What was science and what is it now?

This sounds like a simple question, but people can come up with quite a few different answers!

And many people don't feel comfortable with how science is represented today. They feel it's been made difficult to understand, reserved for specialists and inaccessible to the ‘average’ person. Many people are also concerned that science is becoming increasingly corrupted by vested interests looking for specific outcomes.

What is it that doesn't make sense to you about science? What have you been presented with in science at school, university or now in the media, that leaves you feeling that a lot is mysterious or missing or just not right in some way?

What does the word 'science' even really mean? And is modern science true to that meaning?

Let's have a look at the meaning of 'science' according to the dictionaries:

In the old Proto-Indo-European language from 3,500 BC it meant 'to cut or to split.' This relates to Greek, Gothic and Old English meanings of 'dividing and separating'.

By the 12th century in Latin, the meaning had become cutting, dividing and separating things to 'distinguish one thing from another', which later morphed into 'knowledge, a knowing, to know', 'expertness', 'intelligent and skilled'.

By the mid 14th century from Old French the 'cut and separate' origins had fallen away and 'science' now meant 'what is known, knowledge acquired by study; information', 'certainty of knowing', and the 'body of human knowledge'.

In the modern era it has further focused down to using study, observation and experimentation to acquire knowledge of physical or material facts that show the operation of general laws, and then systematically ordering the obtained information. This pretty much sums up our science of today.

In these changing meanings there seem to be two interwoven threads in our historical approach to science: - one is the cutting, separating, analytical method that reduces things to bits to find out about them, and - one is a natural human knowing, a certainty that does not require destruction to find out about things.

What if modern science has increasingly gone down the track of acquiring knowledge by actively cutting, splitting, separating and dividing things, but left out the whole other track of the 'certainty of knowing'? In laboratories we're always cutting things up, like rats and guinea pigs; splitting things apart like atoms; separating things like chemicals and genes; dividing things by classifying them, eg. people, species, rocks…. All this activity generates gazillions of tons of information, but how has it supported us to establish a 'certainty of knowing' and the natural laws we are part of and surrounded by?

And what would that 'certainty of knowing' be?

We've been taught that you have to be smart, have an amazing memory, study hard etc. to be able to know and be any kind of expert in science. But every day the experts are being proven wrong. What we think we know in science keeps changing. So how can that be truth or 'certainty of knowing'? Do you feel there is a big chunk of the picture missing in science that we haven't been told about – the chunk that does not involve actively separating things?

What if this chunk is the natural inner knowing we had, but through our schooling were made to feel that we don't know and we're not good enough to know?

Have scientists still got that inner 'certainty of knowing’ too, even if it looks like they have to spend all their time and mental effort on splitting, cutting, dividing and separating things to get the information that we call 'knowledge'?

It was said by Alice A. Bailey that 'science is the handmaiden of wisdom‘. A handmaiden is a helper or assistant. Wisdom is knowing what is true, and having the ability to judge what are optimum thoughts and actions based on understanding of life, experience, common sense, discernment, insight and knowledge. So wisdom is definitely greater than knowledge alone.

Could it be that the modern science of actively experimenting on things to gain informational knowledge is truly only a helper of the far greater kind of knowing that is wisdom?

And is not wisdom something that anyone can develop and find within themselves, even if they don't 'do' modern science?

How about some of the famous scientists of history who were also considered to be wise, like Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, amongst other household names?

What wise things did they say that wasn't about splitting, separating and cutting to get lots of information? And why didn't we learn about the 'other side' of these scientists in school? Well let's have a look at that….

Isaac Newton said in his landmark work “Principia”:

“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

In a letter to Dr Richard Bentley regarding gravity and the positional relationship of the Sun and planets, Newton says:

“…this frame of things could not always subsist without a divine power to conserve it.”

Albert Einstein said:

“That deeply felt conviction about a superior rationality which manifests itself in the perceptible world forms my concept of God…”

“It is certain that a passionate conviction, related to the religious sense, about the rationality or intelligibility of the world lies at the basis of all more refined scientific work.”

Could it be that what's missing in modern science is that it's no longer being built on the foundation of God and the inner ‘certainty of knowing’ and wisdom that comes from connection with God? Like baubles and tinsel without the Christmas tree?

What would science be like if this missing foundation were added back in?

Could our inner knowing fill the gap and correct the not-rightness and obsession with intellect that we have been sensing in modern science? Could modern science re-expand to include all of what it originally was – all of us and all of our knowing? And is it possible that science will inevitably return to the foundation of the knowingness of God, because in truth science is all about truth, and it cannot stay away from its own essence indefinitely?

Some people are beginning to feel that this is possible.

One student expressed her realization that living from love and presence allows the true science to come to us without us having to push to ‘get to’ it. She felt that just by being our true selves, the science within can be accessed and understood. Then from there all can be understood, and the proper role of modern science can be restored.

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  • By Dianne Trussell, BSc(Hons); 17 years in medical and biological research, co-author of 12 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

    Science is the love of my life, and for me it confirms Divine beauty, intelligence, and wisdom. I’ve always felt science to be one with philosophy, religion, art, and music, part of the oneness I feel with everything.

  • Photography: Leonne Sharkey, Bachelor of Communications

    For Leonne photography is about relationships, reflection and light. She is constantly amazed by the way a photo can show us all we need to know.