Published: the Roerich Readings: Materials of the Public and Scientific Conference. 1997. – М., 1999. – P. 18-30.
L. Shaposhnikova. SCIENCE AND THE LIVING ETHICS
The report subject is quite complicated, it touches upon one of the most important problems of the Living Ethics pages. This problem can only be settled or considered in the light of synthesis which is the main trunk trend of the mankind cosmic evolution. Same as in a chemical process, combination of a few substances produces an integral substance with a new quality, synthesis of some spiritual and cultural phenomena in the course of evolutionary process results in an integral phenomenon, different in terms of its qualities from the initial phenomena. Synthesizing of this kind happens, as a rule, at the level of human consciousness, and is most closely related to its development. In other words, synthesis as such is most important means for mentality development and expansion. Synthesis which has taken place in human mentality, due to a number of energetic circumstances brings the mentality to a higher step, allows man to see what was before concealed from him. And the higher is the consciousness, the higher is the integrity of surrounding reality perception, and the deeper is cognition of peculiarities of the Universe. That is why the Living Ethics pays special attention to expansion of mentality.
The higher is the energetic state of matter, the higher and more comprehensive are synthesis processes, the more integral is the approach to extremely complicated phenomena of the Universe elaborated by human consciousness and thinking. Our world, the world of solid matter, has a great degree of differentiation of notions and phenomena correlated with the Universe. I will give an example. Many people who study the Living Ethics know such a notion as Cosmic Magnet. But do many people can imagine it? We often get confused when we read in one place of the Teaching books that Cosmic Magnet is a Cosmic Heart, and in another place – that it is a Cosmic Intellect. Our differentiated consciousness and thinking sometimes are not capable of embracing such statements. For we know that heart is one notion, and intellect – another. Sometimes we do not suspect that the highest energetic level of matter in the space of which the Cosmic Magnet acts, forms an integral structure comprising Cosmic Heart and Cosmic Intellect. And only expanded consciousness can encompass such integrity. The Living Ethics states that synthesis of the heart and the intellect is one of the most important trends of cosmic evolution of mankind in the process of spiritualization of matter and expansion of mentality. In the result of such synthesis, the heart becomes clever, and the intellect – cordial.
In our solid and differentiated world, there are three forms, or three methods of cognition: art, religion, science. Philosophy could be added here as well, but, as a necessary part of each of the above methods of cognition, it penetrates them as a cementing substance. Evolution, following the trunk road of synthesis, reflects the rhythms of the Universe dictated by the Cosmic Magnet. Those rhythms have wave character: upwards – downwards, florescence – decline, unification – separation. In other words, the rhythms of Cosmos are as if balancing on contrapositions, raising one and lowering the other, and vice verse. This wave-like movement of rhythms makes the main peculiarity of evolution and the history of mankind. The waves of evolution passing through contrapositions accumulate energy thanks to which every subsequent wave will be higher than the previous one. This is how the steps of the soaring upwards evolutionary stairs are created. No phenomenon can be analyzed or comprehended without taking into account this circumstance. Setting forth the problem of synthesis of methods of consciousness or thinking, we should refer first of all to the principal in this case contraposition: unification – separation. It acts in the synthesis energetic space with repeated and constant regularity. If there is unification, there will be separation as well, and vice verse.
The human history knows three methods of thinking or consciousness processes: mythological, religious, and scientific. One can dispute such division. But let us accept it for the moment as it is and try to follow the interesting us processes within this division framework.
The most ancient or initial method of the humanity thinking was mythological – integral and imaginative. Information of other worlds, other states of matter was laid in it. This initial concentration of various information, but expressed in the form of a strict system, represented, so to say, an “encyclopedia” of necessary to the humanity knowledge, skills, types of creative work, and understandings related to its being. An extremely interesting scholar, F. D. Infante wrote in this connection: “Religions, philosophic systems, art, public forms of primitive and modern man’s being, the first scientific and technical discoveries, even torturous night visions – all this comes from a single mythological source”.
