From Science to Philosophy
A Scholar's Philosophical Rise
Provided that the developed thinker is not confined to pre-established mental and spiritual principles, he can discover delicate scientific theorems by means of his effort, accuracy and passion, and descend to exploring the highest secrets of the universe. Such advance can happen in both purely natural sciences and also the humanities. For instance, Niels Bohr, the renowned physicist, had to consult the philosophy of the ancient Chinese intellectual, Laozi, and use one of his philosophical principles:
"In the great theatre of existence, we are both actors and spectators."
Another scientist who explored many of the amazing secrets of the universe and the relationship between nature and the supernatural was Max Planck. He said:
"Tending to believe that powerful, mysterious factors are at work in this world is one of the most significant characteristics of our times."
"The fact that while researching on the phenomena and processes of nature we try to omit all 'ifs' and 'maybes' and reach what is essentially necessary, shows that our endeavors are continually dependent upon something vital far beyond the relative – something absolute, eternal. That is what we want to reach. I believe that this is not a quality only of physics, but all sciences."
Hence, we see how purely scientific theorems can provide the grounds to rise to the highest of philosophical and supernatural issues.
Researchers and scientists who possess deep insight and sharp observation, like Albert Einstein and Max Planck, are able to see higher aspects of the universe – things unintelligible to those who devote themselves to nature. Nature scientists of pure mind and accurate actions can use their knowledge of this world to reach "evidence about the perfect absolute," achieving a certain originality and brilliance. Thus, these mountains, jungles and fields – though seeming to be obeying purely natural laws – can be seen as meaningful parts of a meaningful whole that possesses a great rhythm having made the ascend.
The Essence of Supernatural Knowledge
Supernatural knowledge is of crucial importance to man. The reasons for this are:
a)Man's curiosity makes him not confine his study of the facts about the world to the apparent relationships; he attempts to get into the depth of the fact, and explore all their aspects.
b)Experimental sciences are not capable of answering all of man's fundamental questions. The human mind tends to move from the details up to the generalities, and explore the principles and foundations of the facts about the world. Science cannot do him much help here.
c)If man's intense need to discover the fundamentals of the world is to be fulfilled, and the anxiety created by the incapability of man in solving the basic problems on knowledge is to be quenched, highly supernatural concepts and issues are necessary.
We must keep in mind that the supernatural knowledge we believe necessary is one that pays considerable attention to not only intelligence and wisdom, but also the purification of the human will; it prevents man from abusing his relationship with himself and the truth. Supernatural knowledge defines the range, level and harmony of natural sciences. Supernatural knowledge is not limited to the knowledge of the facts about the world; it should discover what is useful to man's development and emancipation. When supernatural knowledge does not ignore the realities about human life, it will lead to these advantages:
1-Achieving such knowledge, man will regard the other sciences he has as part of his supernatural knowledge;
2-It presents man with the principles and fundamentals of knowledge and discovery, enabling him to find his ultimate aims.
3-Natural sciences identify the components of nature for us, but they say nothing about the highest of its principles and the purpose of its creation; supernatural knowledge, however, reveals not only the ultimate principles and ends, but also provides man with the most elevated of feelings and emotions. It shows him the highest aim of life. Despite all the recent scientific advance, attention to the philosophy of life has unfortunately not only not increased, but rather diminished.
4-If man defies supernatural knowledge, his knowledge will be limited to phenomena and their inter-relations. He would ignore the discovery of the real truth of what they all depend on.
5-Supernatural knowledge is higher than all forms of human knowledge, not at their service, for it is not confined to the discovery of short-lived events and mortal phenomena. "Supernatural knowledge, the pinnacle of which is the knowledge of God, cannot be regarded as a device." It is far too high to be that. Without paying attention to knowledge about God, man cannot make any spiritual advance.
Ever since late 17th century, the West has ignored the supernatural. The viewpo¬ints that have led to this ignorance are:
a)Auguste Comte – who divided the history of mankind into divine, philosophical and scientific periods – and some others believe that we are living in the era of science, not philosophy, so there is no need for talk about the supernatural. We must say that if philosophical issues were unnecessary, there would not be so much discussion about the highest of philosophical matters between philosophers during the last few centuries. Comte has categorized history based on human cognition. For instance, he believes that during the divine period, when man was unable to understand the reasons underlying natural phenomena, he assumed that they had supernatural reasons, but now that man has discovered how they happen, he does not need supernatural elaboration for physical phenomena. Yet, understanding philosophical issues requires a great deal of mental effort, and man has to be at the peak of his mental development – which Comte believes is our era – to understand them. Furthermore, if we accept Comte's categorization, we cannot logically interpret the philosophical schools of thought before Jesus Christ was born, or even the medieval ones.
b)Another reason why the supernatural has been ignored is that man feels he has no need for advanced philosophical issues now that science has made immense progress; since he has been able to make contact with phenomena by means of scientific developments for a few centuries, he thinks there is no room for philosophical discussions any more. Those who support this belief have forgotten that experimental sciences are too limited to be able to answer certain philosophical questions. For example, the human mind is interested in moving from the specific to the general and vice versa, which is beyond what science can do for him.
c)Combining scientific methods with philosophical ones by philosophers of the past also led to the neglect toward the supernatural. In the past, scientific and philosophical problems were intertwined, and philosophers did not necessarily use scientific methods to solve scientific problems, so some people have come to think that only scientific methods are to be used for studying phenomena, and philosophy should be put aside totally. They ignore the important fact that separating science from philosophy and all their issues and problems does not omit one of them in favor of the other. Philosophy deals with things that science can never consider.
The supernatural should be protected from superficial approach. Philosophy is not a science easily presentable to people. However simplified advanced philosophical issues may become, they will only torture the average mind, for they are far above it to be fathomed.
These days, some intellectuals have fallen into superficial approach, and try to present the highest of philosophical concepts in a way the public can enjoy. Although presenting thoughts in a simple way is important, it should not fall into superficiality, where even supernatural issues can be made understandable to the public. Having studied some philosophical books and terms briefly, some people think they can easily understand them, so they begin giving opinions and remarks about it.