TED Conversations

Salim Solaiman


This conversation is closed.

Why are eastern religions/spirituality spreading all over the world, similarly science from the west conquered the world ?

It's not a religion/spirituality vs science debate.
For some time I've been wondering why it's so. Religions / spirituality from the east seems to be dominating the world to a great extent, while science from the west has established complete domination.

That doesn't mean , in east there was never any science nor it means west was missing spirituality / religion completely since the dawn of civilization. It's a broad observation.

Is my observation right ?
If right , what can explain it better ? Sociology, environmental factor ? Or any other factor can explain it better.
If my observation is wrong, why do you think so ?

Would love to hear your views, logics, reasoning ...............


Closing Statement from Salim Solaiman

Thanks for all who participated in to the debate. Though at the end we could not the answer of the main premise.
Discussion rather took a spin which religions are eastern or which not. Main debate for sometime in this regard was about christianity , majority considered Christianity to be eastern which is also my view point.

There wer very good discussion on other matters mostly on religions , specifically hinduism. It's a learning for me as a originator of discussion to be more careful about use of words in poster otherwise debate can spin in different way than its original purpose.

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    Oct 17 2011: To Thomas & Natasha:

    " am not saying what eastern philosophy and religion are; I am saying, I do not expect them to have all the answers."

    That is similar to saying you don't think music has all the answers. In this case it is the music of silence, the sound of all sounds. You are talking about relative knowledge, eastern religion/philosophy refers to the self in many respects (at least that's where it begins for it manifests it's self to everything) you can call it many things: silence, eternity, changeless, stillness, presence, oneness. But they are all the same. And no it is not a stretch to explain it in one sentence, in fact once you know it the words should cease, they are all a reference to the same state, ex. in hinduism all the gods are a reflection of brahma (the eternal unity) in Buddhism it is awakening, in taoism it is the yin and yang showing that once you are one you are already the other (also taoism gives you a bunch of contradictions to show you), in Zen it is implementing this into everyday activity so everything becomes an art rather than a chore, if you go to the west it is the garden of eden where there is unity and perfection. The people who have achieved this are often called Buddhas or christs or sages or even gods in hinduism.

    Yes I think we have the same view on the subject here. I wouldn't separate them with the words knowing and knowledge but that doesn't really matter. In the west we once considered experience and science a part of the same discipline, I think they called it logos back then. It started when they tried to make an indivisible unit called the atom, after this all of western thought had a core belief of division and each person being an individual amongst many. In modern times however science is starting to realize that this is not true as there is no smallest unit and that the whole is an integrated system of basically energy.

    I could refine this all but I think you guys will understand despite err.
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      Oct 17 2011: Hi Thadeus,

      You seem to have taken something I have NOT said and elevated it to a major point I was TRYING to say. The fact that I did not mention what I think eastern philosophy is, is not addressed by what I did say (that I do not expect it to have all the answers ... to make that "concrete" ... I do not expect eastern philosophy to have anything to say about what movie will win an Oscar or whether we will find the Higgs Boson.)

      The rest of your conversation is interesting and I agree with much of what you say but you are not including ALL of the eastern philosophies (nor could I, I do not know all of them!) but some of them (that I do know) are not adequately addressed by your single sentence. It's a good sentence and has broad applications but it is not universal. If you would like to pursue this, we can ... should we open another conversation to do so?
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        Oct 17 2011: First paragraph: Agreed, thanks

        Second paragraph: Thanks, I do how ever think that all of them, of course I could be wrong so I would enjoy it if any body could find an example against it. In my sentence I was referring to the ultimate point and not the method. If you want to make this an other conversation I think that would be very interesting. I seem to have a strange record of my conversations being deleted despite seeing others with topics that I would consider farther away from Ted's mission of ideas worth spreading.
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Thadeus,

          The major Eastern philosophy that has nothing to do with "being" would, I suppose, be Confucianism.

          And I suppose if we wanted to "split hairs" we could say Buddhism is not about being but rather about "non-being."

          Christianity (which I consider Eastern) is not really about being at all: it is about salvation and redemption.

          Others that are not really about "being" include Legalism, Shinto, Maoism, Jainism, and so on.

          Jainism is an interesting one because, in some ways, it is about "being" but it is also about "liberation" and it does not advocate the existence of God (neither does Buddhism.)

          Lots of existing Eastern philosophies are syncretic so we have many that pick and choose the features they like from other schools of thought.

          And if we look at many philosophies and religions, they have a "mystical" branch that might have something to do with being (or not) - like Kabbalah, Sufis, Sahaja, Catholic Spiritualism, and so on.
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        Oct 19 2011: Thomas:

        By the 6th century BC. the chinese already had a sophisticated social system, they had both intellectual structure and mystical search. Confucianism served as the intellectual division while taoism the mystical one. However it was always thought that the highest aim of philosophy should be to transcend the world of everyday life and reach a higher plane of consciousness. So maybe your right but confucianism wasn't meant to be understood as an isolated philosophy.

        Non-being implies that there is no unity of all and you are in isolation. In fact non being could be interpreted as a state of mind where you are gripped with time and change. I have heard someone say Buddhism is about extinguishing one self, this is true but only your subjective self. Basically they are the same: being of all and non-being of you.

        Christianity uses different words but that doesn't mean they don't mean the same thing. Salvation is possible through Jesus Christ. Christ means one who is pure. He says god is within me, it is a metaphor. We can all be Christs just as we can be Buddhas, the objective or unity or god is within us.
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          Oct 19 2011: Hi Thadeus,

          I think what you are demonstrating is we can reframe pretty much anything we want to make it fit any view we like. Which is sort of what we all do ... Probably most of the time.

          Confucius (apparently) did not intend his philosophy, which was primarily focussed on statecraft, to be co-opted by anything, which would include Buddhism and Taoism. It was. And now we have a "Mash up" that is more prevalent than "pure" Confucianism.

          Your revisioning of Christianity is interesting and is as valid as any other, I suppose. I doubt that many Christians would agree with you.

          But the point remains: Not all eastern philosophies are about being.

          If we would like to revision all of them to fit that model, of course, we can. But, again, I don't think everyone would agree with us.

          Is it important to you that all eastern philosophies be about being?
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        Oct 19 2011: Thanks Thomas (for some reason to me, there is no "reply" button in any of the "Thumbs up" of Thomas). So I am posting it here.
    • Oct 17 2011: Hi, Thadeus!
      Thank you for the comment! Actually i would like you to "refine this all"
      You know how pleasant the moment of recognition is, when you have just vague ideas about,
      and meet someone who has a clear vision /at least, much clearer/ It's a real joy!
      Nice to meet you!
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        Oct 19 2011: I don't know much:

        Beautiful is how it should be, mind is the questionnaire is the interpreter, you cannot tell me who you are, but you can dance it. You cannot tell me who you are, you can only smile it. You cannot tell me who you are, but you will live it. God is a reference to all and unity comes within us if we no longer resist. If we experience this unity we are in an eternal moment. In the universe everything is the center, for example you, you are in the center of a world of movement, time and change but what does the center do? It doesn't move, you are in the stillness of eternity. So everything is both in time and in stillness. Ii is a changeless change. In mythology it is not uncommon to be both released and bound by the chains of life. You can dance with you body and and be still with your mind. In meditation one observes but it's much more than simple observation it is an experience. Prejudices cloud us while awareness is the blooming of a flower.

        Basically language creates a problem where the more articulate you get, the more a word loses it's dynamism. Also it is easy to get stuck in the word rather than it's reference. Everything is here except for us. Just to take any confusion away I don't practiced any religion.

