Why it’s sometimes better to be right than happy

I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I believed in an invisible man in the sky, but I do think that the fundamentalism that has formed around science and the neo-Darwinian idea of a random, meaningless universe is as damaging to society as a whole as organised religion has been and continues to be. Scientific materialism is a philosophy that grew out of the enlightenment and created two political philosophies that have balanced each other out and have both been found to be, not only damaging to humanity, but to the environment too. Both Capitalism and Socialism are in essence anti-spiritual and amoral.

They may adopt a certain morality and a brand of ethics when it suits them, but without a true spirituality grounded in reverence for humanity and nature, their priorities lie elsewhere. This amorality, this view that there is no meaning to life, that we are, as the quantum physicist Dr Fred Wolf says, just dead meat making sparks, is the real threat to humanity and the planet. It must be challenged. I may well be wasting my time, posting this on a blog and social networking sites instead of going out there and spreading the word and being prepared physically to challenge this worldview that I find so offensive.

But right now, all I have are my words. If those words are not enough, if those words need to be challenged, then I will be ready for that challenge. I would much rather be happy than right, if that was the choice offered to me. But I feel the choices are more complex. I do believe that we are coming close to a moment when the lies that have been perpetrated in the name of science will be challenged and the mess we have made of the world from our actions borne of a disconnection between our rational and intuitive sides will need to be cleared up by a reunion.

We cannot just blindly accept claims that cannot be proven. But no one has the right to tell each one of us that what we feel in our hearts to be true is not real just because it does not conform to other people’s world view, no matter how many insist that one goes against their own inner truth. Consensus can be reached without proof. Proof is not everything. Experientially knowing something to be true is at least as important, if not more so. We are so much more than our bodies and brains. If science cannot understand consciousness, if neo-Darwinists continue to regard consciousness as an “epiphenomenon” of evolution, a late addition to our brains, an illusion, when so many cultures around the world regard consciousness as integral to the creation and existence of the universe, an experience of knowing this to be true that can be reached in deep meditation, then why should we place such faith in a scientistic worldview with such a limited scope?

I do not have the scientific knowledge to counter the claims made by certain scientists like Richard Dawkins, but I know scientists who do. The scientist Rupert Sheldrake, who has written a book called The Science Delusion, (with a positive review in the English broadsheet, The Independent) has been ostracised from the scientific community for methodically raising these points. Richard Dawkins has refused to debate with him on a level playing field, because he knows his limited worldview will be challenged. I believe Richard Dawkins’s attack on organised religion to be crass and attention seeking, even if many of the objections he raises I find affinity with.

We need a new paradigm, but before we get there, we need to start having an open conversation. As much as I have criticised the rational side that demands proof before acceptance, I am also wary of the claims made by those who deal almost exclusively in the intuitive, spiritual realms. The very nature of this world allows any number of claims to be made by charismatic individuals and the listener, unable to make an informed choice, is often coerced into accepting claims that they do not recognise as true in their own hearts. I have found that when such charismatic individuals are challenged, they can often become very difficult to communicate with and often openly hostile, often using psychological defensive techniques like accusing their critics of “projection”.

So, these are some of the reasons why I feel the way I do whenever this ongoing debate about science v spirituality arises. I believe it to be the key to creating a better world. I feel it is the foundation and until the basis for a new paradigm is set in place and commonly agreed by the majority, anything we try to do to improve the situation for humans and all life on this planet will suffer from the same problems that have dogged us for many years now. I do believe that we can reach that consensus and I am willing to forgo my own personal happiness to reach that goal if necessary, but, of course, I want to live a life of happiness and to see a happier, healthier world.

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5 Responses to Why it’s sometimes better to be right than happy

  1. rob ward says:

    Hey! Your writing! Bloody brilliant, its what you should be doing, forget insecure disclaimer about getting out there and spreading the word, you SHOULD be writing

  2. Giulio Sica says:

    Thanks Rob. Will keep posting…

  3. ashok z says:

    Hey Giulio,

    Fantastic post. I feel like I’m reading from the same page. Like you I feel like I have a lot to say about the issues of our age, and the hijacking of reason by a materialist agenda. I too am very passionate, I think my writing kind of shoots from the hip, even as I feel like I’m doing my best to be appropriately guarded and considerate. I’m a dedicated advocate for experiential spirituality in all its forms, and when I saw your comment in the Guardian piece about Buddhism, it was like a lone voice in shrill din of loaded ‘rationality’ that’s completely blind to its own skewed agenda and view.

    That you posted under your name and outed yourself with your peers was extremely admirable, and I think it’s time for that to happen more. There are others living incognito as it were. I’ve generally kept my mouth shut myself, but have found that I just can any more given the conditions that are arising globally right now. I started a blog in Jan. You should check out Dr. Charles T. Tart at http://www.paradigm-sys.com/ with links to his blog, and also a database for Scientists who have anonymously posted about personal experiences of a Transcendental nature. Tres cool.

    I wrote A New Renaissance and the Transcendental http://thebeyondwithin.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/newrenaissance/ which tackles the same themes you write about here. A shared perspective.

    There’s so much I have to say which is informed from practice and experience, has taken me into High experiences that the mind would never have known possible, ever, and has completely changed my inner-life and existential feeling of identity. and I find when I think of the ‘who’ I’m writing to, I see this HUGE wall of confusion that suffuses just about every aspect of human life, and much of the basis for it is the pervasive belief in materialism, both consciously, but also hugely unconsciously assumed and assimilated.

    My blog has focussed on the Buddhist world quite a bit for a number of reasons, even though I’m not actually a Buddhist (well, not now with this body anyway), because it’s extremely saddening for me, I feel it as a deep ‘knowing love’ in my heart, that it’s being kind of diluted and emptied out of its deeper meaning by the western rationalist agenda, even unwittingly by wonderful and well meaning people, either by unseen complicity and meekness, or inflexibility of mind in dharmic thinking, that’s slowly draining its methods of the power to really, experientially, irreversibly breakthrough.

    Anyway, I’m still trying to find my voice, and I feel, even as I address fellow experiential practitioners, I’m not really going to be listened to all that much, but somehow I have to get it all out on record, so to speak.

    So, not sure how much you resonate with all that, but I’m outing myself now it seems, though perhaps I don’t have as much at stake as you do, and it’s really inspiring for me to see someone with a kindred cause starting to speak up, and cut through all the emptiness of materialist thought, and perhaps also the layers and layers of dross and custard in spiritual thinking as well.

    Best regards,


  4. Giulio Sica says:

    Thanks for those words of support Ashok. I look forward to reading your blog as well. It is important that as many of those who have something to say on these matters begin to speak now, as we need more than lone voices, we need those with common ideals to share their individual perspectives, all relevant, all necessary, in order to shift us into the new paradigm that we are in any case moving towards.

    Regards, Giulio

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