The motto of the Theosophical Society is “There is no religion higher than Truth.” That is a statement to which a scientist can subscribe equally well. Theosophists and scientists are indeed both engaged in a search for Truth. However, scientists seek for truth at the outward physical level, whereas Theosophists are concerned with Truth at an inner and more spiritual level, as taught by the great mystics and sages throughout the ages. That deeper Truth is sometimes called the Ancient Wisdom or the perennial philosophy.
The scientific and mystical methods of search also differ, being complementary rather than contradictory. Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science, but we human beings need both. Yet many scientists, perhaps even the majority, do not see a need for any deeper Truth than those which objective scientific procedures discover. Others would like to have some involvement with religion but are discouraged by fundamentalist religious teachings that are inconsistent with well-established scientific knowledge. Nevertheless, many great scientists, for example Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schradinger, and David Bohm, have seen the need for the deeper spiritual understanding taught by the great religious teachers and mystics of all ages.
Scientists seek to understand the world by proposing explanations (or theories) that account for what we can observe in the physical environment around us. A theory must be adequate to account for what we observe repeatedly in experiments testing it. It should also be internally consistent and as simple as possible. A scientific theory is never accepted. It is only tested by experiments, and if it accounts for what the experiments show, it is upheld. If it is contradicted by the experiments, it still isn't given up until there is a better explanation to put in its place. Thus all scientific knowledge is tentative. But if a particular theory has been widely tested without being seriously contradicted, it is accepted as a fact of nature until a better theory comes along.
The mystical method of search is quite different, although it shares some features with scientific investigation. The mystic has an experience of a sort different from our ordinary day-to-day perception of things. Because that experience is out of the ordinary, the mystic cannot describe it for others in ordinary language. Scientists also may have difficulty stating their explanations in ordinary language, which is fuzzy, so they turn to the precise language of mathematics to express their ideas. Mystics turn instead to metaphor, symbol, and allegory to express the Truth they have perceived.
Among the features shared by science and mysticism is that both experimental results and mystical experiences must not be unique, but available to everyone under the right conditions. Just as a good scientific theory has to be tested and confirmed by several scientists working independently, so a convincing mystical experience has to be shared by a number of mystics in different cultural traditions and expressed in metaphors that may be different from one another, but are equivalent in what they represent. And like science, mysticism is progressive, being supplemented and revised by succeeding generations of investigators into the inner world of experience.
Barbara Reiff, MA, has been studying Theosophy for over 30 years. Due to the wealth of the writings confirming the Theosophical View with Modern Scientific Principles, her presentation will bring these two disciplines together. She recently retired as an Analyst from a large oil and gas company Her education includes a M.A. in Management and a M.A. in Human Resources.
Free and Open to the Public
Friday, March 16, 2018
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Tracy Gee Community Center
Houston, TX 77042
For more information please contact Barbara at bwrtx2011@gmail
call Flem at 281-493-4543