The Ongoing Battle Against So-Called ‘Science’
This is a return to a familiar theme of mine, that there is meaning to human life, and indeed the universe¹.
I recently came across a quote from Yuval Noah Harari in a Medium article by Gereon Wellman²: “As far as we can tell from a purely scientific viewpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning. Humans are the outcome of blind evolutionary processes that operate without goal or purpose. Our actions are not part of some divine cosmic plan, and if planet earth were to blow up tomorrow morning, the universe would probably keep going about its business as usual. As far as we can tell at this point, human subjectivity would not be missed. Hence any meaning that people inscribe to their lives is just a delusion.”
The article was entitled ‘Yuval Noah Harari’s 30 Brutal Life Lessons To Improve Your Way of Thinking’. The key word here is brutal. We frequently encounter this message in modern literature, that we humans have to heroically face up to the unpleasant truth that we live in a godless, meaningless universe. If we believe otherwise, then we are succumbing to delusions in order to comfort ourselves by refusing to accept this unpleasant truth.
Harari is a well known figure, the author of the best-selling books: Sapiens, Homo Deus, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. He is also an advisor to the World Economic Forum. There is no doubt therefore that he is an influential figure. Do we really want people with such beliefs running the world on our behalf?
The title of the second book, translated as ‘Man God’ is especially alarming. This is one of the fundamental creeds of the ‘religion’ of Humanism, that in the absence of a transcendent God, humanity can elevate itself to quasi-divine status. There is no point arguing with such people, but this is a hubristic, dangerous inflation.
Soon after reading that article, I came across an earlier one by Andrew Tanner who said: “When I was still wasting my life in academia, my research brought me to a startling conclusion: the misbegotten ideology of Liberalism is fundamentally self-destructive. To work, it relies on educating everyone in a certain way, training people to believe a particular set of myths about reality masquerading as ‘objective’ science”.
It seems that this sums up very accurately the problems with the Harari quote. He tries to persuade the reader that his viewpoint is ‘purely scientific’, whereas it is merely a philosophical viewpoint. The neo-Darwinian belief that humans are the outcome of blind evolutionary processes that operate without goal or purpose is indeed such a myth masquerading as science. The best that one could say about such a statement is that, if pure science leads us to such a viewpoint, then this merely demonstrates how limited and ignorant science is, when attempting to deal with the big questions of life.
We spiritually oriented people are in a constant battle against these supposedly ‘scientific’ delusions. When humans elevate themselves to the status of gods, it is not hard to foresee the possible consequences.
I’ve recently been reading Michael Meade’s Fate and Destiny. Both those words suggest meaning to human life, and he seems to be someone who truly understands. Here’s a taster:
There is an “eternal thread and fine filament of golden imagination that makes each life unique, inherently noble, and meaningful from the beginning. This indelible thread involves the measure and inner shape of our lives; yet it cannot be measured even by the finest instruments. It cannot be found through scientific experiment or be proven to exist in logical ways. Yet it is there, woven deeply within us and felt in fateful moments and at critical turning points in life. Without a sense of fate, life seems more random and accidental and we tend to feel less purposeful, less convinced that our souls could be leading us somewhere… In moments of awakening we can feel its subtle presence and learn how we are woven within and mysteriously entangled with the life-threads of others and with the living skein of life”.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics and astrology. All these articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here). All but the most recent can be found there.