ON MIXING SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY
(Charles B. Anderson, A course in miracles and Science.)
Science is a methodological approach to phenomena that eschews injecting one’s opinions into the description of the world. Science requires us to just describe what we see, do so objectively, dispassionately, and unsympathetically; and do it in such a manner that anyone who cares to can verify what we described to his satisfaction, and if possible, replicate it in an experimental situation. Science describes the world and how it works; this is a good thing. Other names for the scientific method are empiricism and logical positivism.
Through scientific methods we have learned a great deal about the universe and our bodies. Science and its applied aspect, technology, are the best things that human beings have done in their sojourn on planet earth; they have improved people’s living standards than any other endeavor they engaged in.
Unfortunately, the scientific method does not lend itself to answering the question why; it merely stops at answering the how question; science describes phenomena but does not bother with why they exist.
Science describes how the universe began in a big bag, 13.8 billion years ago, but does not ask the question why did the universe bother coming into being and for what does it exist?
Human beings are not only scientific but meta-scientific. They ask why questions. Why do we exist, is there any purpose to our lives?
If we look at the universe, we see a dumb universe hurtling to where we do not know but why does it exist? Does it exist to over expand and lose heat and die, in Cold Chill, or will it collapse unto itself in a Big Crunch?
And if a big crunch, will another universe rebound from it, and why bother existing at all? It would have been nice if nothing existed at all rather than for something that does not make sense to exist.
Thus, where science fails to give people the answers that they are looking for in asking why questions, they posit what seems to them reasonable religious and or spiritual answers. Alas, religious and spiritual answers cannot be verified or proved as true, they must be believed on faith; many people resent accepting things on mere faith. Religion has misled humankind a lot.
Dr Helen Schucman, a professor of psychology at Columbia University, New York wrote a 1400 pages book called A course in miracles. In it she tried to explain why the universe exists. According to her, we are eternally unified with God and that God created us. We resented that God created us and wanted to create God and create ourselves.
We desired a separated universe of differences and where each of us created himself. Unable to do so in heaven’s unified spiritual reality, as it were, we cast a magical spell on us, went to sleep and dream of this universe of separated selves and things, a universe of multiplicity (this is the opposite of God’s unified spiritual universe where all selves are oneself with one mind).
Our universe of separated things, space, time, and matter, she said, is a dream of the opposite of the unified universe of God. The lady wrote an excellent religious and spiritual poem on God. I raise my hat for her.
Believe me, nothing satisfies my Descartes like skepticism and yet this lady impressed me. Of course, I know that what she said, from the perspective of science, is mere poetry that cannot be demonstrated as true. We have no way of empirically demonstrating that God exists, that God and his creations are unified, existent, and eternal.
Because A course in miracles is a spiritual poem, not science, many people try to interpret it and tell us what it says. Many thoughtful people have posited their understanding of that the course is teaching.
Kenneth Wapnick, Robert Perry, and Charles Anderson, I think, have understood the course, and proffer reasonable interpretations of what it teaches.
Kenneth Wapnick edited the book in 1973. He founded an organization called the foundation for A course in miracles. He took it upon himself to censure those he believed were not representing the course accurately (as said by him). In the 1990s he entered battle with Charles Anderson of Endeavor Academy in Wisconsin; through his attorneys he told the Endeavor Academy to stop misrepresenting the course in teaching and writing. Indeed, he went to courts claiming that the book is copyrighted and that no one has a right to violate its copyright. The case worked its way through the courts until a US judge ruled that the book is in the public Doman and, moreover, since it purports to be written by Jesus Christ, no one really has copyright to what Jesus says. Thus, the copyright was abrogated.
During the copy right fight, I took the side of Charles Anderson; in fact, I wrote a letter to Kenneth Wapnick calling him a thought censurer, a thought dictator, doing what the dreaded Catholic Church’s inquisitors, holy terrors, did; I asked him to desist from the road he embarked on and leave folks to interpret the course and the bible any which way they want to. None of us knows what the truth of God is therefore anyone who sets himself up as deciding what is the truth is deluded, if not completely psychotic (in psychosis there are delusions and hallucinations).
Propaganda was spread that Charles Anderson did not understand the course. So, I took the trouble to watch his videos. I concluded that he understood the course. However, he has an idiosyncratic manner of speaking but otherwise he had an excellent grasp of the book. I therefore could not take side with those who said that he misrepresented the book.
This evening, October 19, 2022, I watched a video tape of Charles Anderson. He did it in a cemetery, by the headstone of his Scottish great, grandfather, Charles Anderson. He talked about his great grandfather, how he was a professor in 1906.
The object of his presentation is Stem cells.
He was excited about the prospect of the research on stem cells, using embryonic stem cells that had not yet differentiated to other tissues, in the body to grow cells that could be used to heal impaired tissues in our bodies and prolong our bodies to living exceptionally long.
