To reject reality because it is not found in the map is absurdity
Suppose a person uses a map to travel to a friend’s house. At each step during the journey, suppose the map guides them well, and their faith in it increases more and more. Finally when they reach their friend’s house and see him, they check their map, don’t find him there and declare, “You don’t exist.” Their friend would be right to retort, “Your intelligence doesn’t exist – the map is not meant to show people. It doesn’t show all of reality.”
Science acts like a map for navigating material reality. The scientific picture of nature enables us to reliably do things such as getting from one place to another. Being enamored with science’s operational abilities, some people deem it the only reliable source of knowledge about everything. Thus, they become believers of scientism.
What’s wrong with scientism? It misrepresents science. Mainstream science doesn’t show all of reality because it operates on the premise of methodological naturalism. That is, it looks for material explanations for material phenomena while saying nothing about any nonmaterial factors. In principle, the map of naturalist science isn’t meant to depict nonmaterial realities such as consciousness.
The irreducible experiential dimension of consciousness baffles believers of scientism. So, they deny consciousness’ existence by deeming its locus – our sense of self – a neurochemical illusion. But only because they have consciousness can they say anything about it, either its existence or non-existence. Only because consciousness is real can they claim that it’s not real. Absurdly self-contradictory, isn’t it?
The Bhagavad-gita (16.09) indicates that people destroy their soul because of buying into a fanatically materialistic worldview (16.08). If instead we study the Gita’s wisdom, we can intellectually grasp the reality of the soul and gradually by the practice of yoga realize it to be our essence.
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