What is the most important thing that will happen in the 21st century? The fusion of science and spirituality. That will happen. Why? Because this world in which we live changes, develops, progresses and evolves according to a certain law: the Law of Interpenetration of Dialectic. This law, advocated by German philosopher Georg Hegel, teaches us that "things which oppose and compete with each other come to resemble each other." If this Hegelian law is correct, science and spirituality will come to resemble each other, merge with each other, and fuse into a higher and greater "something."
Then, two questions arise in our minds: how will this fusion happen? And how can we promote this fusion? The latter is especially of great importance in the 21st century because now at the beginning of this century, both science and spirituality are faced with their limitations. So I would like to propose three strategies to promote the fusion of science and spirituality.
Strategy 1: Teach Modern Science in the Religious Community (Natural Sciences Approach)
When we learn the latest findings in the forefront of modern science, a sense of wonder naturally comes to our mind. For instance, according to the latest scientific knowledge, this universe was created from a "quantum vacuum" 13.7 billion years ago. At the beginning, the quantum vacuum created a countless number of bubbles that are called "baby universes." And most of the baby universes disappeared shortly after their birth. But among those countless baby universes, the universe in which we live has miraculously survived. A sense of wonder naturally comes to our minds when we learn this scientific fact about the creation of the universe, and this sense of wonder is indispensable for a religious mind and spirituality. Therefore, teaching the latest science is one of the best ways for people to gain a religious mind and spirituality in today's world.
Strategy 2: Deepen Modern Psychology Through the Wisdom of Traditional Religions and Spirituality (Human Sciences Approach)
The most important question for the science of psychology in the 21st century is "Who am I?" To answer this profound question, we need to explore the depths of our mind, especially the world of the subconsciousness advocated by Sigmund Freud, and the world of the collective subconsciousness advocated by by Carl Jung. But the wisdom of traditional religions and spirituality has already been exploring such worlds for the past several thousand years. For instance, Buddhism has been exploring the world of the collective subconscious through the notions of manas-vijñāna (the seventh consciousness) and ālaya-vijñāna (the eighth consciousness) for several thousand years. So, we need to deepen modern psychology through the vast wisdom of traditional religions and spirituality fostered throughout its long history.
Then, one important question arises in our minds: Where can we find and observe the world of the collective subconscious? In the Internet communities. If we look into the Internet communities, we can see and feel the world of the collective subconscious of people. Also, in the Internet communities, we can express different aspects of ourselves, multiple personalities, by using "avatars" or being anonymous. And this is one good way to find the answer to the deep question, "Who am I?"
Strategy 3: Create a New Economic Principle by Combining the Internet Revolution and the Wisdom of Compassion in Traditional Religions and Spirituality (Social Sciences Approach)
Modern capitalism has been based upon "monetary economy," which refers to economic activities of people motivated by acquiring money. That is the reason why modern capitalism tends to stimulate the greedy mind of people, and tends to become so-called "greedy capitalism." But the Internet revolution that started in 1995 has been reviving an old economic principle called "gift economy" or "voluntary economy," which refers to economic activities of people motivated by satisfying the mind, through, for instance, affection and compassion for other people. So, if we combine the Internet revolution, modern economic science, and the wisdom of compassion in traditional religions and spirituality, we will be able to create a "compassion capitalism" in the 21st century.
These are the three strategies that I propose in order to promote the fusion of science and spirituality. And this is not just a vision or strategies for the future; this is a movement that is already starting to happen in the world.
An invited contribution to the Ervin Laszlo Forum on Science and Spirituality.