        Nice to meet you too!
        • Oct 19 2011: Thadeus!
          Strangely enough, but I understand what you are saying, without , actually, understanding
          what i understand.../?!?!/ I'd like to ask here "Did I make myself plain?
          Yes,language is a clumsy thing when you really have something to say!
          You said you didn't know much, but I've got the impression that you know enough to be close the state "he who knows does not speak" You tried to explain/ what? "everything", "the essence"../ through paradoxes, it means that you are pretty close!
          Paradox is almost the silence,but it can be heard and shared. And maybe I've managed to hear or I think i have :)

          You said:"Just to take any confusion away I don't practiced any religion".

          - neither do I, but I am quite religious in some way, or maybe '"religious" is not the right word, I don't know. Frankly, I am quite comfortable with not knowing.

          Thank you for your response, please, keep sharing, you have a lot to share!

          Thank you!
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          Oct 21 2011: Hi Natasha,

          You say, "Frankly, I am quite comfortable with not knowing."

          This is absolute gold - a beautiful foundation from which unlimited learning becomes possible.

          Nurture this feeling.
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      Oct 17 2011: Hi Thadeus. There are two issues you seem to confuse. One is "knowing everything" and the other is pursuit of knowing. No real scientist ever claimed that we know all (through science or otherwise). The same way I have not met any single respected, sensible religious guru, from any religion who claim that we now know all! That's why they pray regularly, to seek wisdom from some divine source they believe. Even all mighty God do pray daily and regularly to do the same, as per Hindu and other religions arose from Hinduism (like Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism), whom I have more and easy access to.
      There is a branch of Hinduism who does not believe in God. They and some ancient Hindu, Sanskrit scripture like "Sankhya- tattva-kaumudi" argues that:
      "a perfect God can have no need to create a world, and if God's motive is kindness, Samkhya questions whether it is reasonable to call into existence beings who while non-existent had no suffering. Samkhya postulates that a benevolent deity ought to create only happy creatures, not an imperfect world like the real world"!
      Before Newton, apple used to come down due to God, before reproductive biology human birth was an act of God etc. Before moon landing, Allah and few other fairy creatures used to live in the Moon. Before many mountaineers Lord Shiva used to live in Kailash, In the Himalayas. Many do still believe all those, but that is democracy where even a fool has his right to live in his own fool's world!
      Yes, we do not know a lot more, than we know. But that does not warrant some supernatural explanation. If we believe in those supernatural power or God, our ability to explore and extend the limit of our current knowledge will erode significantly. You are participating here not because of God or his/her divine help, but because some people explored the world, challenged the limit of human ability and knowledge, and then invented computer and internet.
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        Oct 19 2011: Jayanta:

        You mis understand me, I am not talking about a supernatural explanation of life. I am talking about the presence, where there is no interpretation but only experience only being. This state of mind cannot be explained in words so different religions use different methods of referring to it, some through metaphors (Christianity & Hinduism) some through contradictions (Taoism), and through art (Zen).

        I am not quite sure what you mean by "knowing all" and the "pursuit of knowledge". I am not claiming that scientists no all either. I was simply questioning the meaning of knowledge. For example you can find everything you want to about a flower but no matter how much you find there will be something missing, and this is what oneness and presence refers to, one can simply allow and stop questioning the flower and experiences it's beauty.

        This branch of Hinduism is impersonating God. God is not someone that chooses God is everything and a Buddha is a mirror that reflects all that is. Perfection is already here it is us that interprets and so create the imperfection that they mentioned.

        Your examples show how people have mis understood God. I am not talking about the metaphor of religion but it's reference.
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          Oct 19 2011: Nice conversation Jayanta and Thadeus. I enjoyed that. Thanks.
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          Oct 19 2011: Thanks Thadeus for clarifying your view.
          you made a point and I almost agree with that. Almost, because if you define GOD as expression of humane quality of our life and beauty, then I have no problem. It's like exploring photography. One is the technical (Scientific) side of a photograph and the other is the art or creativity side. We need the technology to express the art, but our MAIN target to is express our own world (through picture)- the "art" part. We cannot achieve the "art" part without (or denying) technology. The same way technology has no meaning if we do not have the sense of purpose (in this case, sense of "art"), focus on the "bigger picture".
          I personally think there is no conflict between science and religion, as many believe or might expect. BUT that will only be true IF we keep in mind the real meaning of religion and can logically follow its gradual evolution. The people whom we think are the founding fathers, invented “religion” to seek truth, as I indicated many times before.
          During the course of evolution we lost the focus and forgot the real meaning of religion (or spirituality broadly). We started following some (mostly) meaningless rituals in the name of religion/spirituality. There comes the conflict. Meditation is not just sitting idle in a specific posture for a period of time to watch soap operas or sports on TV later. It was to prepare our mind to be able to concentrate on more challenging problems. A true religious person will not undertake any sort of corruption or dishonesty using some mundane rituals as shield. The same is true for a scientist.
          It is immaterial to me if you gather strength by thinking some real (e.g. our own parents, spouses, children, friends etc) or imaginary (God, Goddess etc) figures or from personal conviction of logic and facts (as atheists do) if you are an honest person with the ability to think clearly and the courage to talk straight.
  • Oct 15 2011: Hi Salim,
    I am facing the same "Reply button' problem now!
    Hopefully my posts will be found by Kathy and Thomas.

    Hi, Kathy!
    It's nice to see you here, and i agree with what you've said:
    Eastern religion is philosophy and philosophy is science.

    Religious doctrine (beyond the 'story' level) is deeply scientific.

    There is no separating the science from religious doctrine.
    But you've perpetuated naturally the division "science from the west" and ""philosophy of the east" .
    Why do we talk about East/West science, philosophy, teaching, approach... whatever , not North/South ?
    Why do we take for granted that the East is the cradle of spirituality and the West's contribution is rationalism and logic ?
    Are there any theories in sacred teachings, can the Bible provide us with an answer or any helpful suggestion?
    Thank you!

    May i jump in?
    Don't you agree that all divisions are illusions hence not real?
    Why it should be different with sacred teachings, religion, philosophy and science?
    Why not to view them as the seemingly divergent pathways to the same summit? It's human quest for truth.
    I don't have quotations handy, but as far as i remember David Bohm said that that this division is temporary, It didn't
    exist in the past he saw no reason why it should go on to the future.
    The famous Albert Einstein words: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind"
    And here on TED, Wade Davis: "I recently made a film called "The Buddhist Science of the Mind" Why did we use the word "science" ?
    What is science but the empirical pursuit of the truth? What is Buddhism but 2,500 years of empirical observation as to the nature of mind?"
    So, Kathy's view is well recognised actually, and maybe it's an attempt to restore reality,and she is in a good company here : )
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      Oct 16 2011: Hi Natasha,

      Thanks for your comments. And of course, you may jump in ... that's why we're here.

      I agree with much of what you say. My comments were directed specifically to Kathy who seems to have a hard time reconciling "western science" and "eastern philosophy." For example, she assumes "western science" has not studied "eastern philosophy" which is clearly nonsense. Each are human endeavours and both have been embraced, studied, rejected, integrated and/or modified by many individuals throughout our history.

      Her position seems to be that if the "rest of us" do not see the world (and describe it) using terms she is familiar with, that we do not understand the nature of reality... and that she does.

      Do I think "western science" has all the answers?


      Do I think "eastern philosophy" has all the answers?


      And as you say, I do not even see the world in terms of East and West or Science and Philosophy. However, if I am having a conversation with someone who does, those are the terms I am constrained to use.
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        Oct 16 2011: "Do I think "eastern philosophy" has all the answers?


        Actually most of eastern philosophy and religion is not about the answer but exactly the opposite. It is about a state of mind in which the question disappears and one simply experiences their being.
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          Oct 16 2011: Hi Thadeus,

          I am not saying what eastern philosophy and religion are; I am saying, I do not expect them to have all the answers.

          Also, to explain all of eastern philosophy and religion with a single sentence - It is about a state of mind in which the question disappears and one simply experiences their being - is a bit of stretch, don't you think?
        • Oct 16 2011: Thadeus,
          "Actually most of eastern philosophy and religion is not about the answer but exactly the opposite. It is about a state of mind in which the question disappears and one simply experiences their being."

