Science is the study of matter, spirituality is the study of what matters
We live in an age of science and technology. Technological advancement has increased enormously our knowledge of the world around us, especially our knowledge to reshape that world according to our wishes.
While such knowledge can be empowering, it can also be blinding. Why blinding? Because science and technology focus on the study of matter: the study of how the material objects in the outer world interact. But more important than the study of matter is the study of what matters: what is truly important for us, what brings meaning and fulfillment to our life.
Unfortunately, we often get obsessed with technology, especially with the associated allurements of ever-faster devices. Amidst such obsession, we often forget whether technology is providing us what truly matters. The Bhagavad-gita (18.22) declares as ignorance inducing that knowledge which makes us obsessed with one slice of reality.
While Arjuna had sophisticated knowledge of weapons – of matter – that knowledge didn’t protect him from utter confusion when confronted with life’s inevitable dilemmas (02.06). Only when the Gita provided him the knowledge of what matters could he become calm enough to use his knowledge of matter effectively (18.73).
Despite all our technological knowledge, we too are experiencing enormous distraction and disorientation. Indeed, such problems seem to be increasing with technological advancement. For example, the more we get hooked to social media, which is created and extended by technology, the more we become alienated from pursuing those things that bring fulfillment into our life.
To address such problems, we need to begin by setting our priorities straight, putting the knowledge of what matters before the knowledge of matter. Just as the Gita helped Arjuna to focus on the things that matter, it stands ready to help us too.
Think it over:
- How can knowledge of technology be blinding?
- How is technological advancement increasing our distraction?
- What can you do to prioritize the knowledge of what matters above the knowledge of matter?
18.22 And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness.
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