We have been celebrating those who are critiquing their professions and thus bringing needed light and wisdom to a dark time in world history. We have
considered engineers and educators, spiritual fools and, most recently, lawyers.

Rupert Sheldrake’s TED talk on The Science Delusion was
removed from the TEDX YouTube channel for questioning
scientific orthodoxy. See the discussion here.

Some scientists too are posing deep questions of their own discipline and Rupert Sheldrake is one of a growing number of these. Sheldrake calls materialistic science out for its reductionism and ignorance and unexamined suppositions, held with the vehemence of dogmas.

In his important book, The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry, he critiques such dogmas in science by way of the following ten provocative chapter titles:

The Science Delusion, by Rupert Sheldrake
  1. Is Nature Mechanical?
  2. Is the Total Amount of Matter and Energy Always the Same?
  3. Are the Laws of Nature Fixed?
  4. Is Matter Unconscious?
  5. Is Nature Purposeless?
  6. Is All Biological Inheritance Material?
  7. Are Memories Stored as Material Traces?
  8. Are Minds Confined to Brains?
  9. Are Psychic Phenomena Illusory?
  10. Is Mechanistic Medicine the Only Kind that Really Works?

These questions alone speak volumes. Sheldrake concludes his book this way:

Homeopathy is only one of the traditional healing arts actively being denigrated as quackery despite demonstrated effectiveness over centuries. Photo by Oonagh Taeger on Flickr

The sciences are entering a new phase. The materialist ideology that has ruled them since the nineteenth century is out of date. All ten of its essential doctrines have been superseded. The authoritarian structure of the sciences, the illusions of objectivity, and the fantasies of omniscience have all outlived their usefulness. *

He warns that science is now global but materialistic ideology is “alien to cultures and traditions in many other parts of the world.”

To become alive on a global scale, science needs to let go of its ideologies and in effect become ecumenical with various cultures (and religious world views) the world over.

Reiki researcher/educator Pamela Miles speaks before the Rochester Regional Health System about energy medicine.

Sheldrake’s work represents a whole new era for science and spirituality working together. As he puts it:

We are on the threshold of a new era of the exploration of consciousness both through a revival of spiritual practices and also through the scientific study of them. After several generations in which science and spirituality seemed to be in opposition, they are becoming complementary. Together, they are contributing to an unprecedented phase of spiritual evolution, beginning now. **

Of course Rupert is not alone. Albert Einstein, Charlotte Tomaino, Alfred North Whitehead, Teilhard de Chardin, Nancy Abrams, Fritjof Capra, Brian Swimme, Thomas Berry, Ilia Delio, David Bohm, Joel Primack, Deepak Chapra, Deena Metzger, Herbert Benson, Larry Dossey, Peter Russell, Beverly Rubick, Ralph Abraham, Erich Jantsch, Arle Wyler, Paul Carr, and many more are exhibiting the courage to pose the deeper questions of both science and religion.

* Rupert Sheldrake, The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry (London: Coronet, 2012), 318.

** Sheldrake, Ways to Go Beyond and Why They Work: Seven Spiritual Practices for a Scientific Age, back cover.

See Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work.

Banner Image: “Cosmic Consciousness: Growing awareness and a consciousness expanding into the cosmic frame liberate the ego from its annoying inner conflict. ” Image by Hartwig HKD on Flickr

Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize in Sheldrake’s “ten dogmas” certain “delusions” or at least questions that are aroused in you by mainstream culture today? Areas that make you wonder about deeper experiences you have undergone that seem to be getting covered over?

Recommended Reading

Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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14 thoughts on “Work and Light, continued”

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Joseph,
      Thank you for bringing up the work and writings of John Haught. I see that he, too, explored the connection between science and spirituality in his research, four books, and professorship at Georgetown. There is a paradigm shift that is coming together so that more and more people can recognize the concepts that their originators worked so hard to uncover, often losing professional opportunities and regard, but unable to deny what they have discovered. Now we have cosmologists winning Nobel Peace Prizes and these hard-won concepts are appreciated by so many more people. I think it is good to be reminded of those who paved the way for the new consciousness. Thank you.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  1. Avatar
    John Simmons, MD

    Good morning Matt,
    I continue to find meaning in the daily devotions and recall those times we shared and learned in discussions about many of your meditation topics while attending UCS. As you highlight the work of professionals who are bringing Light and Wisdom into their spheres, I hope you will take a look at Medicine. Historically medicine’s interest has been from time to time on a spiritual model, an educational model, a research model, a technical model. It now seems locked in to a business model. As such patients(humans)and the maladies they are dealing with are treated as commodities to be traded and not as humans seeking wholeness.
    John Simmons, MD

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear John,
      I am afraid you speak the truth about medicine these days. Like lawyers. I have met many physicians who entered the profession with a higher purpose than they are able to serve in their work places. Callouses are not only on the bodies of their patients!!

      Matthew focuses on different professions by lifting up examples of people who have miraculously found a different way. Could you suggest some physicians or medical establishments that have found a more holistic and just way to practice medicine?
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar
    Thomas Dahlheimer

    In Rupert Sheldrake’s  important book titled “The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry” there is a chapter, the fifth chapter, that is titled “Is Nature Purposeless.”  In respect to this fifth chapter’s title I would like to express my opinion on this topic.       

    In his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si,  Pope Francis offers this prayer to God: “You are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.” Notice the word in; not just “above and beyond.”

    So, the monotheistic God of Catholicism is both “above and beyond” the creation and immanent “in” all of creation.

    The late New Age leader, Benjamin Creme, wrote: But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent—-outside of His creation—-and also the concept of God immanent in all creation—-in man and all creation.