          -Yes! And maybe it's possible to start from this point. It"s how "knowing" differs from "knowledge" .
          Knowing comes from insight, knowledge from asking questions and finding answers.
          Eastern tradition of knowing taps to the "whole', directly, without fracturing it ,
          it deeply colours the thinking, behaviour and attitude. It's where religions were born.,
          as the attempt through stories and tales to bring to the material world the reflection of untellable, highest truth, which can't be attained through mind, hence separation.
          And knowledge, which is the risky division of One into Many, has the virtue of materialisation, it's highly applicable and resulted in western technological wizardry.
          I don't know, does it make any sense in reference to Salim's question, what do you think?
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      Oct 16 2011: Also, to clarify an etymological point: Philosophy is not generally considered a science. It is sometimes classified as a social science, as opposed to a natural science.

      [I understand the implication of the author (Kathy) is to elevate Eastern Philosophy to the stature of Western Science, or perhaps above it, but simply implying this is so does not make it so.]

      The word "philosophy" literally means "love of wisdom."

      Of course, science has been applied to the practice of philosophy; and there is a "philosophy of science" but philosophy itself is a general term used to describe everything from the study of language and metaphysics to magic realism and neurophilosophy. Adding a modifier, "Eastern," does not alter this fact.
      • Oct 16 2011: Hi, Thomas!
        Thank you for the comments! Your confrontation with Kathy is your personal endeavor
        and sorry for "jumping in", but as for me, I am listening to both of you, avidly :)
        Thank you!
        and on your comment above:

        [I understand the implication of the author (Kathy) is to elevate Eastern Philosophy to the stature of Western Science
        , or perhaps above it, but simply implying this is so does not make it so.]
        I don't think Eastern Philosophy needs any elevation, neither Western Science does,
        and it is not the point, the point is that Philosophy and Science came from the one source and initially were not divided.
        btw. Don't you think that Western Science now is in terrible need for " love of wisdom"?
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          Oct 16 2011: Hi Natasha,

          Yes, I agree with you. Neither "eastern philosophy" nor "western science" need to be "elevated" or "denigrated." Both are what they are.

          What is "better," math or poetry?

          Neither. Unless what you want to do is to solve an equation or, say, trigger an emotion. Then one might be better applied than the other - in a particular circumstance.

          In one branch of eastern philosophy or religion there exists the concept of "enlightenment" (in others there are concepts like liberation, and so on.) It is said (in one branch of eastern philosophy) there are four different paths to enlightenment.

          Assuming there is an experience that we would interpret as enlightenment (say a sense of knowing, as you use the term), it makes sense that anyone who used one path to achieve such a state would assume their path was the only path, particularly if they didn't know about the other three.

          And, of course, in other branches of eastern philosophy the idea of "enlightenment" would be seen as a delusion and there would be other "higher" goals that we should aspire to.

          The outcome of most any "spiritual practice" occurs within the individual, some would say within an individual's brain (the left temporal lobe, for example) and the individual whose experience is, say, transcendent, might have a tendency to generalize their experience and elevate it to the ranks of "ultimate truth."

          This is a common occurrence.

          The interesting thing is that if these individuals simply watched themselves, they would (probably) notice that their "ultimate truth" of "yesterday" has been subsumed by an "greater" truth "today."

          Do I think science needs a love of wisdom? No, not really.

          Do I think scientists do? It wouldn't hurt.

          But some of us prefer knowledge to wisdom. And that goes just as much for those of us who embrace eastern philosophies as for those who embrace western science. Not all of us who are "yogis" or "yoginis" are particularly wise.

          We each get to make our own choices.
      • Oct 17 2011: Hi, Thomas!
        Thanks for the comment.
        I generally agree with what you've said and appreciate your sharing,
        but may i ask you to clarify some points?
        As far as i know, there are four stages of enlightenment, you mentioned four different paths.
        Can you elaborate?

        You said:And, of course, in other branches of eastern philosophy the idea of "enlightenment"
        would be seen as a delusion and there would be other "higher" goals that we should aspire to."

        Like what? I think, everything will come with. Who is greater than Buddha , Jesus?

        And talking about ""spiritual practice" I agree, it's individual quest, but it doesn't mean that these people, who are on the path don't do anything for the common good, on the contrary, they do a lot, seemingly doing nothing, they just influence, they make a real difference, not even by intention, it just happens.
        And , yes,"common occurrence", I don't think that those who claim for "ultimate truth" are really close to one, you know, "the real beauty is in the shadow, it doesn't recognise itself" But i believe that a true Teacher will come when, when we are ready.

        "ultimate truth" of "yesterday" has been subsumed by an "greater" truth "today."

        -"ultimate truth" is timeless.

        "Do I think science needs a love of wisdom? No, not really.

        Do I think scientists do? It wouldn't hurt."
        - I guess it would, not literally, on physical level, but it requires changing the attitude, and it's not easy.

        You are right, choices are very important, i try to "embrace eastern philosophies " and "western science'" and reach the point when they are not divided, but currently, i am in the first grade / here I'm flattering myself/ it's a long , long way to go, but I enjoy the way whatever the result, if any :)

        Thank you for help!
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha,

          Hmmmm ... you have asked a lot of questions. I don't have time now for a full response but let me say this: Sometimes we have to be literal sometimes we have to be figurative and context changes everything. Some of your questions begin in one context (what I said) and end in another (what you ask.) And sometimes you are being literal when it might be better to be figurative and vice versa.

          I'll try to be more specific later. I gotta go for now.
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha,

          You ask, "... you mentioned four different paths [to enlightenment] ... Can you elaborate?"

          Yes, I can but I am not sure it will be useful. As you know, there are many schools of thought and, while, some use similar words, they often use them in a unique ways. So what one means when they say "enlightenment" might not be what the other means.

          The four "paths" to enlightenment (mentioned in one philosophy) are: devotion, action, intellect, and scripture. There are fancy sanskrit words for them but saying them in sanskrit doesn't make them any more special or any more meaningful.

          You also ask "... what [is higher than enlightenment?]

          Not all eastern philosophies have as their goal enlightenment. Some would see pursuing enlightenment as self-indulgent and frivolous. "Buddhism" is not the only eastern philosophy - I mention several more in my post to Thadeus Frei. And "technically" Buddhists strive for Nirvana (not "quite" the same as "enlightenment.")

          I'm not sure where this question comes from - Who is greater than Buddha , Jesus? - but I am not implying anyone is great or that anyone is greater than anyone else.

          "It wouldn't hurt" is an English idiom. It means, more or less, "it's not a bad idea" it has nothing to do with physical pain (sorry, I should be more aware when posting on an international forum.)

          You say you "..enjoy the way whatever the result, if any :)" That's pretty much the whole game right there. Have fun. Enjoy yourself and be open to the possibility of ... well, anything.

          You mention a "true Teacher will come when, when we are ready." I have heard this before. I've even used a similar phrase myself. It might be true. If you're looking for a Teacher, keep an open mind and an open heart, and you will probably find one.

          Let me give you some personal advice, if a teacher asks you to "believe" in anything, or to follow "established" religious doctrine, they may not be the teacher you are looking for. A true teacher needs no doctrine.
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha,

          I just noticed I missed one of your more important points: "ultimate truth is timeless."

          I suppose this is true but the point I am making is human beings are not timeless. We are born, we live in a four-dimensional universe (some would say eleven-dimensional; others infinitely-dimensional universe) and we die.

          During the time we are here, it is common for us to assume we have "discovered" the "ultimate truth" only to "re-discover" a "more ultimate truth" as our understanding deepens. It is not the underlying "truth" that has changed it is our perception of it and, yet, we quite naturally feel that, with every new epiphany, we have embraced "ultimate truth" in its entirety.

