What are occult and logical spiritual things

Science in criticism, esotericism and occultism in high - the fatal logic of a zeitgeist

Boundaries in today's sciences

When it comes to deep knowledge or meaningful insights, a successful way of life or even general wisdom, the natural sciences seem to have a rather difficult position in the public perception. Many people who are looking for deep knowledge, scholarship, insight into the mysterious world or even just joie de vivre are more likely to rummage through books about eastern wisdom or western esotericism than reading a textbook on physics or biology. They then prefer to read “The Tao of Physics” than “The Physics”, prefer to deal with quantum-philosophically founded spirituality or quantum healing than with the statements of quantum physics itself. Many people applaud (with good reason) when spiritual teachers say that the goal of a fulfilled life is to reduce human suffering, find joy, and grasp the nature of our minds. At the same time, however, the remark that science has had similar goals since its inception - and, depending on the point of view, has achieved far more significant things, leads most contemporaries at best to a weary shrug, but often to violent contradiction to the point of being accused of ignorance in view of all the global problems that science has caused. Or he or she is even referred to as a disdainful materialist who now wants to expose the sphere of the highest intellectual knowledge to the cold of scientific rationality. In the political spectrum, too, it is often difficult for science. Right-wing populist politicians in particular, such as the Zurich SVP politician Roger Köppel, have recognized that it is more worthwhile to rely on ideological systems of belief than on scientific rationality - which he describes as a “fashion movement” of “drunk people”, among other things, the climate change recorded by scientists leaves.

One has to ask why science is in such a difficult position for many people today. Has she perhaps become a victim of her own success? Do people take the successes of the sciences as a matter of course, but point a finger at them where they have not yet achieved perfect knowledge (and almost nowhere has that knowledge)? Sometimes the scientific masterpiece of an incredibly fast development and production of a corona vaccine is taken for granted that borders on indifference with regard to the performance of genetic and medical researchers. Perhaps one should imagine the excruciating pain of treating a tooth root infection that people suffered in the 13th century to properly appreciate how much science has improved our lives. And who can still be impressed today with the "animal magnetism" with which the esoteric Franz Anton Mesmer achieved astonishment and devotion in an immense number of people in the 18th century using simple electrical and magnetic phenomena? Or just imagine that there are no vaccines against Covid-19 in sight.

Considerations like this let us see: In material and everyday life our world is shaped by scientific and technological progress like no other force. In spiritual, intellectual and emotional terms, however, the power of science comes up with something completely different: with the loss of the comfort zone of absolute certainties. As a result of the scientific method, scientific "truths" always come with the possibility of their own falsehood. Scientific findings are not dogmas, they are rather constantly on the test bench, for example through experiments and rational discourse; They can then - depending on the facts - be discarded and reformulated at any time. This is not a weakness, but, as Galileo recognized, the greatest strength of the sciences. But it is paradoxical: the more knowledge we gain, the less we could hope that there would be an ultimate truth. So the price for our increase in knowledge is high: We now have nothing to hold onto forever and ever.

But this causes great difficulties for most people. Therefore, there is a fascination with esoteric and spiritual thought structures that they promise to put us humans in a position to get access to a complete knowledge about the world and our life, that there is a knowledge (or belief) system that has all the answers about us humans and the world we live in. This is an enormous promise, which has a fascinating effect on many people who are not prepared to take the arduous path of science through uncertainties, criticism and a lot of setbacks, who rather want nothing more than that (according to Max Weber) "through scientific rationality disenchanted worldview "to refill spiritually. Last but not least, have the philosophers been speaking of the “absolute” (spirit, knowledge, being, etc.) for centuries and millennia?

Scientific knowledge is often used (misused) to support esoteric worldviews. So the list of assurances and promises that come with the prefix “quantum” - “quantum healing”, “quantum resonance”, “quantum consciousness” - is growing steadily, more recently also “quantum economy”. Through the connection of quantum physics and spirituality one hopes for miracle healings, perfect love relationships up to the capture of the last secrets. The phenomenon of entanglement serves as the intellectual godfather of quantum mysticism: "Quantum particles that are far apart can be physically connected (entangled) with one another." This then becomes: "Everything is related to everything". Such sentences make the mystic-hungry hearts of esotericists beat faster.

