Spirituality and science have to work hand in hand so that spiritual consciousness and solidarity give meaning to medical evidence. Ronald Benjamin writes.
A non-dualistic freedom is vital to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Watching the morning news recently, I was puzzled to see a ceremony at the White House in the United States where people had gathered for the US president’s briefing without social distancing. What made it worse was many of the attendees were not wearing a mask.
The occasion, which involved President Donald Trump’s participation, was a typical reflection of his attitude to the pandemic. The US is the nation most affected by pandemic, followed by India and Brazil. It is no coincidence that these three nations are currently governed by right-wing nationalists with certain common notions of freedom.
Soon after, Trump was treated for Covid-19. and some of his officials and senators from the republican party were diagnosed the virus.
The question is, despite all the warning by the scientific community and medical professionals, why has the US failed in containing the pandemic? Is there a far deeper cause that the elites are ignorant about?
What we see happening in the US raises the question of the notions of freedom and science that that prominent nation holds dear. Yet it is unable to rein in this deadly virus. The lack of social distancing and the failure to comply with simple instructions like wearing a mask shows that the notion of freedom held by many Americans are problematic. It is based on rugged individualism rooted in dualistic thinking with little affinity for the common good.
The notion of the common good accepts the richness of truth and wisdom, which come from pluralistic sources.
The wave of Covid-19 that has engulfed the world should bring about a rethinking of the notion of freedom and science that has basically taken on a limited individualistic, humanistic and psychological dimension.
Freedom without a sense of the deeper reality of life where there is a core dimension of the soul that is contemplative and meek, that accepts that one does not know everything, is a dimension of freedom that is lost in the secular scientific realm as well as in the purely religious world. The egoistic concept of freedom that believes that it knows all is much prevalent in its discourse.
For example, the president’s failure to acknowledge mistakes in containing the coronavirus reveals an egoistic dimension of freedom – that he knows it all. Such an egoistic freedom has also created rivalries and war around the world. Instead of working with China to contain the coronavirus, the United States has taken the ‘exceptionalist”’ moral ground in condemning China for the spread of the virus.
By the same token, there is blind adherence among secular scientists to mere naturalistic science without understanding there is a reality beyond, which could be called the vision and purpose of creation. The essence of it can only be attained through spiritual union with God, the Universe and nature. The lack of appreciation for realities beyond the sciences has made the secular scientist a reductionist without a soul.
The framing of the coronavirus within the dualistic understanding between science and politics or science and religion has not helped in containing the coronavirus. Such dualistic thinking can be seen among American commentators who merely adopt a scientific approach with regard to Covid-19.
The Covid-19 remedy is not just about vaccines, social distancing or the wearing of masks. It requires acknowledging there is a need for a whole spectrum of purposeful spiritual human consciousness, embedded in solidarity to combat the disease. Spirituality and science have to work hand in hand, where spiritual consciousness and solidarity give meaning to medical evidence.
It is time the notion of freedom and science is seen from the larger dimension of spirituality, instead of it being an ego-centric freedom that is dualistic. A new revolutionary consciousness of freedom that discards the dualism of black-and-white thinking in the ideological spectrum of freedom and science is vital in combating the coronavirus.