Science, of course, is a vast subject. The resource material included under these three headings is material that, in our opinion, is particularly pertinent to green spirituality. (Cosmology and evolution, which are also scientific topics, are so central to GreenSpirit thinking that they have been given their own section).
Our world view is being constantly challenged by the mutual interest and coalescence of what used to be science and spirituality. Of course, this “split” is of recent origin. There cannot be one overall definition which adequately describes what is “spiritual” and what is not. Similarly, modern science is now seriously re-thinking traditional beliefs as to what is and what is not “alive.” Fundamentally, what we are seeing is the re-invention of just what science can be about.
In the words of Axel A. Randrup:
Twenty years ago I read about an Australian medicine man whose soul travelled to the center of the earth, where in a bright cave he saw the two Ungud serpents, the fundamental creative force of life and the earth, and I still remember, how I immediately conceived the reading of this story as a peak of my scientific career. Not for a moment did it occur to me that the language and background of the medicine man, so different from my own, were of any importance for the relevance of his spiritual experience to my own vision of scientific research: a striving to see (understand) the most important features of life and nature.
“Spiritual” is not a well-defined term, but study of the literature shows that a number of knowledgeable authors have developed the opinion that a spiritual essence exists and can be understood cross-culturally. This view with its philosophical ramifications is often called the “Perennial Philosophy”. Other authors, also knowledgeable, believe that the cultural differences are more fundamental, but all seem to agree that every mystic or spiritual person expresses or has expressed him/herself in the language and general frame of reference of his/her own culture.
In the sessions of the Spirituality group in the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) we have had several valuable inputs from non-Western cultures (Japanese, Indian, American Indian, Aboriginal Australian etc.), but for those of us who are rooted in Western scientific culture it seems that we will obtain our best chance for communicating about spirituality by expressing ourselves on the background of our familiar scientific attitude. A better understanding of both similarities and differences among the cultures may then become possible.
Here it must be recalled, however, that during its relatively short history modern science has undergone several fundamental changes, called paradigmatic shifts in the literature on the philosophy of science. I find that the advent of modern systems science constitutes such a paradigmatic shift, and one which is important for the communication about spirituality. Thus a spiritual experience is often said to have a strong feature of unity, an intuition that everything is connected with everything. This general idea can also be expressed and understood in systems science, but not so readily in old fashioned science with its focus on one cause – one effect. Systems science does not replace or even describe the spiritual experience, but I think, it can give a correspondence with spirituality in words or mathematics which is helpful in our attempts to communicate and perhaps obtain inter-subjective agreement.”
(from Axel A. Randrup http://cogprints.org/2680/1/spiritualitysystems.html)