Most people are overwhelmed by a declaration of renunciation of absolute truths and areas of refuge in the substantive. One likes to rely on clear truths, clear spiritual foundations and immovable principles. What used to be God is today the absolute spirit, a substantial basic structure, immovable laws of nature, absolute certainties, and last but not least also ever-valid economic, social or historical laws, a nation with certain birthrights, a society in which “everyone has his place has “, a permanent job for life and many other things. Where such certainties are lost, uncertainty arises. It was no different in the 1920s and 1930s than it is today. Then spiritual, political, social, religious and philosophical simplifiers and populists fill the vacuum left by the loss of old certainties with their own falsehoods and lies. Mechanisms of self-deception and self-lying are as powerful as they are known. Immanuel Kant already spoke of the "inner lie" over 200 years ago and describes it as "dishonesty towards oneself". It is easier, as he writes, to “pretend to be a blue haze” than to admit the contradiction between moral standards and one's own thoughts and actions. Kant speaks here of the “lazy spot of our species”.

The joy of capturing the mysterious and knowing the reasons for existence in the world is hardly anywhere else as great as in science. It satisfies our all-too-human curiosity in a deeply exhilarating way. Scientific knowledge allows us deep (even if never final) insights into the nature of things or that of our minds and last but not least into the deepest of all questions, which the English naturalist Henry Huxley formulated as follows in 1863: “The question of all questions - the problem which underlies all the rest and which is of greater interest than any other, is the determination of the position which man occupies in nature and his relationship to the totality of all things. "

But spirituality is also of enormous importance today, albeit far removed from esoteric and occultism. Due to increasing digitization, nano and quantum technologization, neurologization, biologization and other '-sizations' together with their technological possibilities, we as mankind will experience a historical upheaval that will affect our self-image, as well as our meaning and Understanding of existence soon changed massively. When it comes to questions of genetic manipulation, stem cell research, artificial intelligence, virtual reality or the creation of synthetic life (to name just a few developments), today many non-religious people in modern biology and information sciences also see current variants of Goethe's sorcerer's apprentice Plant. We are therefore increasingly perceiving the challenges of our modern world as crises and desperately asking for coherent global ethical reactions to things such as environmental degradation, climate change, overpopulation, food shortages, economic crises and nuclear threats, all problems that can hardly be dealt with exclusively in a scientific discourse framework , but need larger, even spiritual references.

This becomes all the more important as the new powerful and breathtaking technologies could also fundamentally change humans themselves, their biology, their identity and their consciousness. In view of this, there will probably be a moment in the not too distant future when the rules of the game of human life and coexistence could fundamentally change. Are we prepared for it? Here we need a spirituality that is not against but alongside science. Because spirituality also includes experiences or ideas through which one feels belonging to a larger whole and can therefore open up a deeper spiritual dimension of being human and show us the way to a more comprehensive, meaningful understanding of our existence in this world. It also includes values ​​such as love, compassion, empathy, morality, intuition and meditative insights - and, last but not least, a question that the great physicist Richard Feynman formulated in a simplicity and clarity that is so typical for him: “What is the meaning of it all? "

With the emerging scientific and technological developments, spirituality is of great importance, especially from an ethical point of view, if we as a social collective do not want to see ourselves fail in the spiritual and intellectual challenges associated with these developments. Therefore, quite a few people expect that in answering important questions about the future and in the discussion about the design of upcoming technologies, spiritual thinking must play an important role, namely in the sense of a responsibility for intellectual and ethical integrity.

It must therefore be a matter of grasping the mutual importance of both science and spirituality for the benefit of our human existence and, with their help, to show the essential features of a humane and ethically coherent worldview. It is about two kinds of spiritual motivation in the form of inner clarity in the ethical orientation and the pursuit of truth and rational, i.e. scientific thinking. Contrary to popular beliefs that connect spirituality with occultism or obscurantism, a suitable spirituality enables us to be more rational and honest in our thoughts and actions. It becomes something like an inner compass that gives our mind an inner order and orientation that lead us to an autonomy with which we can focus on the essentials. In the ethical appraisal of scientific creation and spiritual thought, however we turn it, we encounter one of the two common dimensions that are of enormous importance for our future. It might depend on them.

Born in 1969, I studied physics and philosophy at the University of Bonn and the École Polytechnique in Paris in the 1990s, before I did my doctorate in theoretical physics at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, where I also did my post- Doc studies did further research in the field of nonlinear dynamics. Before that, I had also worked in the field of quantum field theories and particle physics. Meanwhile, I've been living in Switzerland for almost 20 years. For many years I have dealt with border issues of modern (as well as historical) sciences. In my books, blogs, and articles, I focus on the subjects of science, philosophy, and spirituality, especially the history of science, its relationship to spiritual traditions, and its impact on modern society. In the past I have also written on investment topics (alternative investments). My two books “Naturwissenschaft: Eine Biographie” and “Wissenschaft und Spiritualität” were published by Springer Spektrum Verlag in 2015 and 2016. I have been running my blog since 2014 at www.larsjaeger.ch.