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Every doctrine and every philosophy of life is indispensably based on a sort of belief, an evaluation of life and a sort of interpretation and analysis of the world.
The way of thinking of a school in respect of life and the world is considered to be the basis of the entire thinking of that school. This basis is called the world conception of that school.
All religions, social systems, schools of thought and social philosophies are based on particular world conception. All the goals which a school presents, the ways and methods which it brings into existence are the corollaries of the conception of the world that it entertains.
The philosophers say that there are two kinds of wisdom: practical and theoretical. Theoretical wisdom is to know the existing thing as they are. Practical wisdom is to find out how one should lead his life. This “should” is the logical result of “how they are” especially those “how they are, with which metaphysical philosophy deals.
Conception of the World and Perception of the world
Evidently we should not confuse the conception of the world with its sense perception. Conception of the world has the sense of cosmogony and is linked with the question of identification. Unlike sense perception, which is common to man and other living beings, identification is peculiar to man, and hence conception of the world is also peculiar to him. It depends on his thinking and understanding.
From the point of view of sense perception of the world, many animals are more advanced than man, because either they are equipped with certain senses which man lacks, as it is said that birds have a radar sense, or their senses, although common to them and man, are sharper than the senses possessed by man, as is said of the sight of eagle, of the sense of smell of the dog and ant and of the sense of hearing of the rat. Man is superior to other animals because he has a deep conception of the world. Animals only perceive the world, but man can interpret it also.
What is identification? What is the relationship between perception and identification? What elements other than perceptional ones are part of identification? How do they enter identification and from where? What is the mechanism of identification? What is the standard by which correct and incorrect identification are judged?
These are the questions which require a separate treatise, and at present we are unable to take them up. Anyhow, it is certain than perception of a thing is different from its identification. May people view a scene and of them see it alike, but only a few of them can interpret it, and they too often differ?
Varieties of World Conception
On the whole there are three kinds of world conception or world identification or, in other words, man’s interpretation of the universe. It can be inspired by three sources: science, philosophy and religion. So we can say that there are three kinds of world conception: scientific, philosophical and religious.
1)Scientific Conception of the World
Now let us see how and to what extent science help us from an opinion. Science is based on two things, theory and experiment. For the discovery and interpretation of a phenomenon first a theory comes to the mind of a scholar and then on its basis he carries out experiments in the laboratory. If it is corroborated by the experiment, it gains acceptance as a scientific principle and remains valid till a better and a more comprehensive theory appears and is corroborated by experiment. With the appearance of a new and more comprehensive theory, the old theory becomes invalid.
That is how science discovers the cause and the effect of a thing by practical experiment. Then it again tries to discover the cause of that cause and the effect of the effect. This process continues so long as possible.
1/1) Advantages and disadvantages of practical experiment
The scientific work has many advantages and disadvantages as it is based on practical experiment. The greatest advantage of the scientific discoveries is that they are specific and particular. Science can impart to man a lot of information about a particular thing. It can give a volume of knowledge about one single leaf of a tree. Furthermore, because it acquaints man with the particular laws governing each thing, enables him to control and use things to his advantage, and promotes industry and technology.
Though science can teach man thousand of things about each particular thing, yet the knowledge imparted by science being specific, its scope is limited. Experimented place a limitation in it. Science can go forward only to the extent it is possible for it to make an experiment. Obviously it cannot experiment with the entire creation and all its aspects. Science can go forward in pursuit of causes and effects only to a certain extent and then it reaches the stage of unknown. It is like a powerful searchlight which illuminates a limited area, and does not throw light beyond its range. No experiment can be made such questions as whether this has beginning and end or is it infinite from both sides? When a scholar reaches this point, he consciously or unconsciously resorts to philosophy to express his opinion. From the stand point of science this world is an old book the first and the last pages of which have been lost. Neither its beginning is known nor its end. The reason is that the scientific conception of the world is the outcome of the knowledge of a part of it, not of the whole. Science informs us of the position of some parts neither of the world, nor of the features and the characteristics of the whole of it. The scientific conception of the world held by the scientific is like the conception of an elephant acquired by those who passed their hands on it in darkness. He who touched the ear of the elephant thought that it was like a fun: he who touched its leg thought that it was like a pillar and he who touched its back thought that it was like a raised platform.
