Scientific inquiry proceeds on the belief that the universe can be explained by a materialistic, reductionist system. Materialistic, because it is based on “stuff”, or objects. And reductionist because everything can be simplified down to the interactions between objects. And this focus on objects leads us to scientific objectivity.
This is the opposite of our everyday experience. I think, feel and wonder—none of which is explained by the world outside. Rather, my first-person experience is subjective.
A doctor can examine my brain, but cannot investigate my feelings. The objective world stops at the level of measuring my brainwaves. But my own everyday experiences cannot be reduced to mere brain activity (of which I hope there is plenty).
Science is exceptional at explaining the “how”. Where it stops short is in explaining the “why”. Why am I here? Why did this happen to me? Faced with such questions, science can offer us odds and probabilities. But it cannot explain, to the satisfaction of any sensitive person, why a particular child has to sleep hungry.
This is not a denouncement of science. It is a recognition of its limitations.
What alternative do we have to a materialistic, reductionist system? One alternative could be—a philosophy that recognizes our own subjective experiences, and reconciles it with the objects that we experience. A philosophy that examines the consciousness that pervades every experience, and posits its fundamental nature. One that concludes—brainwaves are the effect, not the cause.
Does such a philosophy or belief oppose science?
No. Science has given us the tools to improve our own lives, and the lives of those around us. It has given us the means to understand the universe. But by no means is it comprehensive. To understand overselves, we need more.