The Inductive Method of Science
Science adopts the Aristotelian, inductive method to move from the particular to the general, rather like assembling individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle: discrete observational data are collected and gradually fitted into a general picture, the latter being a mental representational model of the physical effects observed. The mind process is predominantly intellectual, applied in a linear mode. The instruments of investigation are limited to, and conditioned by, the five physical senses and their extensions, as telescopes and microscopes, etc. The result is a precise description of the appearances, behaviour and physical mechanisms of the Universe-Nature in her manifold appearances. The prevailing scientific paradigm of materialism has many unsupported and unsubstantiated assumptions. Physical or mathematical modelling are central features of the scientific method of inquiry. This means that science itself is not about truth or knowledge, per se-rather an interpretation of the physical world.
The Deductive Approach of Occult Science
By contrast, Occult Science works in the Platonic tradition of moving from the general to the particular within the Ring Pass-Not (i.e. limiting boundaries of evolutionary growth) of every world system: the overall, grand picture is first realized in its essential nature, and the way this presents itself as particular effects then expounded. The mind process is essentially ‘lateral thinking’ and intuitive, applied in an all-inclusive mode. The instruments of investigation are not limited to the physical senses. This gives profound insights into the origin, essential nature and manifestation of Nature in her true self.
CONFLUENCE BETWEEN SCIENCE AND OCCULT SCIENCE
Why Many Scientists Are Also Embracing Mysticism
These days we find increasing numbers of scientists turning towards mysticism as a complement to the rational scientific method. A review of the world-wide Directory of Members of The Scientific and Medical Network will indicate this fact. Furthermore, teachers and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have formed an alchemical society and regularly study The Secret Doctrine. During Millikan’s tenure at Cal Tech, a copy of The Secret Doctrine lodged in the library was so much in demand that one had to put one’s name on a long waiting list. This work is also discussed periodically at the Harvard Club in New York by several chemistry teachers, including MIT professors.
Why then, such an upsurge in interest in mysticism and occult science? We explained above that in investigating something by the scientific method, we can describe its appearance, behaviour and characteristics by standing apart from it (the discoveries from quantum physics notwithstanding). But by the occult approach in order to understand its inner nature, we have literally to become the very thing we wish to investigate-or at least to participate in it. This is why the occult system always operates from within to without, and prefers to investigate Nature by participating with her processes, rather than interrogating her outward behaviour.
It is by virtue of such interior insights that Blavatsky was able to make prophetic remarks in The Secret Doctrine about future developments in natural science, for example:
The wave motion of living particles becomes comprehensible on the theory of a spiritual ONE LIFE, of a universal Vital principle, independent of our matter, and manifesting as atomic energy only on our plane of consciousness.
The above statement displays foreknowledge about three facts that are now commonly accepted by science, namely: (a) the energy within the atom; (b) the wave-like nature of particles, and the particle-like nature of waves; and (c) the vitality and ‘consciousness’ of particles. Blavatsky was in all probability the first person to use the terms ‘atomic energy’ and the ‘wave motion of living particles’, which science has discovered for itself, using its own methods of investigation.
In the field of life sciences, we find similar portentous statements, such as:
It is not against zoological and anthropological discoveries, based on the fossils of man and animal, that every mystic and believer in a divine soul inwardly revolts, but only against the uncalled-for conclusions built on preconceived theories and made to fit in with certain prejudices.
Driven inexorably by the pressure of their own discoveries, and increasingly inconsistent theories to account for them, scientists are slowly awakening to the truth of Blavatsky’s assertion. This will soon become apparent.
Hence in view of the foregoing, it is not surprising that the greatest scientists, past and present, have realized the limits of the process of scientific inquiry and sensed the need for more intuitive approaches.