Rise above systems


Please answer the following questions ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

  1. Are you open to experience?  That is, if a new and possibly strange experience comes along, instead of getting frightened or depressed or awful… do you try to learn a lesson from the experience?
  2. Do you impose preconceived meanings to your experiences?
  3. Do you make your own choice when in confusion instead of relying on readymade answers given by systems like religion, tradition, science…?
  4. Do you try to contribute a new solution, a new suggestion, or a judgment based entirely on your own understanding when faced with a dilemma or difficult situation?
  5. Instead of looking for happiness, contentment, security and such things, do you live a life that is exciting, challenging, and meaningful on your own terms?
  6. Are you willing to oppose the teachings of parents, teachers, science, religion, established authorities, etc if you find such teachings are against your own convictions and principles?
  7. Are you more interested in material comforts and rewards than in the creation of an egalitarian society?
  8. Do you make a contribution to the society in unostentatious ways?  For example, by doing your work in an exemplary manner that will inspire others, or by practising certain values – without being moralistic or preachy?
  9. Do you distrust dogmas including the kind of science and scientific thinking that produce a technology which exploits and harms nature and people?
  10. Do you trust your own experience and have a profound distrust of all external authority?

If your answer is ‘yes’ to all questions except 2 and 7, you are what psychologist Ryckman calls (after Carl Rogers who coined the phrase) ‘a fully functioning person.’ 

What prompted me to put this up here is an article by one Prof B M Hegde in today’s Hindu [June 17].  ‘Is science another of those fanatical religions?’ asks the Prof.  The way science is functioning today has made it look like a fanatical religion.  Scientists today have vested interests.  They are not serving science and truth; they are after material benefits, awards and rewards. 

This is not a surprising allegation from a person who is a medical practitioner.  Medical science today is one of the most corrupt forms of science.  Because the practitioners are corrupt. 

It is not science that is at fault.  It is the scientists who misuse it.

That’s true of most systems.  It is not religion that is at fault, it is the practitioners of religion who misuse it. 

The problem with most of us, human beings, is that we are not so much concerned about truth, benevolence, and other good qualities as about what we can benefit by being truthful, benevolent… 

If we can raise ourselves beyond those selfish motives, if we can rise to a higher level of consciousness, we will discover a new meaning in life, a meaning that is more resplendent than we imagine!


About matheikal

My more regular blog can be accessed at www.matheikal.blogspot.com
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8 Responses to Rise above systems

  1. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    Matheikal, I am only a “partially” functioning person and am glad that I am!

    I take complete exception to your equating science and religion, picking up, as it were, where B M Hegde left off. Science is a system, I agree. But it is a flexible one. I only wish people who equate science with religion read about history of science. Read also Thomas Kuhn who coined the phrase “paradigm shift”. Paradigm shifts in science without upending the system. Einsteinian physics overthrew Newtonian physics but the latter still survives where it is still valid. We are waiting for the next “messiah”, the physics to overthrow Einsitein!

    But in religion, if a paradigm shifts, the system itself shifts, through wars usually. Science may enhance warfare but religion creates. Science, unfortunately, becomes a handmaiden of religion and of economics too.


    • matheikal says:

      Raghuram, I’m not surprised by your response. In fact, I had foreseen it.

      My view is that all systems are limited being creations of limited human beings. Even science is as much as religion is. Both (as well as many other systems) serve certain functions in the life of certain people. If you think science serves more functions than religion, you are sadly wrong. I am not a religious believer at all. But I understand the meaning of religion in the lives of people. And I understand religion holds a much stronger sway over human lives.

      Your argument is theoretical while I try to understand life from the pragmatic side, the way it is actually lived. Theories don’t change actual human lives! (Exceptions only prove the rule.)

  2. It is a beautiful ideal to achieve, but like most things, it is a struggle within oneself to raise above and beyond the selfish motives. Well said, sir!!

    • matheikal says:

      Dear Cousin, I’m glad you take it as a struggle at least. That’s far higher on the level of consciousness than those who ignore the whole issue and live accepting the given truths (money, welfare of oneself and one’s family, promotion in job, power…) If only people could experice the struggle… the level would rise, I guarantee.

  3. subhorup says:

    in several ways, undiluted pursuit of scientific knowledge has become the poor cousin of funded research, and it has turned into the same power play that we see in other ideological structures.

  4. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    No Matheikal,

    My points flow from my admission that science is a system. You have not touched upon the basic point that if a paradigm shifts in science, no wars ensue outside of science on this score. There were no wars because people did not accept Bohr’s interpretation of quantum mechanics. Say this is true in religion and I will withdraw my statement. Science serves the war machine, I readily admit, but religion stokes wars that actually have their origins in economics. You may want to consult Jared Diamond on this. If my position is theoretical, so be it.

    Aristotlian science was upended long time ago without an army ever having formed to “defend” him. When Galileo tried explaining the solar system, the fight was not with the science establihment of his time, but with the Church. Tell me one such instance in religion, and I will withdraw my case.

    It is exclusively on this score I will fight every instance of science being equated to religion. They are systems, sure, but there ends the similariies. No scientist is ever “wedded” to “his” science (the most extended relationhip was between Fred Hoyle nd his “staedy state” universe theory.)


    • matheikal says:

      Raghuram, I do agree with you on the paradigm shift and the problems generated by it in religion. I didn’t touch upon it because it’s too obvious. I was trying to tell you that my approach here is quite different. A very commonplace, pragmatic, plebian approach. And I do have a purpose for doing it. As Bernard Shaw once said, I don’t write anything without a purpose (though I am not even eligible to untie the lace of Shaw’s shoes.) But be sure, my motives are not political, religious, or even seflish. Maybe, it will become clearer gradually.

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