Sep 09, 2014 | By George Gantz
A Personal Journal – towards a Philosophy Integrating Science and Spirituality
It is 2014 and we are well into the fifth year of the 21st century of the modern era, approximately 2 million years after humans first appeared on the earth. Today, the world is changing in ways we cannot imagine, at a speed we cannot perceive and with an intensity we cannot withstand. We are precipitating these changes through our choices and their interaction with the choices of all 8 billion humans and the natural world as a whole, in a complex web of complex systems defying prediction or control.
All the same, the fundamental questions of who we are, why we are here and how we should live have not changed. The earliest known philosophers struggled with these questions, just as philosophers do today, while most of the human species continues striving to live the best life they can envision.
The word philosophy derives from the Greek and means “love of wisdom”. I think most of us understand the word “love”, but wisdom is not so easy to define. A common definition, for example, is “the quality of being wise.” If we accept that wisdom is the knowledge of what choices can lead to the best life, then we can agree that the goal of philosophy is consistent with what humanity is trying to achieve – to increase the wisdom that enables us to live a good life.
The philosophical impulse captured me early and, although I set it aside for a number of decades, I recently began to give it free reign. This is taking me back to the two philosophical foundations – epistemology, the study of what we know and how – and metaphysics, the study of what we can say about existence and substance. To borrow an analogy from Greek mythology, these areas of inquiry are the Scylla and Charybdis of human understanding – we must pass through the tortuous shoals between these monsters to gain access to a coherent framework for our understanding.
There is an ocean of opportunities for increasing knowledge and gaining wisdom on the far side of this passage. There, perhaps, will be in a better position to respond to the changes we are experiencing – or at least be able to ask the questions that need to be answered in order to make better choices. For anyone who follows this journey or would like to comment along the way – welcome, and thanks.
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