He was a coward; a man should do what his mind is in even if he is killed in the process. To live is to do what one wants to do.

Two days ago, Barack Obama gave his state of the union address to Congress; he talked about what is good for all Americans (his speech was aspirational and is not going to be realized in a Republican controlled Congress); it does not matter whether Congress approves his proposed policies or not; what matters is that he cares for people. As long as he cares for people he is alive but when he stops doing so he is dead. When you stop trying to help people you die.

I am fully alive because every moment of my life is dedicated to seeking ways to serve a humanity I see as suffering; I am fully engaged with life. I am like Buddha; I see a world suffering because it refuses to love and want to teach it love; I have compassion for people; I love people but know that I cannot change them; only the individual can change himself when he decides to love all people; in practical terms, serve people, help the needy.

God, I am practically giving away free counseling every day to all the people that call me from all over the world seeking information on how to solve their problems. Yesterday, around 6; AM,  a white woman called and wanted to know how to handle her twenty something year old son who is addicted to heroin; I spent over an hour talking to her about addictions, physiological and psychological addiction, then talked a bit about why people seek drugs, to reduce the tension in their lives; they live tension filled lives; and ended by telling her to find a way to get her son to find spirituality, for only return to spirit, which I define as love, gives us peace and happiness. Peaceful and happy people do not seek drugs to calm them down or excite them; love is what gives our lives peace, joy, meaning and direction.

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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