The Priesthood of Science
ADI DA SAMRAJ: I have recently read some books that attempt to summarize the current state of physics, astronomy, and cosmology based on scientific observations. These texts summarize the history of the material universe, from the moment of the so-called “Big Bang” to the present, and they also describe its evolution in the future. Each of them is written in a different mood and comes to a different conclusion. In each case, the conclusion has philosophical or spiritual and religious significance, but it has nothing whatever to do with the summary evidence. The conclusions are purely emotional persuasions. One of them has something like a religious feeling about the whole matter. Another has a completely atheistic feeling about it. One sees the universe expanding and contracting in eternal cycles. Another sees its genesis once and its coming to an end only once. But none of these events has actually been observed. The writers of these books are surrounding the collection of physical observations with a structure of childish or adolescent philosophizing that is at the same level of thinking that existed centuries before these physical observations.
Thus, the old dogmas persist. We have different priesthoods, that is all. And the current priesthood is the priesthood of the scientists. Modern scientists certainly perform great services for humanity in many ways, but we tend to misinterpret their influence and their level of understanding. We tend to feel great awe in their company, but they do not have any more sound basis for making ultimate assumptions than people did hundreds of years ago, before our present scientific capacities. In other words, our scientists represent the same mind, the same disposition, the same state of evolution, as men of old, and the same variability of viewpoint, from school to school, from person to person.
It makes no difference whether we are scientists looking at sophisticated measurements and data or ordinary people walking down the street and casually commenting on the weather-we cannot say anything more intelligent than our state of adaptation allows. We cannot enjoy greater insight into what we are examining (regardless of what it is we are examining) than we have the adaptation from which to communicate. We are always the philosophers of our present state of adaptation. Modern scientists are scrutinizing sophisticated data, but they are not making truly sophisticated or higher cultural sense out of it. The data itself may contain all kinds of hidden clues to the same Wisdom that was enjoyed by great seers in the past. But the conventional scientists cannot communicate that Wisdom. They can only communicate the dogma of their own adaptation. Since they have not stepped into a different evolutionary process, they do not know anything about the physics of real meditation and the process that is evolving in the higher structures of the human being. They know nothing about it. Despite their best intentions, then, they are basically just chattering about their own immature or subhuman condition and communicating the vision, the emotional understanding, of which they are presently capable.
People tend to misinterpret modern scientism just as they misinterpreted the priestly influence in the Middle Ages. There is always a kind of glamour surrounding the official priesthood of any time. People presume all kinds of omniscience in these people, but it is the data, the information itself, that glamorizes the people associated with it. The data glamorizes scientists today, just as religious phenomena and beliefs glamorized priests in times past. What they are talking about in itself glamorizes them, but they do not have any capacity to make the greater sense out of it, or to perform a greater service for other human beings than those others can for themselves. Therefore, modern scientists do not introduce into human time another process that would permit human beings to advance on the scale of evolution. On the contrary: They are providing us with highly technical information about the state of adaptation we have already achieved. They are providing us with highly sophisticated information that gives us powers over the elemental life with which it is possible for us to destroy ourselves, because we have not yet developed the evolutionary capacity to make use of this information in a more civilized and benign way.
The more sophisticated the information or the technical powers we acquire, the more we have to mature in the culture of love and freedom, or true psycho-physical morality. Scientists are not offering such a Wisdom-Culture, based on a higher evolutionary level of functioning. But without such a culture, human beings cannot advance, no matter how comprehensive their information.
Thus, it is a matter of great urgency for modern men and women to come into a true understanding of what the true Adept or Spiritual Master represents to Man, and what the devotional relationship to such a one actually entails. The Teaching of the true Spiritual Master serves the moral transformation and ultimate evolution of Man. He incarnates and communicates the necessary Wisdom-Culture of Man. In his Realization and his argument, the Spiritual Master, or highest Adept, represents a radical criticism of the usual mans standard of functional existence and all the forms of his resistance to the real spiritual process, the life of intelligent sacrifice, or love.
At the present time almost all human beings are more or less mechanically insisting upon the repetition of an essentially subconscious, controlled life, not a free and creative and spiritual life. Modern scientism and all the other influences of our day, both secular and apparently religious, represent doctrines and presumptions within that limited, not yet conscious form of life. The conventional institutions that advertise growth, freedom, creativity, and spiritual transformation all in fact tend to become spokesmen for that egoic or conventional, Narcissistic logic. But the Way of Life that I Teach is the most serious and profound and radical, or nonconventional, affair. People must therefore begin to distinguish this radical Way from the so-called “spiritual movement” of our time as well as from the conventional traditions of exoteric religion and esoteric spirituality, both Eastern and Western.