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What is the role of science in spirituality, spirituality in science, and the role of both in our world today?

Science is said to be the process of looking outside and observing the world in order to learn more about it, and in doing so, use it to our benefit. Spirituality is said to be process of looking inside, and in doing so, learning more about ourselves individually, and also the essence of who we are as a collective whole. Both play a deep and important role in our lives, each and every day.

(To make an important distinction, spirituality is not the same as religion. Most religions have spiritual characteristics to them, but spirituality and religion are still separate entities. Spirituality is the exploration and discovery of life's truths through one's own exploration of himself or herself. Spirituality is one's connection to the consciousness or energy that lies at their very essence and gives life to a person.)

Yet so far both have been mutually exclusive in study and application. If you look closely, you find that spirituality without a scientific basis is unfounded. Without a scientific methodology, we will be hard pressed to separate experiences that are truly grounded in spirituality and experiences that are simply grounded in someone's conditioning and cultural belief blueprint. Likewise, without a spiritual basis, science can easily become irrelevant. What is the point of observing and learning so much about the outer world if we cannot relate it to our inner experience?

So what is the role of spirituality in science, and science in spirituality. Most importantly, what is the role of both in our daily lives?

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  • Dec 10 2011: I believe that science encompasses your description of spirituality. Through understanding the inner workings of the brain we will be able to pursue "the exploration and discovery of life's truths through one's own exploration of himself or herself" at a much more founded level. The deliberate, intentional, slow thinking part of the brain (better known as 'self') has the most confidence for answers grounded in rationality. In principle, if one were to learn through science the nature of consciousness; how our brains generate a world map, how an object evokes a flurry of semantic associations, how some of those associations reach awareness, what the origin of our emotional responses and behavioral tendencies are, etc., then one would have a sense of self liberated from the easy answers of spiritual thinking.

    Science has the potential to enable a much more confident understanding of ourselves than introspective, existential pondering can. But until neuroscience catches up with our heuristic notions about the nature of ourselves, one may have a greater sense of well-being embracing their 'spirituality'. But science is our best attempt at finding true answers in this universe and once we begin to uncover profound questions that are at the core of spirituality, it'll be difficult to regress.
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      Dec 10 2011: The brain isn't thinking. The brain calculates. That's what we call rational. Thoughts are popping up and mostly because of associations derived from comparing sensory data with memory. More than 99 percent of all brain activity is subconscious and from that activity some information surfaces what we call thoughts.

      The mind is a tool to be able to accuratly respond to the environment in serving the survival of the body.
      Brains are for the most part evolved to run our movements.
      http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains.html
      • Dec 10 2011: Okay. Awesome and seemingly sound, random tangent and link. But you seem to be confusing the fact that within the brain is a mind that thinks. So technically the brain thinks. Sorry for bursting the bubble on the (unnecessary?) semantic dispute that didn't even seem to have anything to do with what I was trying to say. Ironically, though, I was referring to consciousness when I mentioned thinking.

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