Physicist Alan Lightman calls himself a spiritual atheist. He was a pure materialist before but after an experience of non-duality in his dark boat communing with the stars, he now wrestles with the question of science and spirituality with a new twist. In this article in BBC Science Focus Magazine Lightman tries to untangle the complicated threads of the debate and concludes that the issue is not as simple as it seems.
For one, he believes that the personal transcendent experience cannot be questioned of its validity inasmuch as he does not compromise that all things in the universe should be tested scientifically. He recognizes with equal consideration the existence of the spiritual and the material albeit they are of a different order. With the materialism of science, he embraces with passion the existence of the spiritual world without necessarily including the existence of god in the equation. He chose to tread the narrow path full of thorns and uncertainties in his discourse with the rigor of science delving into the mystery of spirit. In his own words, “We long for certainties, yet we ourselves are full of the ambiguities of the Mona Lisa and the I Ching. “
Editor’s Note: As the world advances in experience in dealing with the material universe and the transcendent experience, the dualisms slowly dissolve. Science slowly gains an understanding of the non-material and consciousness while spirit manifests itself repeatedly at the quantum level and in explorations of the multiverse.
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