The Zealotry of Emotions

DSC02243Having seen the lack of magic in science, I round up my investigation by looking at the tragic application of science where it should have no power: humanity. Scientism appears as a minimum, a reduced world that nobody can dispute. But how can you live your life believing that you hardly even exist?

(Follow-up to The Infancy of Science.)

Some people chase extraordinary meaning in the world around them, just to end up lost and come back disappointed. Meanwhile, those who consider themselves down-to-earth sit contently and preach about the lack of inherent value in the world. We simply need to acknowledge this lack, to stop looking and be happy with what is, and all will be better.

So what is? Who can tell us; what instance has the authority to set the standards for what we can allow ourselves to believe in? Well, if we have been let down by spirituality and religion, is seems only fit to turn to science as the supreme authority of answer-providing. I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with this solution. A big problem.

When running from a liar, is it more fitting to move in with a psychopath?

It took me many years to finally learn that scientism – believing that science has or will have all the necessary answers – is a fundamentalist attitude. Before that, I thought it to be true. Rather, I thought I had no choice in the matter, because science, after all, was running the world whether I liked it or not. That was before I realized that scientism denies the validity of our emotions, of anything that is different from true and false.

We may think that we ourselves are not misguided by the illusion of false worth, but indeed, we can never escape our own subjective attitudes to everything around us. We can never experience that fundamental part of the world that is without coloring, that is only true or false. And even if we could, we would no longer be human.

Because there is more to the world than the science that is common for us all. Our emotions are thoroughly real, and they make up the entire content of our lives. Whatever we do, whatever we say and however long we live; nothing of this has any meaning whatsoever without the emotion that gives it meaning. But to follow the ideal of “only what is”, you cannot have this meaning, because “meaning” has no place in science.

There is one limitation on our emotions: just as science works only in facts, emotions work only in other ways. That we have an emotion can be called a fact, but this is second-hand, and it is useless unless the one reading the fact knows the emotion. So if something has meaning, it can never be proven as fact, but that does not mean it is incorrect. It is neither, simply because it is an emotion. Being an emotion, it is as real as anything else.

We don’t build walls to keep them blank. Everything is what you make out of it, and it’s the whole point that you do. It might not be visible to everyone else, but as long as it’s there for you, it really is there.

One thought on “The Zealotry of Emotions

  1. I view science as a tool, not an answer. It is a tool to discover how things work on the surface, find out about the mechanics of the world. But it does not claim to answer anything else.

    I, personally, do not believe in a universal meaning of the world. This is because human beings are so vastly different that I cannot imagine a sufficient answer for the question “what is the meaning of life” that would truly fit all.

    As you say, humans can never perceive the world in a completely objective way. We can ask science questions, but the answers we get will be truths, not advice. Therefore, it must be possible to believe that while science may hold the objective truths, the 2+2=4s, and even explanations for why certain emotions exist, there is no reason we should think of them as meaningless.

    I completely forgot where I was going with this, but one of the points I was attempting to get to was that even though science can tell you why you feel happy, why and how the taste of strawberries or the sound of music can make you feel euphoric, there is no reason to not fully experience and appreciate those emotions and give meaning to your own life in any way you want, even with the belief that there is no God and everything is atoms.

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