It is peculiar at this present time, how polarized and unbalanced human thinking has become. In the quest to take sides, either for mysticism (eastern thought) or for western thought (materialism) there is a dangerous imbalance that is seen. This shift toward materialism is no doubt an expression of the decline in human thinking and priorities, brought about by advancement of the physical sciences.
Recommended video: Carl Sagan on Indian Myths
As the physical sciences have progressed, increasing the availability of comforts for many and the dream of those comforts for many more, humans have started to think that physical comforts are the most important thing there can be in human life. By removing all consideration of God or a Creator from thinking, humans of the present day are intent on considering themselves as Gods. As Carl Sagan says in the recorded video (paraphrasing): “either the cosmos and mankind is a dream of the Gods, or Gods are the dream of man”. Such a freedom to dream, and we are no doubt constructing our own reality of what, or who God is. Since we clearly see humans as the greatest there is in the physical creation, we are foolishly inclined to see ourselves as a god – one of many gods to be sure.
However, there is only one true God. The only true God who, with the passage of time has granted man to have the freedom to pursue Him, and seek to find Him in diverse systems of belief. What we find, not so surprisingly is a reflection of our own desires. In this life, if a human really is given freedom to pursue truth, I am sure he would not conclude by himself that there is no God, no Creator. To be living in an environment in different places around the world, finding faith in a Creator as unreasonable and impossible – a consequence of the limitless information we have access to – this is a sad reality to be a part of.
The truth is: we humans want God to come down our level, conform to our wishes and desires, and if He does not, then we are prompt to reject even His existence. The example of what Carl Sagan says is just that, an example. It opens the possibility of finding harmony between science and religion. Science could be the instrument to find material truths about what religion speaks of. Beyond that humans, science, our mind, and our lifetime are all limited. And within the limits of this lifetime, if we hope to master everything and know all there is to know…it is the ultimate in arrogance and stupidity. Modesty is a sign of wisdom, and a cause of it as well.
Science could be the instrument to find material truths about what religion speaks of.
Our pride has brought us to the edge
There is a lot to say about human pride. Pride is a cause for extraordinary achievements. It is also the cause of any great downfall. Extremism in thinking, based on the belief that one has come to attain the ultimate in knowledge and understanding, is a terrible form of pride. Such extremism has bred anger, an unwillingness to listen, and also a concealment of inner insecurity. Truth – if it really has been found – should be the greatest cause of peace; it should be the end of insecurity. On the contrary, we find that those who claim to be attainers and custodians of truth are some of the most insecure people. They are fearfully anxious about the fragility of truth. What is that truth worth, if it steals the very peace of a human mind?
On the other hand, I like the attitude and words as can be seen in Carl Sagan. He is speaking down or speaking up of any one way of looking at matters. He is willing to concede that, our understanding has limits, even if our knowledge may have expanded far beyond any time in history. His words are devoid of pride. Rather, he sounds most willing to continue learning and exploring, without ever coming to a full understanding of reality. Such a man is willing to look into possibilities, even if those possibilities may be contrary to expectations. We need more people to think like that. We need people to have such humility. Otherwise, mankind is like a beautiful, powerful car that will speed over the edge. Once it hits the ground, the pretty paint won’t save it!