He showed a good grasp of stem cells research, but it was obvious that his motivation was to find a way for people to live in their bodies forever and ever.
The tape was made in 2006 when he was 80 years of age (he died two years later at age 82, in 2008).
As I watched the man it occurred to me that he was mixing science and metascience. Stem cells research is done by ego scientists who study the human body and want to heal its diseases. This is fine.
A course in miracles, on the other hand, talks about the human body as a limiting factor in our lives, as something that we ought to not identify with. The book says that we are pure spirit that invented space, time, and matter and use them to house ourselves and in doing so limit our behaviors. It wants us to jettison our identification with body, to free our spirit. Spirit is limitless.
So, why was Mr. Anderson giddy and excited about that which would prolong the human body? Here is the deal.
Our bodies are made with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper and altogether sixty-four elements. Those elements are made from the atom. The atom is composed of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Neutrons and protons are made from quarks. Quarks and electrons are made from light.
Light energy slowed down its speed to form matter and used matter to form our bodies. Our bodies are physical light in disguised forms.
When we die our bodies decay to the elements they are composed of and those decay to the particles of the atom and those decay to light. Our bodies are made of dense light.
What is clear to me is that despite Charles Anderson’s brilliant renditions of A course in miracles he did not transcend the need to be a body. I personally do not have a need to be a body. I can hardly wait to live only as a spirit unburdened by the body, dense or light forms of it.
Mr. Anderson really did not understand the central them of A course in miracles despite seeming to have done so; he tended to mix science with metascience; his speeches were replete with references to such scientific ideas as black holes, event horizons, speed of light, galaxies, expanding universe and so on. The problem is that whereas he understood what those scientific ideas mean he tried to apply them to metascience and that does not pan out well. Talk science or talk metascience but do not mix them.
Science explains the lower order of being, the material universe, whereas metascience tries to explain the higher order of being, the spiritual universe.
A course in miracles says that our bodies do not exist, and that the physical universe does not exist and that to the extent that we think that they exist they limit our vision and that we ought to jettison identification with body and physics to regain awareness of our spirit nature; it did not tell us to yearn for the day that scientists would find ways to prolong our living in body, which, according to it, tantamount to living in hell.
Of course, scientists who want to live in bodies should study bodies; they might as well figure out a way to make the human body healthy and live in it for as long as is possible.
Those on a spiritual path should know what spirituality teaches, metaphysics, and not mix it with physics.
The body interferes with vision, it prevents us from seeing clearly; if we do not see through the glass darkly of body we would see in the light and when we know we know that body does not exist and that matter, space, time, and matter do not exist.
When body is understood as nothing, as an illusion, A course in miracles’ Jesus says that it disappears into the nothingness from whence we conjured it out.
Body is the stone covering the tomb; body prevents us from knowing that we are formless spirit. When we jettison identification with body, we regain awareness that we are part God’s unified spirit self and live from it, without the needs of our bodies interfering with knowledge.
Charles Anderson was one of the best expositors of A course in miracles but in the end still yearned for life in body and since the book is advocating for life outside body, he misrepresented what the book is really teaching.
A course in miracles did not ask folks to use science to figure out a way to prolong their lives in bodies, prolong their suffering for to live in body is to suffer. It said that with our right mind (mind placed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit), thinking from Christ mind, as Jesus Christ did, that we can make our bodies disappear and we see ourselves in another body, this time a body in light form.
This is what Jesus did when he resurrected from death. The resurrected son of God, thereafter, lives in the body of light form.
One is now at the gate of heaven, aka the real world, the bridge between earth and heaven; one is now in our world remade into light forms by the Holy Spirit.
From that purified self-one can completely let go of all desire for separated self and disappear into formless heaven (field of spiritual light where God is the wave of that light, and we are each the particle of that spiritual light).
In God, spiritual light, we are eternal, immortal, changeless and permanent but in forms (in dense body or light body) we are not permanent.
If you desire immortality, which you are always, you must look beyond body, not prolong identification with body and the separated self, ego, it houses; to know your real self, which is already in formless spirit, you must overcome the attraction of separation, ego, and body. This is what Dr. Helen Schucman taught in her seminal spiritual poem, A course in miracles.
People who are not yet ready to jettison the world, on the other hand, must study it through the scientific methods, understand it as it is, and make the most of it.
We live in two orders of reality, the physical world, and the metaphysical world. They have different postulations on what knowledge and truth are; they should not be mixed.
I know that the metaphysical world is true; I also know that the physical world is true, albeit a dream truth; both worlds should not be mixed up.
We must study both light and darkness, for it is in doing so that our liberation inheres.
Ozodi Osuji October 20, 2022