Scientific knowledge and supernatural wonders both depend on what we think
I was raised in a “seeing is believing” family. My well-meaning father was a scientist who couldn’t really appreciate my spiritual explorations. To him, the only thing that counted was cold facts: black was black and white was white. A lot of people think this way. And why shouldn’t they? Logic and science have brought so much progress in the last two hundred years. It’s not all that surprising that many people consider this the only truth. What most of them don’t realize is that this total faith in science has turned it into the new religion. Science is the yardstick by which we measure everything, the touchstone for all our values and beliefs. It is the ruling paradigm.
At least it is in Western culture. But in other cultures the norm is first to believe and then see. The Cuban-born American shaman expert Alberto Villoldo, speaking at a recent Ode event in Rotterdam, said that the world we call supernatural-the spiritual or mystical dimension-is not supernatural at all for the Indians in the Amazon and Peru. To them, the mystical realm is every bit as real as a piece of pizza is to us. And, he added, shamans don’t understand why we need the internet… hasn’t it been around forever? The idea that you’d need a computer to pull information out of the air seems absurd to them and quite impractical. Isn’t it available for everyone who knows how to tap into the universe’s vast store of knowledge. They clearly view things through a different paradigm.
These Indians experience the “supernatural world” as natural. They don’t question its existence. They “see” the spirit world; they “see” subtle energies. They see all this because they believe in it. Apparently faith is an important determinant of what we experience as human beings. People, within the ruling paradigm of their culture, all see the same thing and that’s what keeps that image alive.
Maybe it goes even further. Maybe something exists only when you believe in it. Maybe atoms have become real only since we started to believe in them. Maybe the earth only became round when we started to believe it was. Einstein sometimes wondered whether the moon really exists if you don’t look at it. Cars could only be invented when we (well, someone like Henry Ford) started to believe in them. Men could walk on the moon when NASA scientists told us it was possible.
If it’s true that what we believe in becomes reality, and if it’s true that we can believe anything we want, then it’s true we can also create the reality we want. All we have to do-preferably as many of us as possible-is believe.
So what shall we believe in? Which paradigm do we want governing our lives? What will we exclude, what will we include? We can make our world as big as we want; we just have to believe in it. And remember: The sky is not the limit.