The most complex object in universe is human brain. It uses 20 watts of power to run.
To provide a perspective on the marvel of that feat, if humans were to design a computer having same processing ability as a human brain, it will occupy an entire city block and will take a nuclear power plant to energize.
Nature does it inside each human head using 20 watts power, which is just enough to light a small bulb.
Inspite of the super success of science this is just one example of how huge a gap still remains between its achievement and nature’s complexity.
The orders of magnitude of this gap does not mean that we should stop solving tech problems and I am also not saying that genome doctoring, robotics revolution, nano technology, 3d printing, organ farming will not happen. In fact I think they and many more innovations will happen in years to come.
The gap just underlines that the dogma of science being barometer of all human knowledge is wrong. It never was and never will be the final port of call on reality.
In this post I want to point out the limits of science. Contrary to popular belief that science is the answer, I contend that couple of problems which are challenging frontiers of science today would never get solved by following the scientific way. Scientists will ultimately have to rest their pursuit with a spin.
Let me list two such problems that will prove intractable to scientific inquiry?
Ever since Einstein, physics aspires for a theory of everything (TOE). It is a theory which will unite Quantum theory and Theory of Relativity ( two shining jewels in scientific armor). The pipe dream is to get to Quantum Gravity out of combined equations. The approach to unite all four physical forces led to multiple dimensions being posited because it is only there that enough space exists to unite fundamental forces. Kaluza Kleins fifth dimension uniting electromagnetic and gravity to Yang Mills fields bringing nuclear forces also into fold has finally led to positing of total number of higher dimensions of hyperspace required at 10. This with the concept of super-symmetry of string theory gives us all the forces and the entire particle zoo.
However inspite of combining forces and particles we are still not able to generate the big from the small. How does gravity originate from the quanta ( or superstring) is still the core issue; To do that according to string theory 6 dimensions of space time have to fold leading to 4 rolled out dimensions that we experience. Now there are millions of ways that these 6 dimensions can curl up and no one knows how they do, to generate the world as we know it and its gravity.
My money is on that they will not be able to solve it. Not now. Not in future.
Secondly neuro scientists are hungry to isolate neural correlates of consciousness. The problem is to find out which neurons fire to create consciousness. An associated problem is the problem of Qualia or the hard problem of consciousness, as it is called. It is about how does consciousness creates our subjective experience.
The big problem here is for example what causes the redness of the color red. Does this color exist in nature or is it just a bar code kind of reality out there which we with our bar decoder neural software decode as red color. So is red color subjective or objective.
My money again is on that scientific community will not succeed in solving it completely. Not now. Not in future.
I believe that these subjective and objective frontiers of reality will not get breached because science takes an analytical approach to problem-solving. They break things into smaller parts and then solve these individual parts before putting them together to construct larger picture. This approach to doing science has proved phenomenally successful in past.
These problems though are system level problems which means they have to be solved top down and not bottom up.
Unfortunately for us though, our brains did not develop the circuitry to solve system problems during evolution, as they were not needed to be solved for specie survival. Thus whenever now we try to solve system problems, employing our traditional mental tools of deductive & inductive logic, we run into paradoxes, as quantum mechanics found out.
To explain quaintness of quantum physics world while accounting for observations like embedding of probability into the structure of universe and cognition precipitating non local reality, science ultimately rested its case by stating that the theory makes no statements about the objective reality but about human understanding of it. So for the first time it became obvious that science has nothing to do with reality as it is out there but as we perceive it or to put it technically it was officially recognized that science is in fact antropocentric view of the universe
My proposition is that a similar situation will arise in solving the twin problem of subjective and objective reality questions as above. I believe holistically looked at, this is actually one problem which again science is breaking into two parts. Again it will reach limits of cognition, run into paradoxes and then science will have to make epistemological statements around human capability.
Nature obviously does not have paradoxes so is there no way to find a complete solution. I think the way to solve these problems is to finish evolution’s agenda and evolve human brain circuitry to solve system problem. Thus the solution is to be achieved not through bounds of logic but through tool of meditation.
Now as radical as that sounds, it has been proven that meditation rewires human brain and transforms its neural pathways. The entire meditation process spread over years that a mystic undertakes, is nothing but the time taken for cognitive restructuring of his entity( ego) brain circuitry. Through sustained stillness practice brain circuits evolve and get rewired to align with systems (universal ) consciousness.
So if we need to solve the scientific problems of objective reality and subjective consciousness, which evolution based legacy brain finds hard to resolve, we can do it by changing our neural pathways individually. This is what the quest for enlightenment or awakening, is all about.
In nutshell then, to know reality as it is, reach beyond science, sit still and breathe.