          Now we "know."

          It would seem obvious to me that anyone who goes through this process of growth would simply abandon the concept of "ultimate" and enjoy the process of continuous discovery. But we seem to like "certainty" so we write our discovery-of-today into a concrete treatise and it becomes the religion-of-tomorrow (maybe our own personal religion but religion nonetheless.)

          We call these treatises: dogma, doctrine, laws, our personal code, and so on.

          I think one of the strengths of science is it embraces this process of constant rediscovery - it actively attempts to falsify what is believed to be true (no matter how strong the evidence appears to be.)

          Religion, on the other hand, tends to defend established doctrine and dogma (no matter how weak the evidence appears to be.)

          And that might be one reason science has spread all over the world and is embraced by most communities (with the exception of the ultra-religious.)
      • Oct 17 2011: Thanks, Thomas!
        From now ""It wouldn't hurt" is my favourite English idiom! :)
        and sorry for questioning a lot,
        thank you for your time!
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha,

          You're welcome.

          There's no need to be sorry for the questions. I'm here because I enjoy the conversations and participate in the ones I want to.
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      Oct 16 2011: HI Natasha. You may like to hear what more matured, older Einstein said about religion when you say, "The famous Albert Einstein words: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind".
      here it is: "Albert Einstein on January 3rd 1954, a year before his death. It says (as published in in many newspapers, including “The Telegraph” of UK on 13th May 2008)- “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this”. Einstein, who died the following year aged 76, did not spare Judaism from his criticism, believing Jewish people were in no way “chosen” by God. He wrote: “For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.”

      Many also site Stephen Hawking with his "Brief time of History" book. They also forget or over look what he said later about God , "Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God": http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/02/stephen-hawking-big-bang-creator
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Kathy. Nice story. Keep it up! :)
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Kathy,

          QUOTE: "Neither Einstein nor Hawkings delved beyond the story level of any holy doctrine, so to quote them with regard to God and/or religion is not only meaningless, but as ill-conceived as going to a butcher for electrical services."

          And you know this how?

          Because they don't use your nomenclature? You asked them? You read their books on science?

          It seems you feel you have the "spiritual authority" to comment on everyone's relationship to "God." Is that correct?
      • Comment deleted

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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Kathy,

          You say you know this "as someone who does have deeper comprehension of scripture, it is quite evident from their comments that they lack knowledge of same."

          So you would have no objection, I presume, if I were to use the same principle with you?

          For example, if it were as obvious to me that you lack certain knowledge as it is obvious to you that Einstein and Hawking "lack knowledge" you would have no objection if I point that out to you directly?

          Or is this something only you can do?

          You seem to think I have a negative impression of you Kathy. Why is that?

          I don't. I'm sure you are a very nice person.

          Are you so attached to your worldview you cannot separate your "self" from it. Do you think when I am talking about your worldview, I am talking about you?

          I am not talking about "you."

          For instance, when you make claims such as this: " ... when it comes to God and religion, the man [Stephen Hawking] is an ignoramus who has no business passing off his opinions with the same authority with which he speaks of physics" - which does strike me as a negative and personal attack on Mr Hawking, by the way - when I comment on it, I am commenting on what you have written not on you. However, you do seem to take offence if I suggest you might be overstating your case.

          Once again, your comments imply (not you) YOUR WORLDVIEW is the standard by which others' should be measured.

          You say, "... I do know doctrine and if someone in a position of authority as an esteemed scientist gives his OPINION about God and religion as if it, too, comes from a position of authority, I take issue with it."

          The implication is YOUR opinion about "doctrine" is, if not factual, then, at least, superior to HIS opinion about doctrine simply because you have chosen to immerse yourself deeply in ONE particular doctrine.

          Why is it you think YOUR doctrine (or the doctrine you believe in) is superior to, say, the Pope' s, Thomas Merton's, Sathya Sai Baba's, Stephen Hawking's, or mine?
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Kathy,

          The 2000 character limit makes it hard to clarify certain points. For instance, I AM talking about your WORLDVIEW not YOU but, of course, your worldview does not have agency, you do. So I do understand how you might takes things personally. I hope you will accept this as clarification that my comments are directed at what you say and to a certain extent your relationship to your ideas.
        • Oct 17 2011: Kathy,

          Quote: "Hawkins' made a bold statement in claiming God did not create the universe. Of course, he had a new book to sell and controversy sells. His authority, however, is in physics, not God or religion or holy doctrine.

          So if it's physics you wish to understand, by all means, consult Steven Hawking, because he's got a genius in his field, but when it comes to God and religion, the man is an ignoramus who has no business passing off his opinions with the same authority with which he speaks of physics.

          So no, Thomas, once again you are not correct in your consistently negative perception of me. I do not feel I have the 'spiritual authority' to comment on 'everyone's relationship to God'. But I do know doctrine and if someone in a position of authority as an esteemed scientist gives his OPINION about God and religion as if it, too, comes from a position of authority, I take issue with it."

          I think you confuse fact for personal belief regularly. A respected scientist uses evidence that stands up to a much higher scrutiny in forming his views, therefore, those views are often given much more weight than a "non-respected scientist" or regular observer. Hawkins and Einstein happen to be respected scientists and as such, their views use actual evidence their formations.

          Your beliefs are fine and I respect them and you, but I do not agree with them. In this day and age, I am surprised every time I find find an educated person who refers to the Zodiac with any form of reverence. I am okay with you believing what you believe, but to pass it off as fact is where I get hung up.

          Astrology =/= Modern Science. (I guess I don't respect all of your beliefs, but still respect your right to believe them)
      • Oct 17 2011: Jayanta,
        Thanks for your time, I appreciate it,
        It was interesting to hear how "more matured, older Einstein' dealt with this issue,
        /maybe he was in bad mood, sorry for my innocent blesphemy/ , but really it doesn't change a lot
        may i quote myself / ! :) , not to repeat how i understand the famous Einstein's expression /

        A comment on Conversation: "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." -Albert Einstein Discuss your opinions!
        Jul 17 2011: Einstein shared Spinoza's belief in "Deus sive Natura",
        he believed that Universe is alive and responsive, "Whatever is, is in god",
        as far as I know he never practiced any main- stream religion, so to avoid ambiguity ,
        don't take the term "religion" literally.
        I think by "religion" Einstein meant the sense of the the sacred in life,
        He was one who understood that "we can never grasp the totality of existence from deduction alone "

        Thank you for the link, I've heard a lot about Hawking's new statement but didn't ponder it, so i am not ready to discuss it,hopefully i will be later :)

        Thank you
        Thomas, thanks! It was a slip: )
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          Oct 17 2011: Someone made reference to "Hawkin's" statement and now it's being replicated. Just to clarify, his name is "Stephen Hawking." (Not "Hawkin.")
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Natasha.
          We, not so famous people quote Eisntein or Hawking as many people believe more on them. If I say that I realized non-existence of God at much earlier stage than both Eisntein or Hawking then people may laugh at me. But when I quote those people, then many will think, although still many may not believe their conclusions.
          I do not support the culture of quotation, (the same way I do not support the culture of reference letters while applying for jobs), but that does not make much difference to those people who do believe in quotations (or the employer who is asking for reference letters and in the position to decide).
          If you ask me personally, I will describe myself as a Hindu who does not believe in God, does not believe in re-birth or caste system (and many other such "rituals" many Hindus believe) but gives very high importance to understanding "reality" of the world with full integrity and honesty. And I have no problem to accept that as my "religion".
          If Einstein or Pope or a priest or anyone else says something that does not convince me logically, I reject it. I do not follow Einstein or a celibate priest when it comes to maintaining a family, sidelining my wife for my professional success or understanding biology.
          But many "religious" people do not think that way. Many really believe what an uneducated or semi-educated priests or clergymen say about ANY issue, about anything they know nothing about, that include science and logic.
          They cherry pick on issues that suit their purposes. So using contraceptive or any birth control mechanism or even vaccine as anti-religion; simply because "God" "does not like it" (as if God whispered to them) or that is "not mentioned in holy books" like Bible or Quran. But the same priest or other 'religious" people have no problem to accept use of many technologies or tools that are also not mentioned in those holy books or God forgot to tell about those- e.g use of gun, computer, car, internet etc.
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          Oct 17 2011: Hi Jayanta,

          I gave you a "thumb up" even though I'm a big fan of quotes (I collect them.)
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    Oct 15 2011: Hi Kathy

    I am fine to be wrong....but finding a bit difficulty with your logic .....'Eastern religion is philosophy and philosophy is science" so you mean science is religion ? Is that what you want to say ?

