Friday, July 6, 2012

Science and Spirituality: Who can dissect the soul?

 “This discussion will start World War 3.” My best friend said as we sat discussing the concept of souls. She is a spiritual person and believes in the whole idea of souls and reincarnation while I, being a believer in science don’t really accept the ideas.
Many Masters Many Lives by Brian Weiss, a psychologist takes the concept of past life and deals with it scientifically, almost. It is not proven whether the doctor was right or was he just fibbing. He is a past life regression therapist now and talks about our “spirits” for the want of a better term travelling from one plane to another. In all there are seven planes but we, as humans have still been travelling in just two, the spiritual and the physical. He says he has seen proof of the human subconscious shifting between these, of people being born again and again in this physical world of them remembering their lives and of groups of spirits being born together again and again.
Spirituality has always believed in the human soul, of an unknown entity that guides us, that is the mind in our brain, that is the human in our lifeless machine and that believes in miracles and makes them happen. To a spiritual person, reincarnation is not a bleak possibility, but the truth of life, Hinduism, Buddhism and even Christianity talks of re-births and unfinished businesses.
Psychologist, Carl Jung talks of the human subconscious as something so powerful that holds the entire history of the human race in it and that hasn’t been tapped into yet. This does make sense, our brain is a powerful organ and we have hardly understood its function. We know of the chemical and neurobiological processes and yet we fail to explain how things work more importantly, how the human brain works. It is not a set of equations that can be broken down and studied or some hypothesis that can be easily developed with time.
Conspiracy theories are abound about past life regression that say it is all a fib, maybe that is possible but sometimes, there are things which we cannot explain, we have no answer to them. A man on his deathbed, a clinically dead man walks again, a person seems so familiar to you that you think there is a connection, things of which you dreamt one night suddenly seem to happen to you and you cannot understand it. Why do Psychics still flourish in this world of cold calculations? Why do we still get our horoscopes checked and believe in miracles when everything fails? And why is it that despite everything we are taught to have a strong will power and determination when there is no scientific proof that what we think affects the actual physical working of our brain.
Or does it?
Our thoughts so powerful, that they can alter the physical and chemical composition of everything that is happening in our body? How do we explain this process? What exactly is happening inside our body that makes it undergo such changes?
Dan Brown wrote in Angels and Demons that science is too young to explain everything and for the things we don’t understand, we should just keep faith.
Human beings are machines where each part functions in coordination with the other, a well oiled well meshed machine that is so complicated that even now we don’t know what is it that makes us “us”. Maybe the answer lies in our brain. We don’t understand it and hence concoct many reasons and theories to explain the inexplicable. It is a mass of unexplored territory, for the scientist and the spiritualist. It needs answers and in the absence of which it looks for alternative theories and accepts them because believing in something beyond our control, a power greater than us keeps us humble and helps evades so many questions. A time will surely come when we will have all the answers, about our soul, past life and many such questions that have created a heated debate in the world. Maybe Science will unravel it or maybe something else would, it is our brain that needs to be answered and it is our brain that will give the answer. It is only a matter of time.


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