But mythology is not only a system of information, but is also a kind of tonometer, which tuned the human consciousness and thinking to a high note of relation to the Higher Worlds, and determined this relation place in the system of human values. Mythological mentality and thinking integrity and imaginative character give us a possibility to understand the ways of cosmic evolution synthesis. They start from the relation to the Higher. Without this relation which plays the role of a binding solution in any evolutionary phenomenon, everything would have fallen apart and turned into primeval chaos.
The next two methods of cognition, religious and scientific, represent the two main branches of separated mythological mentality. It can hardly be considered that each of them only plays an independent role. Those are the “stones” which are left over from the time of “throwing stones”. Both these methods of thinking exist in the same time, and often in the same space. I find it difficult to name this period using only one word.
The next human consciousness or thinking period representing an evolutionary wave which is now ascending to new synthesis from the abyss of separation, coincided with the crucial XX century. We are now witnessing cosmic movements of evolution, and many of us, irrespective of the world outlook, intuitively sense those movements. It is quite natural, for such is the cosmic energetics part of which is man himself.
The “time to gather stones” sets before us the task of analysis of those phenomena which this way or another, in accordance with the Great Laws of Cosmos, will enter the channel of synthesis. We must understand what in those phenomena corresponds to cosmic evolution, and what will pass away into non-being.
So, the “time to throw stones”, or time of separation, has given us three main forms of cognition which will make the foundation for new synthetic mentality of mankind. It will become qualitatively higher than the first earthly synthetic mentality – the mythological one. But, same as mythological, it will be integral, and I hope, imaginative. Religion, art, science. It so happened historically that religion and science oppose each other; and as to art, it is just not taken into account by science. So what in each of these forms of cognition helps synthesis, and what interferes with the same? First one note. Opposition of religion and science resulted in a false idea born within the orthodox empiric science, that scientific mentality must win the victory over religious mentality and put an end to the latter. It is hardly necessary to prove that all kinds of “victories” and “destructions” do not represent the way of cosmic evolution. Such way leads to all kinds of distortions and is extremely unfruitful for both further development of the theory of cognition and for human mentality expansion.
“Religion and science, one of the Living Ethics books says, must not considered separate in their essential nature. <…> All the great discoveries for the good of humanity will not emanate from enormous laboratories, but will be discovered by the spirit of scholars who are in possession of the synthesis”.
When we use the word “religion”, we often attach all kinds of notions to it. Let us try to get to the bottom of it. We can distinguish three layers in the generalized notion of “religion”. The first one is natural religious attitude of man which resides in each of us. Both the good and the bad can arise on this basis. Religious feeling is a primed canvas on which a man led by his free will can depict both. On the tissue of natural religious feeling, which is a human spirit phenomenon, initial Culture appeared. Religious feeling, or rather sensation, cannot be killed. It is just possible to direct it in the wrong direction and make man worship false values and false prophets. The history of humanity knows many such facts.
Religious teachings which arose on the basis of the natural religious feeling of man were aimed at placing this religious feeling within an ethical tideway, giving man a notion of the Higher, and form his religious experience as a definite system of cognition. The history of mankind has known many teachings brought by spiritual Teachers. Buddha, Christ, Muhammad created Teachings which were accepted by people of different nationalities, different countries, and different world outlooks. The Teachings constituted the second layer of religion. On their basis, man created confessions, the third layer, and formed confessional mentality. If the first layer was and remains natural, and the second one helped expansion of human consciousness, for any great spiritual Teaching made a revolution in it, confessions acted as a separating element. Confessional mentality only resulted in opposition of different Teachings followers. We know that Christianity is split into many confessions and sects relations between which are far from peaceful. Orthodox Christians and Baptists, Catholics and Protestants, Lutherans and Old Believers – there is no way to enumerate all of them. Confessional, often intolerant to other religions representatives attitude, was formed by low consciousness emanating on the solid matter, above which mirages of various differentiations and separations flutter.