    Well I am not going in to that discussion as there were couple such discussions in good length here in TED cenversation and focus of discussion here also is not that point.

    What's is your thought about Western Religion ? Are not those science as well (as per your logic)? If not why ?

    Why Eastern Religion (which is science according to your obeservation) couldn't bring any scientific breakthrough then ?

    So central & fundamental question of the main premise still unanswered.........

    Note : Don't know why 'Reply" button is not working so posted my reply to Kathy's point here.
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      Oct 16 2011: [This is a response to a post made by Kathy K; her post has since been deleted.]


      This is why I find your observation to be wrong:

      Eastern religion is religion [not philosophy] and philosophy is philosophy [not science].

      Religious doctrine (beyond the 'story' level) is Religious doctrine [not science.]

      You say, "There is no separating the science from religious doctrine." [Would that be, Catholic religious doctrine; Buddhist religious doctrine; or Kathy's religious doctrine?]

      You say, "Perhaps if "science from the west" studied "philosophy of the east" with the same critical exactitude it applies towards the manifested, materialistic aspect of nature, it might advance its knowledge exponentially by realizing that the energy field is the organizing structure for that which is manifested as 'matter'."

      Perhaps you are anthropomorphising science and so creating an internal perceptual misconception that distorts your vision of reality.

      Or do you simply expect "science" to accept your worldview as absolutely true?
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    Oct 13 2011: Dear Edison, I do not agree with you. there is no "reply" button in your last post. So I am posting as general.
    I am just quoting one para from mt blog. No science, no Darwin or evolution ever supported "intelligent design" theory. I myself is a geneticist and molecular biologist and followed the "intelligent design" controversy closely.
    Many cannot stop the temptation to cite famous people, mainly famous scientists like Einstein to “prove” religion. Let me quote a letter written by no other but older, more matured Albert Einstein on January 3rd 1954, a year before his death. It says (as published in in many newspapers, including “The Telegraph” of UK on 13th May 2008)- “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this”. Einstein, who died the following year aged 76, did not spare Judaism from his criticism, believing Jewish people were in no way “chosen” by God. He wrote: “For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.”

    if you really believe in "intelligent design" theory, as propagated by the so many religious groups, then you also should read few more neutral , logical and legal views on the same topic. Probably the following Pew Research Forum website might help you.

    You also can read the full story and try to follow the logic- why “(US) Judge rules against ‘intelligent design’: ‘Religious alternative’ to evolution barred from public-school science classes”. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10545387/
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    Oct 13 2011: Hi Salim, My guess on this one is that most eastern religions appear to be inwardly directed. They are not trying to impose any way of acting upon others. It seems to me that they tend to be peaceful as well and that is a message that most people are more open to these days.
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      Oct 14 2011: Hi Debra
      Thanks for dropping by here.
      Hmmm that's answer , perception was looking for. May be your point is part of the answer.
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      Oct 14 2011: Hi Tee Cee
      Happy to see you here.
      Well I wanted to open the discussion on a very fundamental level, as your rightly pointed out.
      Now I realized because of my wording , discussion is moving more towards in different direction. That's my fault , but not editing anything to keep free flow of thoughts and discussion.

      Learnt the impact of my poor communication skill at least :)

      Have a good day.
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    Oct 12 2011: i don't think that eastern spirituality/religion spreads more to the west then western s/r to the east. i bet we find much more christians in the middle east and asia than muslims and hindus/buddhists in europe. and most of those muslims are immigrants.

    if you refer to the latest times, especially in africa, it might be true. christianity lost its momentum to spread some time ago. however, i believe it is simply because west becomes less religious, while the middle east remains mostly religious. it will change soon as progress arrives there.
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      Oct 12 2011: Krisztián,

      Christianity is an Eastern religion too.

      There was a split between what became "Eastern" and "Western" Christianity about 1000 years ago. Christ was, reportedly, born in Nazareth.

      If you think "the West" has become less religious, you probably haven't spent much time in The United States of America, or South America.
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        Oct 12 2011: you have a rather novel approach to religions.

        and a rather novel approach to percents too. number of religious people, defined by anyhow, is way lower in the US than in india, pakistan, egypt or iran.

        and you have a novel approach to the term "western" too. south america never was a part of the "west".
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          Oct 12 2011: Krisztián,

          I don't recall mentioning percentages (having glanced up I see that neither you nor I made any note of percentages.)

          I simply pointed out that Christianity is an Eastern religion; and I implied religion in "The West*" (and that would include any country in the "western hemisphere") has not declined as much as we might expect.

          Much of Europe (which we would also include in "The West") is an exception. Religion in many countries there is less pronounced now than it was in the past. Of course, there are exceptions even there.

          * From Wiki: "The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident (from Latin: occidens "sunset, west"; as contrasted with the Orient), is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe (plus Greece, Cyprus)and the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of, Northern, and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand."
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        Oct 12 2011: indeed, the term "west" includes south america. however, it does not change anything, because it was not central in my argument.

        my argument was that christianity did not come from the east. it was inherited from the roman empire. and then it travelled to the east and all other parts of the world, and quite successful at that.

        and also my argument was that the west is way less religious than the east, and that can be the reason for the recent trend, which is spiritual/religious influence of the west is falling. (if it is indeed falling, of which i'm not certain.) even the US, the last bastion of religion in the advanced world, is less religious than an average developing nation (perhaps with the exception of china).

        so congratulations, you managed to completely miss the essence of my point.
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          Oct 12 2011: Krisztián,

          Are we going to have another one of those discussions where you are so sure I am wrong that you simply have to be right.

          My comment is quite simple: Christianity is an Eastern religion. The fact that it was adopted by the West; and that you were introduced to it in the West; and that you are from the West, might alter your perception but it does not alter the fact that Christ and his disciples are from the East and that the religion was literally walked out of the region.

          Christianity was not inherited from the roman empire. It was not even adopted by Rome until Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus (c. 272 - 337) mandated it as the state religion of Rome (he also gave us the cross as a symbol of the faith.)

          QUOTE: "...congratulations, you managed to completely miss the essence of my point."

          Oh, you mean the point that the east is way more religious than the west unless we take The United States and China off the table and that the "spiritual/religious influence of the west is falling. (if it is indeed falling, of which i'm not certain.)?"

          That point?
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        Oct 12 2011: Like Thomas I also see Christianity as an Eastern Religion. Yes with the split of Christianity in west it took different form by taking more cultural elements in it but isn't the main theme same ?

        Something like Islam originating in Middle East as it spreaded over different country, with inclusion of socio cultural elements , it became different in different part while main theme remained same.

        So it happens with other religions I guess......
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          Oct 12 2011: well, if you simply define all religions eastern, than it is not a surprise that all religion comes from the east, is it? but i would like to see the rationale behind calling christianity eastern.
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          Oct 12 2011: QUOTE: "i would like to see the rationale behind calling christianity eastern."

