It is common thought that science and spirituality live at the antipodes. Science is seen as a discipline capable of measuring phenomena and spirituality is instead linked to feeling, which is not measurable but can be experienced. In life the two planes are integrated. For example, we can measure the weight and height of a physical body, but we cannot measure a feeling or a sensation, which we are nevertheless able to experience.
More and more scientific theories, among which the quantum physics, approach the definite sphere of spirituality. On the quantum level, nothing is seen as separate anymore, on the contrary, everything is considered interconnected at the level of energy fields. Although there are scientists on the one hand and people who have developed a deep spirituality on the other who are open to one integrated view of the two dimensions, acceptance of this approach is not yet widespread. A dynamic balance in constant evolution that requires great wisdom and the striving towards new intuitions and possibilities, which through science and/or spirituality help to go beyond dogmas and beliefs.
Frank Wilczek and Federico Faggin: when science and spirituality meet
Frank Wilczek, former Nobel Prize for Physics in 2004 and winner of the 2022 Templeton Prize and Federico Faggin, inventor of the microprocessor, physicist and author of the new book on consciousness, “Irreducible – consciousness, life, computers and our nature” have in common a love of science and at the same time an unprecedented contemporary vision of the interaction between science and spirituality.
Wilczek: opening up to possibilities beyond the understandable
The Templeton Award 2022 is an annual award worth more than $1.3 million that honors, those “who harness the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe and humanity’s place and purpose within itaccording to a release from the John Templeton Foundation. Exploratory efforts based on science, which Frank Wilczek has undertaken to deal with issues usually labeled as philosophical or spiritual.
As a theoretical physicist, Wilczek has been investigating beneath the surface of our own for more than 50 years perceived reality arriving at revolutionary scientific discoveriesincluding that of the asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction between particles, thesis that led him to the Nobel Prize. His perspective on the world is in some respects almost theological: Wilczek calls himself a pantheist, which means he believes that the whole world is sacred and that we should be reverential towards it.
In addition to award-winning discoveries, Wilczek’s work has led him to some conclusions shared by mystics and people of faith, including the fundamental interconnectedness of all things and the myth of separation. In a recent interview in Scientific Americanthe Nobel refers to the fact that true wisdom promotes tolerance and mind expansion; this, combined with the openness and honesty that should guide the scientific method, leads to the integration of the concept of “complementarity”or the awareness that to answer some “big questions” mutually incomprehensible and apparently contradictory approaches may be necessary.
Federico Faggin: union between science and spirituality, the courage of new perspectives
If Federico Faggin hadn’t invented the microprocessor, and no one else had done it for him, today we probably wouldn’t have computers and smartphones available. Physicist and eclectic entrepreneur, Faggin has for decades been committed to investigating the aspects that differentiate man and machine, with particular attention to the theme of consciencea distinctive trait that considers “Irreducible“, i.e. fundamental, existing before matter itself.
In October 2022, on the occasion of the conference “Unexpected Connections – Consciousness is fundamental” at the headquarters of the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies, Faggin brought some important reflections, starting from the assumption that “it is important to put together the beauty of science with spirituality”.
“With the scientific method – Faggin said – who accepted materialism (ed. reality is matter, every aspect of a spiritual nature is not allowed) as a starting point, we have become essentially dogmatic (ed. certain principles are considered indubitable) . We want at all costs to prove that consciousness is a phenomenon that emerges from the brain, but no one has ever been able to prove how electrical signals and biochemical signals can generate sensations and feelings, what are called qualia”.
According to these views, life is regarded as a unique inseparable and for this, cooperation and not competition is elected as the fundamental law of the universe to deal with complexity that we have inside and that surrounds us.