Filed under: The Mother of Science
One question that people have been trying to answer for thousands of years is whether God exists or not. Science is approaching the point where we can begin to deal with this question, particularly with molecular biology.
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Filed under: Education, Environmental Politics, Morality, The Mother of Science
by Jayadvaita Swami
Twenty years ago, no one gave a damn. You could gum up a river with factory sludge, chop down rain forests wholesale, spray fluorocarbons into the air like a kid sprinkling confetti, and no one would say boo.
No longer. Grade-school kids want to grow up to be ecologists. New York tycoons sort their trash to recycle. Rock singers play concerts to save prairies and wetlands. Political candidates tell us they’re worried about the fate of the three-toed baboon.
Caring about the environment helps you feel good about yourself. At the supermarket you choose paper instead of plastic. You write your thank-you notes on cards made from ground-up newsprint and cotton waste. You chip in a few dollars for Greenpeace. Hey, you care about the earth. You’re a righteous human being.
Yet too often our concern for the earth lacks a metaphysical grounding. Intuitively, living in harmony with the earth feels right. If the earth is the house we’re going to live in, why litter the rooms with beer cans or pee all over the carpet?
But in an ultimate sense, so what? If life is just a series of chemical reactions, what does it matter if the chemicals go messy? Species come and species go. Why get all mushy and teary-eyed if a few berserk bipeds wipe out some hundred thousand kinds of their neighbors? The earth may be our mother, but sooner or later she’s going to blow to atomic dusting powder anyway. And from a cosmic point of view that’s just a few mega-moments down the line. So why all the fuss?
You can say it’s for our children, it’s for future generations. But they’re also just a flash in eternity. Why bother for them?
Guardians of the green remind us urgently that dirtying and devouring the earth is short-sighted. But to be far-sighted we have to look beyond what seems clean, pleasant, and harmonious on a physical spot of earth on a brief ride through the universe. We have to ask ourselves not only how well we’re treating the earth but why we’re on it and where we are ultimately going.
Otherwise, though ecologically aware, we’re metaphysically dead.
Worldview and Culture
The pattern that emerged in medieval and Renaissance Europe- a progressively more godless cosmology leading to a destructive civilization based on the maximum exploitation of matter- was described five thousand years ago in the Bhagavad Gita.
The Gita (16.8,9,11) states, “They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control…Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible acts meant to destroy the world…They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime necessity of human civilization.”
Some modern observers echo the Gita’s words. Pitirim Sorokin, former chairman of Howard University’s department of sociology, described the civilization that rose out of Renaissance Europe’s age of scientific discovery as “sensate.” Sensate culture, he explained, “is based upon the ultimate principle that…beyond the reality and values which we can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste there is no other reality and no real values.”
Sorokin said that the senstae society “intensely cultivates scientific knowledge of the physical and biological properties of sensory reality.” He adds, “Despite its lip service to the values of the Kingdom of God, it cares mainly about the sensory values of wealth, health, bodily comfort, sensual pleasures, and lust for power and fame. Its dominant ethic is invariably utilitarian and hedonistic.” The inevitable result, Sorokin said, is the exceptional violence he have experienced in the twentieth century. And we may include in this category violence against the planet itself, brought on by the “increasing destructiveness of the morally irresponsible, sensate scientific achievements…invented and continuously perfected by the sensate scientists.”
–Divine Nature by Micheal A. Cremo & Mukunda Goswami (p70)