          Well, I would think Christ and his original disciples coming from "the East" would be rationale enough. Is there another you would prefer?
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          Oct 13 2011: Hi Salim,

          When I read your original question, I had a hard time thinking of any major religion that comes from the West ... aside from those of the indigenous peoples and even those are marginal in their distribution.

          It makes sense. Religions are, to use the current phrase, memetic institutions. They exist for the primary purpose of spreading their core beliefs and influencing events.

          The cradle of civilization is the east so it stands to reason that that is where our first memes would be developed, and from where, well-adapted memes would spread.
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        Oct 13 2011: the idea that principles of christianity would originate in asia is old, unfounded and irrelevant. in that sense, all things originate in africa.
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          Oct 13 2011: QUOTE: "the idea that principles of christianity would originate in asia is old, unfounded and irrelevant. in that sense, all things originate in africa."

          Did someone say the principles of Christianity originated in Asia? Or are you using "Asia" as a synonym for "East?"

          Your arguments seem a little hard to follow ... it seems you make stuff up as you go along.

          First, South America is not the "West" ... then, indeed, it is. Then Christianity is not Eastern ... then it is irrelevant. We flip from "East" to "Asia" and so on.

          How we got Africa in here, I am not quite sure ... although some of the oldest known churches are in Ethiopia ... carved out of solid rock.

          And - on the Africa theme - not too long ago, a decade or so, an American Evangelical Christian suggested that Africans would soon be sending missionaries to America. Why? Because the African Church was growing much faster than the Churches anywhere else.

          Perhaps we should go farther back to the Big Bang?


          Just out of curiosity, where do you think the principles of Christianity originated?
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          Oct 13 2011: If you mean that Christianity is for a great part derived from the Isis culture that originated in Egypt, Africa, you're right.
          If you mean our first ancestors that moved from Africa you're talking non sense.
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      Oct 13 2011: Krisztian, I didn't say all religions are eastern, in my orgininal post it is clear that I agreed there was religions or spirituality in west as well , but finally those didn't sustain long nor those spreaded over like major religions of east. You might have reservation about the words East & West taking literal sense keeping geography in mind , here I used the word as these words are usually used which may sometime even sound like Developed & Underdeveloped (as you coined ).

      I agree with your point underdeveloped countries seem to be more into spirituality and religions compared to developed one.

      As @ Thomas mentioned that we are not talking about numbers. Even if a small portion of population of developed coutries who are indigenous to those soil (to rule out immigration factor) , what religion they are following ?

      Being Abrahamic origin Christianity is eastern one. Also the point of Thomas about original deciples looks very valid point to me.

      What's your thoughts not considering Christianity not being Eastern ?What's your thoughts about the spread of religious / spiritual thoughts of underdeveloped countries to developed countries' indigenous people even if it is in small scale (taking most are not spiritual) ?
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        Oct 13 2011: exactly not. i used the word east and west as i suspect you did, west would be the european and stuff, and east would be asia and middle east.

        but i consider the roman empire as the cradle of the european civilization. and christianity is originated in the roman empire. at that time, the entire notion of west and east just does not work, there was no west back then. and by the time the west came to life, it was already based on christian principles. more to that, by the time the middle east become the middle east as we know it, christianity was largely eliminated there. later it attempted to go back with an army, under the name crusades. but they were thrown out again.

        so in no stretch i can see christianity spreading from the east to the west.
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          Oct 13 2011: Krisztián,

          You certainly have a rather novel approach to how to establish context ... let's shift from "now" to, say, 2000 years ago in Rome and centre our discussion from that particular vantage point.

          Sure, why not?

          Even so:

          Christianity is (still) an Eastern religion (that was adopted by the West - or, from our historic vantage point, WILL BE adopted by the West.)

          Is this one of those times when it would be so much easier if we just listened to you?
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        Oct 13 2011: "Christianity DID NOT originate in the roman empire."

        ugh, eer, uhm, ... wut?
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          Oct 13 2011: It did originate in the Roman Empire but in the part of the Empire called Asia Minor
          Ideas that formed the foundation of Christianity were found over all places where Alexander the Great had gone through.
          At those same places Christianity spread out in the first centuries AD.
          It wasn't until after the fall of Rome before it was forced upon the peoples of Northern Europe.
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          Oct 13 2011: QUOTE: "Christianity DID NOT originate in the roman empire."

          Yes, you're right that was an error (and you will note I deleted it.)

          My point, poorly stated, was that Christianity did not originate in the Roman Empire per se. It originated with Christ and his followers who happened to be in the Roman empire.* I thought the point too fine to be relevant ... and, as you point out, technically it's wrong.

          * The fact that it has "picked up" any number of themes, concepts, and motifs from other religions is an interesting addendum.
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    Oct 19 2011: If you read ancient "Hindu" book (for many it is "holy" book, based on true story), Ramayana, you will notice how demons (e.g Ravana) and "lesser" important creatures (e.g Monkey army) are described. Ramayana was written by saint Valmiki, a North Indian (probably) upper caste people who (most probably) resemble Aryans (with fair skin, tall, etc etc). Monkey army was from the kingdom of Kiskindha, which is now in Southern Indian state of Karnataka (with IT capital of India, Bangalore, as its capital). It is the (generally followed) description of south Indians in the eyes of North. The same is true for Ravana (from Sri Lanka) or any other demons in that epic.
    If we critically analyse such "religious" books, you will find so many such examples which does not go well with true or perceived intention of religion.
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      Oct 18 2011: [This is a response to a large post made by Kathy K; the quotes are hers. Her comments filled 4 or 5 windows - maybe more. They have since been deleted.]

      My Goodness Kathy, You have certainly put a lot of thought into this. You do realize there is a 2000 character limit for a reason. You will forgive me if I do not get around to reading all that you have posted.

      I will address one or two points in this first window.

      QUOTE (Kathy quoting me and her reply:) "'For example, [you assume] 'western science' has not studied 'eastern philosophy' which is clearly nonsense.' ... I [Kathy] made no such assumption, nor is it what I stated."

      Yes, I suppose if we are going to get technical (and there's nothing wrong with that!) I believe what you said, Kathy, was something along the lines of "western science" has not studied "eastern philosophy" with the same "rigour" it has applied to more material matters (pun intended.) Do I really need to be so precise in my references to what you have said? Can you not "fill in the blanks?" (We do have a 2000 character limit, you know?)

      QUOTE: "This is a prime example of how you MIS-perceived what I actually stated, because you are shading it with the color of your own perspective."

      I do not think I misperceived your meaning at all; your meaning is: western science has not studied eastern philosophy to a standard (the rigour) you believe it warrants. Whether they have or not actually studied eastern philosophy with the rigour that is applied to more mundane matters seems to have escaped you (how do you know they have not ... because they do not talk about energy pendulums swinging through - not from - astrological houses in spirals?)

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      Oct 18 2011: (Cont'd)

      [This is a response to a large post made by Kathy K; the quotes are hers. Her comments filled 4 or 5 windows - maybe more. They have since been deleted.]

      QUOTE: "I do understand the 'nature of reality' ..."

      Well, I admire your confidence.

      QUOTE: " ... but never said that *you* don't or that Natasha doesn't ... only that 'Science' limits itself to the manifested and there is more to 'reality' than that which it 'tangible' or that can be 'scientifically proven'."

      Again, if we want to get technical, I suppose this is true. But when, for example, you refer to Stephen Hawking as an ignoramus because he does not understand God, and you do, the implications is quite clear: You think you understand the nature of reality (it includes God) and he does not (it does not, he says, need to include God.)

      There are many such comments you make - some directed at "science," in general, some directed at individuals (me, Hawking, Einstein, etc) and they imply you know the nature of reality and "we" do not. I do not wish to scan through your posts to find specific examples but have a look yourself, they are not that hard to find.

      I think another person has commented that you seem to elevate your belief to the realm of fact. This does seem to be the case.

      As I say, I have nothing against you personally (I don't know you) but I find no reason to accept what you say as true simply because you say it is, when, in fact, much of what you say is utter nonsense.