    Paramahansa Yogananda, the Father of yoga in the West, wrote: Spirit existed before God. God is the Creator of the universe, but Spirit is the Creator of God.” The Hindu name for “God” is Brahma. “This Sanskrit word [Brahma] derives from the verbal root b?h ‘to expand, grow, fructify’, because ‘Brahma expands’ and becomes the Universe woven out of his own substance” – Theosophy Wiki.

    A Hindu sacred text states that after Spirit (the Supreme God) emanated/created the subordinate God (Brahma) He sinned, causing H/him to manifest as the U/universe. Because of Brahma’s original sin, H/he now has both a divine manifestation and a less-than-divine manifestation, meaning the U/universe is both, an essentially undifferentiated mass of light permeated with Christ/Krishna/Buddha God Consciousness and the material universe is a corrupted, less-than-divine, illusionary manifestation of the divine manifestation of the Universe. The less-than-divine manifestation of the U/universe, the material universe, has a soul, it is the world soul. [The material universe and its soul are referred to, by many, as Mother Earth.]

    One of the founding figures of the modern New Age Movement, David Spangler, wrote: “The idea of a world soul, an anima mundi, a planetary Logos, is an ancient one found in both Eastern and Western culture. The world soul is usually conceived as a ‘formative force,’ an active, intelligent, purposeful spiritual presence at work in the material world to guide and guard the course of planetary evolution. It is generally not accorded the status of being the ultimate source, or Creator [Spirit], but might be looked upon as a [less-than-divine] great angelic or archangelic being presiding over the well being of the world, or the gestalt, the wholeness of all the lives and patterns that manifest upon, and as, the earth.”

    The goal of New Agers is to first become One with the Divine manifestation of the Universe, and then go through It, to ultimately become One with Spirit.  

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Thomas,
      Thank you for this extensive expose on how several traditions understand the way God is present in the material world. Of course, due to scientific research, we now know that the material world is not as solid as we thought, and we have discovered that the basic material in all matter is light. There also is where we can find the divine presence bursting forth out of every thing.

      Is it not remarkable that the ancients sensed this without any cyclotrons? And now, quietly, with a few simple words, the Pope has embraced this same wisdom! This shift is monumental. There is hope for us yet!
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    I have been a Registered Nurse for nearly 50 years. I know I am predjudiced, but I always believed that Nursing was more Holistic than many other Healing Professions. About 30 years ago, I discovered Therapeutic Touch, an Energy Healing modality developed by Dolores Krieger, RN, Ph.D., and Dora Kunz (a brilliant clairvoyant and Healer) in the 70’s. It not only changed my practice. It changed my life. It taught me how connected we all are and how many more options there were in Healing than I had known up to that time. It also opened me to a new way of seeing Spirit, and brought me new friends with which to share these discoveries. But so far there is no way to scientifically “measure” Energy or the Heailng that takes place with this interaction. So are the amazing things I’ve witnessed or been a part of only in my imagination? Hearing Rupert Sheldrake
    speak gives me hope that Science will someday catch up to what has become “normal” in my experience. I only hope it’s not too late!

    1. Phila Hoopes

      Dear Elaine,

      As a Reiki practitioner I often hear similar comments from nurses who work with Therapeutic Touch….you might be interested to connect with Reiki master teacher Pamela Miles (https://www.reikiinmedicine.org), who has done extensive research on the efficacy of energy medicine in mainstream medical institutions…you can see her medical papers here: https://reikiinmedicine.org/medical-papers/. She is on the forefront of a movement called “Medical Reiki” dedicated to breaking down the barriers to energy medicine. Yes, as Rupert Sheldrake says, change is afoot!

      Phila Hoopes
      Blog Coordinator

      1. Avatar

        Thank you Phila for the resource. There are also many nurses who are doing research with TT, so eventually maybe we can convince the skeptics! Meanwhile we just keep on ding what we know helps.

    2. Avatar
      John Simmons, MD

      Hello Elaine, I agree about nurses being more holistic. I think that is true whether practicing Therapeutic Touch or just plain old fashion caring. TT, Yoga instruction, massage therapy, mindfulness training have given some in the healing professions a modality to stay in touch and connected to patients. Like you I have practiced for 50 years. During that time I have seen patients treated more and more as objects or diagnoses or symptoms rather than people. Worse than that a health care system now treats patients as an account number. So many healthcare practitioners have become primarily technicians rather than healers. I fear that the transition of healthcare from a cottage industry to a system delivery model along with the necessity of an electronic medical record will further challenge the healers ability to know and practice “touch” with patients. I admire your determination to stay in touch.
      John W. Simmons, MD

      1. Gail Sofia Ransom

        Thank you, John, for sharing the experience of health care from inside the profession. There you are, looking, touching, adjusting, reaching into these amazing bodies that form our presence on the material world, and yet, the pace, and the prevailing culture do not allow you to marvel at the divine miracle in front of you – or to wonder at the relationship of doctor and patient. We could be celebrating these bodies and gaping with gratitude. Instead we are tapping in the numbers, filling out the forms, and poking at the appointment screens.

        Thank you for giving us the opportunity to envision a different way for the medical profession. Setting a vision is the beginning of change.
        Gail Sofia Ransom
        For the Daily Meditation Team

    3. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Elaine,
      thank you for sharing your experience of Therapeutic Touch as a spiritual element of your profession. It is a perfect fit for nursing. What Matt is challenging us to do is to find the spiritual aspect in each of our professions. Some work seems to lend itself to that more than others, so your example is encouraging. THank you.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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