1/2). Limitation of scientific world conception on answering the general questions of Cosmology
Another drawback of the scientific conception of the of the world is that it cannot be the basis of any ideology, for science is inconstant and changeable from its practical aspect, that is the aspect of showing reality as it is and inviting faith in the nature of the reality of creation. Scientifically the features of the world change from day change day to day, because science is based on a combination of theory and experiment and not on self-evident rational truths. The theory and experiment have a temporary value only. As such the scientific conception of the world is an inconstant and changeable conception and is not fit to become the basis of faith. Faith requires a more stable or rather an eternal basis.
The scientific conception of the world, because of the limitation imposed on it by the tools of science (theory and experiment), is unable to answer a number of questions, the definite answer of which is essential for an ideology. Such questions are: From where has this world come? Where does it go? From the viewpoint of time has the world a beginning and an end? What is its position from the viewpoint of place? Is or is not the existence, on the whole, something good and meaningful? Is the world governed by some essential and unchangeable norms and laws, or does no such thing exist? Is the creation on the whole a living and conscious unit or is man alone an accidental exception? Can an existing thing become non-existent or a non-existing thing become existent? Is the restoration of a non-existing thing possible or impossible? Is the exact re-creation of the world and history in all their details possible even after billions of years (Theory of recurring in Cycles?) Is unity preponderant or multiplicity? Is the world divided into material and non-material, and is the material world a small part of the entire world? Is the rightly guided and perceptive or is it imperceptible and blind? Are man and the world in a state of reciprocity? Does the world show reaction to the good and bad deed s of man? Does there exist an eternal life in the wake of this transient life? There are so many other similar questions.
1/3. An example for explaining limitation of science on giving a general picture of the creation world
Science does not answer all these questions, for it cannot make an experiment with them. Science can answer only limited and particular questions, but is unable to draw a general picture of the world. We give an example to make our point clear.
An individual may have local knowledge of a big city. He may know a part of it in detail and may be to draw a picture of its roads, lanes and even houses. Another person may have a similarly detailed knowledge of another part the city, and a third, fourth and a fifth person may know other parts of it. If we collect information from all of them, we may get enough information about each part of the city. But will this information be enough to have a complete and overall picture of it? For example, can we know what shape the city is: whether it is circular, quadrangular or the shape of a leaf? If it resembles a leaf, then a leaf of which tree? How are various areas of it connected with each other? What sort of automobiles connect them? Is the city on the whole beautiful or ugly. Evidently we cannot get all this information.
If we want to have such information and for example if we want to know the shape of the city or want to know whether it is beautiful or ugly, we should ride an aircraft and have an overall aerial view of it.
As we have said, science is unable to answer the basic questions necessary to form a conception of the world. It cannot provide an overall picture of the whole body of the universe.
1/4.lack of Theoretical value of science in scientific conception of the world
Leaving all this aside, the value of scientific conception of the world is practical and technical, not theoretical, while an ideology can be based on theoretical value only. Had the reality of the world been as depicted by science, that would have constituted the theoretical value of science. Its practical and technical value lies in the fact that irrespective of its depicting or not depicting reality, it enables man to perform tasks. Modern industry and technology demonstrate the practical value of science. It is really amazing that in the modern world while technical and practical value of science has increased, its theoretical value has been reduced.
Those who are not fully conversant with the role of science, may think that along with its undeniable practical progress science has also enlightened the conscience of man and has convinced him of the reality as depicted by it. But that is not a fact.
1/5. The result of studying scientific conception of the world
From the foregoing it is clear that an ideology requires that kind of conception of the world which (i) may answer the basis question concerning the universe as a whole, not only a part of it, (ii) may be an eternal and reliable conception, not a transient and passing one, and (iii) may have a theoretical and realistic value also not merely a practical and technical one.
Thus, it is also clear that the scientific conception of the world, despite of its other merits, lacks all these three requirements.
Note: * In the part, Importance of the world conception and its inspiration sources / Advantages and disadvantages of would conception were considered. In this part philosophical and religious world conception will be followed.
Man and Universe- part Monotheistic conception of the world - pages: 49to54
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