      If you choose to take that personally, that is your prerogative. But it is directed at what you say, not you.

      The era when we have to "respect beliefs" has waned.
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      Oct 18 2011: Oh my, I have noticed that you have continued to write while I was responding.

      Do you think you might be overreacting just a little?

      Anyway, Kathy, I am sure you are every nice person and it is wonderful that you find so much certainty and comfort in what you believe.

      I do not share your beliefs although some of what you say does have merit.

      I have no intention of reading the rest of your post.
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      Oct 16 2011: [This is a response to a post made by Kathy K - the quotes are hers. Her original post has since been deleted.]

      QUOTE: " ... my experience of reality is crystalline - (literally!) - ::smile::"

      Ah, Kathy, so you are saying reality (or your experience of it) is literally "crystalline?"

      Your "reality" certainly sounds interesting.

      QUOTE: "[My worldview] is true for *me* and it is from my personal knowledge and experience that I speak."

      This is a most excellent position to adopt.

      QUOTE: "If you have an actual argument to offer, then do so. If you are here for conversation, then by all means, converse. But for you to copy my entire post just to express your acrimony against me is wholly unwarranted, immature and churlish. ... Kindly refrain from referring to me in your comments."

      I have absolutely no acrimony for you whatsoever. And I think my arguments are quite clear. If they are not clear to you, perhaps you could ask a specific question. If I can answer it, and want to, I will do so.

      I do find some of your assertions to be a little extreme - and that you do not usually preface them with a qualifier such as "It is true for 'me'" it does make some of them sound like you believe them to be universally true.

      And I shall refer to your comments if I wish ... if you choose to take my comments about your "philosophy" personally, that is your prerogative.

      I shall disregard the comments that you have directed to me personally they seem somewhat emotional and unbecoming of an advanced being.
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      Oct 17 2011: [This is a response to a post made by Kathy K - the quote is hers. Her original post has since been deleted.]

      QUOTE: "Further, in terms of east and west, information swings like a pendulum in direct proportion to the 'masculine' and 'feminine' forces. The 'pendulum' is currently (and has, since the early 60's, when the first influences of the Aquarian Age began, has been) 'in swing' with the 'feminine force' which has resulted in the feminist movement, more women in politics, more female spiritual leaders, women gaining power -- Oprah. (lol) In men, it's been recognized exhibited by men being more in touch with their emotions, men becoming more nurturing (Mr. Mom) et cetera. Further edification available upon request. ;-)

      Considering the history of the evolution of religion as it *seemingly* traveled from east to west, it might appear as though 'religion/philosophy' comes 'from' the east, and science comes 'from' the west when in fact, it is really the same force of intelligence 'swinging' through (not from) or more apropos, 'evolving' through different lenses of the Zodiac in its equatorial precession. The movement 'seems' linear, 'appears' circular, yet *is* spiral."


      Is this the science you are comparing to Hawking's, Einstein's, and "The West's?"
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    Oct 16 2011: The term religion and science or east or west is not very helpful to understand either philosophy or quest for new, novel knowledge (later known as "science").
    Now let's think the incidence of Galileo. Someone before him "discovered" that sun moves round the earth. That person or group of people were successful to convince it to others. They were also successful to add that as religious "truth". Later when Galileo said something different, there was conflict. So someone thought about and realized that sun revolves around earth, much before Copernicus or Galileo started pondering on the same issue. Right? His observation or analysis might be wrong, but his effort was not. Is that "religious" or "scientific"?
    If you read many ancient texts, scriptures (popularly described as religious) you will understand that many are full of systemic observation and analysis of specific issues of nature, human body etc. Analysis of dream was "religious" just a few decades ago, not any more. If we visit the Sun temple in Konark in Orissa in India, one can easily understand how science (e.g astrology, architecture, climatology, even science of human sexuality) was mixed with religion and depicted all over the "religious" temple. And that is not so rare case in the world.

    Even in history of "modern" science, some biologists actually "observed" miniature adult human figure (Homunculus) in human sperm under microscope. That data was even published in a mainstream, famous research journal.

    Many here may be surprised to know that many even in this 21st century believe that "The whole scheme from Copernicanism to Big Bangism is a factless lie" http://www.fixedearth.com/).
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      Oct 17 2011: Hi Jayanta,

      I don't think many of us would be surprised to know a lot of us believe science is a lie. For instance, a significant portion of the American people believe the world is about 6000 years old. Some of us believe we reincarnate after we die (and may come back as a bug, for example.) Some of us believe God breathes the universe into existence. Others believe we go to heaven or hell and still others believe our molecules are dispersed and recycled and that's about it.

      In the meantime, life keeps on rolling along.
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      Oct 17 2011: Jayanta, just curious , you are telling that there are some publication on someone seeing adult human figure in Sperm ? Is that so ?
      Didn't they see anything in ovum?
      Sperm is just half of the Human Story...........

      Though discussion point is something else , want to hear that.... why knowledge was so divergent (whether one agree or not to call those East Vs West doesn't matter some even can say where is North & South, does not mattter) Fundametally I see scientific breakthrough & religious /. spiritual thoughts not coming from same root ..... discussion is not what is right or what is wrong .....rather why thoughts were divergent? What influenced that divergence ?
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        Oct 17 2011: It was "observed" during early development of microscope in 17th and 18th century. Few scientists observed miniature adult body in Human sperm (as it was easy to get and manageable under microscope, on a glass slide) . Check the pic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Preformation.GIF

        One of the major problems with any observation (and later analysis) based subject is- many people see what they want to see, NOT what is actually there. The same is true for "seeing" God or demons. Most of such imaginary sightings (that include UFOs) occur during 2-4 AM, at early morning. It has correlation how human brain functions; how memories, images are stored and retrieved in our brain and brain function with nutritional status of body. Most of the trans ("Bhor" in Bangla) status of human body need some pre-requisites to be fulfilled- e.g physical starvation, intense thinking about a person or incident/image, monotonous ("rhythmic") or dull surroundings and so on.
        that is true for many religious fundamentalism as well. They see what they want to see, rather than what is actually there.

        Coming to your next Qs. I think, there is NO divergence so far spirituality or "seeking truth" (you may call it "science") is concerned. Scientific breakthroughs are the consequences of free thinking, characteristics of a open society (where divergent opinions and conflicts of ideology are well accepted and openly debated with full honesty and integrity). The day "eastern" civilizations ceased to become one of such societies, it lost its ability to contribute equally to the pursuit of knowledge, seeking truth, "science".
        Western civilizations shaped "spirituality" differently, in a more tangible way, rather than in a self-defeating, vague way (as "eastern" philosophy tried to do after its encounter with "modern" religions and post-industrial colonization). That's why nature,cows and many other animals are more cared for in Western countries, as compared to "Hindu" India who condider it as "holy"
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        Oct 17 2011: Cont:
        That's why despite of having campuses of many famous Western universities (e.g Harvard medical school) & affluent "research" institutions, not many scientific breakthroughs are and will come from those Middle Eastern, Asian or African countries.

        I do acknowledge that mere having a PhD degree in a science subject or a job with "scientist" designation does NOT make anyone a Scientist. Majority are mere technicians than Scientists.

        Today's "education", even in many western countries, no longer grooms people to become a better, civilized human being. It only teaches us the art and knowledge to serve our master (employer), gather degrees (to distinguish ourselves from others) and most importantly, accumulate money by whatever means deemed necessary. It enables us to survive with a degree of personal comfort, but hardly prepares us to dream of a better world. That is equally true for science education, more so for conservative "eastern" societies (with highly feudal, hierarchical society where asking questions are not encouraged, conflicting views are not tolerated much) than more open "west".

        When knowledge and tools for seeking truth (avoiding the term "science" here) was limited, older Eastern civilizations used more theoretical and hypothetical approach. Many consider that as "religion" or "philosophy" than more practical approach by more recent "western" civilizations, when tools and techniques to seek truth were more refined and abundant.
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          Oct 17 2011: Jayanta your time spent and thoughts in this discussion is really appreciated. As you see there is no difference between two knowledges I.e. science & religion , what is /are reason/s of having different outcome?
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        Oct 17 2011: If you agree that people undertake spirituality to mentally comfort them, to soothe one’s "inner" disturbances, then you need to know what makes people comfortable. For many, logical analysis, clarity in thinking gives more comfort than uncertainty. uncertainty & illogical issues make me uncomfortable and sometimes restless. Here we shd remember the difference between "uncertainty" & "adventure".
        Mainly two types of people go/went to the East (from West) for spiritual quest. The first group is of frustrated, disillusioned (mostly) youths who failed to guide themselves in “materialistic”, market oriented Western societies. The second is more matured people seeking wisdom from different type of sources, probably in a different form as well, in the East. The first group of people gets comfort after surrendering themselves to those rituals and convincing themselves (most probably in a “mob psychology” after witnessing so many people trusting the same) that some supernatural power is in control. So they need not to worry much, as that supernatural power already has decided what is destined for them! That “surrender” gives them the mental relief. The stability gives them the direction and allows them to focus towards some activities where some of them excel.
        The other group of people excels more in their analysis, creative art/science when they witness a totally different angle of the art/science, discovering new ideas, knowing novel knowledge that was previously unknown to them. That's how many "western" scientists, poets etc got benefitted from “eastern” civilizations. The slow pace and low accountability (in materialistic terms) in Eastern societies allowed them more time to invest in personal/family affairs, which is also translated into “inner peace”.
        If you spend one hour in a calm, comfortable place to “meditate” as compared to run or drive in a busy street, what makes you feel better? Do you need any religion to make you feel better in that sense? Not really.
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        Oct 17 2011: There are two types of Gurus in any Eastern society, including India. The major type is the ones who could not get any job, hardly any meaningful education but nice talkers with excellent PR capability. They find it more attractive to do Guru-ism and cheat people, foreigner preferred as they can pay more. They very well understood that, we, general human beings, do not count how many times our horoscope correctly told our future, as compared to how many times it failed!
        The second type is the rarest, almost extinct in present day India with free-market economy. They are the one with ancient “Hindu” mentality who seek wisdom and try to guide others to have a more worthy life. They talk less about religion but preach about honesty, integrity and ability to fight for truth. One such Hindu priest was Vivekananda. His approach and view towards religion/Hinduism change a lot after his visit to US. The same can be said for many great Indian spiritual and scientific leaders, including (Asia's First Nobel laureate) Rabindra Nath Tagore. It is a both way traffic: East to West and West to East. I have no data to know how many people from East visited West and vice versa. Probably number from West to east in more, mainly due to economic prosperity.
        Such people are there in West as well, but equally aloof from common people and hustle bustle of big cities/towns. Western consumerism does not advertise them and they also do not like to be advertised (unlike the pseudo-gurus in the east). The other type is also there in the West and gets plenty of propaganda and money, many in form of “motivational speakers”.

        Just like religious gurus, It is equally hard to find a true Scientists these days, who is interested and capable to seek truth and have the courage to fight for it (than to distort and/or sale it for personal or corporate benefit). That's why over-selling of scientific findings and mediocrity is spreading and establishing in both applied and academic research these days.
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        Oct 17 2011: Hi Salim,
        Your previous message has no "reply" button. So I'm replying it here. You said, "As you see there is no difference between two knowledges I.e. science & religion , what is /are reason/s of having different outcome?"
        As I clearly indicated several times, I do not think there is different outcome. It is the same outcome when situations are the same. The difference in outcome (I presume you want to say quality or life and dependence of technology/Science vs "religion" in "east" and "west") is simply due to difference in socio-political situations and change (mainly after post-industrial revolution colonization) in those two areas.
        Now, when eastern societies are changing more towards West (accepting free market, more individual freedom, more access to freely interact with others, more access to wealth etc) the same western pattern is emerging, in spiritualism, science and associated social changes (rise in divorce rate, decrease in religious faith, courage to stand up against fundamentalism & autocracy etc).
        When we remove or reduced those socio-political factors (that govern financial policies as well), we see the same effect in our "eastern" societies as well. I can say, equilibrium is being restored. It will take time but surely is in the the process of doing so.
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          Oct 19 2011: Hi Jayanta
          East is going to west even migrating to west for better quality of life , whether it's higher income, social security , better study (mostly scientific studies) etc etc......

          People from west is not migrating to East they are just coming to get the essence of eastern spirituality...... is it "Grass is greener on the other side " syndrome?

          More over if we look in to the demoghraphics , WEST is more skewed to older population (development syndrome ?) while EAST is more skewed to younger population, so for practical reason of supply demand issue this physical migration is happening from East to west.

          West need work force to keep their economy moving , while East don't have enogh job to offer the youth force it has ..........

          What will be the impact of this movement .........will eastern spirituality bring more influenec on idegenous people of west ?
          Will eastern population will bring back science and technology what the learned in west back to their country if at all the come back home ?

          I know many don't want to agree , East West, North South, 1st Worold Third World kind of division , may be they are at the higher level of consciouness but in general term these are there .... these are visible.....these have impact as well.
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        Oct 19 2011: Salim, Your new post also does not have the "reply" button. So I am posting here.

        Yes, there will be consequences for that massive migration from East to West. In fact many consequences are already visible in western societies. Not many are positive, in any way (scientific or spiritual). Majority of those people who migrates to the West are not basically gifted in their understanding or practice of either religion or science. Overwhelmingly majority of Indian and Bangladeshis, we meet in the West are vary naive in representing their "own" social, scientific or spiritual issues. Mostly are from highly corrupt, privileged rich & feudal family backgrounds (mainly those who migrated before 90s IT boom). They mostly follow popular rituals, than understanding religion- be it Islam or Hinduism or something else. Majority are not that talented (scientifically/technically) but simply fulfilling the demand of cheap, easily exploitable trained manpower or "technical coolie" (we can discuss that in another thread).
        Majority of Muslim people migrating to the west, are trying to impose/follow the same customs for which they fled/migrated in the first place. many from the next generation of those immigrants suffer from Identity crisis. It gives a wrong impression to local people. but it also opened communication channel. That hopefully will be more valuable to exchange ideas in the future.
        Many next generation Indians (e.g Russel Peter in US/Canada or Sanjib Bhaskar's "Goodness Gracious me" in BBC TV) and Muslim immigrants made huge impact through comedy to make local people understand these "alien" or "eastern" cultures. You can check Russel Peter shows in Youtube. you may like it. But It will also help you to understand India, from a foreigner's view, simply because I can criticize India being an "Indian", but others are not (not politically correct or even allowed)! It is the same "majority" vs "minority" issue in any country.
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          Oct 21 2011: Hi Jayanta
          Yes the migration of workforce from East to West is just due to economic reason which applies for both , I mean people from East going there for better wage (not in terms of that country norm , but in terms of their home country norm , they convert each foriegn courrency into their home currency then feel that they are getting more than their home country). Most (I am sure about Bangladeshis) are doing jobs those westerns don't want to do, minorty are "Technical Coolie" (nicely coined by you, liked it ) Interestingly I found after going there they become more ritualistic than they were in home country.... why it is so ?

          May be again it's the identity crisis (in another thread I discussed this point of identity crisis of subcontinental people and their generation & my metaphore is they are like transplanted organ).

          Point is that to attract mass with something , no one need to have high level of spiritual or scientific knowledge even if they have it to attract mass they seldom need to apply that, just need a bit of showmanship........thats why thinking what could be the impact on indegenous western people with this migration.

          On the other hand due to demographic structure of west they need work force.