And when religion as such is often identified with confession, and religious consciousness with confessional, conclusions are often wrong, and actions – destructive. This state of religious mentality or thinking in the modern world testifies to many difficulties which can arise in the way of New Cognition synthesis. It is hardly possible to sweep them away from the road using some usual method. And actually such methods, already tried in our society, have produced just the opposite results. Religious Teachings cleared of confessional deposits can provide certain possibilities for synthesis in the space of religion. However, it should be understood that synthesis taking place at the level of consciousness and thinking is an extremely lengthy process.
As to the art as one of the most ancient forms of surrounding reality cognition, I would like to repeat the words of Russian philosopher P. Uspensky, which N. Roerich quoted in his essay “Measure of Art”:
“Art goes ahead of all other human methods of penetration into the mysteries of nature. Intellect, operating with the data which it receives through sensory and psychic apparatus organs, has to make its way through the three-dimensional sphere, and it cannot move in any other way, same as it cannot act in any other way except through logic. And art takes an absolutely different way. Operating with emotions, attitudes, instincts, and awakening intuitions, it is not at all restrained by the three-dimensional sphere limits, does not at all have to take into account the laws of logic, and immediately brings man out into the extensive world of many dimensions.
That is why art goes ahead of science, exact knowledge, and even ahead of philosophy, but does not serve those, does not lay ways for them when opening its horizons <…>
Art destroys all the mechanical order of the three-dimensional world. It opens the door into mysticism and magic, invites into the world of amazing and wonderful adventures <…> m
Art which does not tell about this “other world”, does not make think of it or feel it, or shows that world as an analogy or continuation of our, this is not art, but imitation, sober and rational imitation, pseudo-art”.
Another big philosopher, P. Florensky, studying icon painting from this point of view, came to the conclusion that an icon created by a true artists is a “door into another world”, it carries in itself secret relationship with the Higher world, serves as a way of cognition of both this and that world. One can hardly doubt it, for the creative foundation of art, whether it be painting, literature, music, or anything like this, lies in the internal space of man and is inevitably related to matter of a different, subtler state, a higher dimension. And creative work itself in its true meaning is a phenomenon of higher worlds the gleam of which the art brings into our earthly reality. Art was one of the first to deliver other worlds’ message to us. Such artists as Roerich, Tchurlenis, Tchernovolenko, and some others, already proclaim a new epoch arrival with their art, tell of the Universe new model with their canvases, contributing not less than science to the development of cosmic World Perception. When we are looking at the Himalayan landscapes by Nichlas Roerich, cognizing their beauty, we get imbued with that gleam of another world which lies on them. A flow of energetics of worlds of other states of matter is pouring from there, and it forms absolutely different understandings in the space of our spirit, unlike those that we had before coming to contact with the artist’s creative work.
On the walls of our new  museum, you have seen drawings by Helena Roerich which obviously testify to remarkable artistic abilities of their author. But to say only this is not enough. These are special drawings. They are the result of Helena Roerich’s contact with worlds of higher states of matter. P. Florensky writes about the method of creation of icons in his unique study “Iconostasis”. The painter must be at the same time a saint and have a possibility of contact with the “Heavenly world” so that he could depict in earthly forms, on an icon, what he has seen and cognized. Florensky called such a saint a ”witness”, and the icon painter – “the witness’s witness”. Such collaboration existed in joint creation of Helena and Nicholas Roerichs. Many of his paintings were created by the master on the basis of his wife’s visions. That is why Roerich wrote that each painting should bear two names – man’s and woman’s. The painter’s work was also facilitated due to the fact that Helena Roerich, the witness, could draw as well. So Nicholas Roerich, the witness’s witness, obtained already formed information what gave him an opportunity to deeper penetrate into the images and symbols which he transferred to his great canvases.
But beside such true art, there is also other art, which P. Uspensky calls pseudo-art. Such art example is many pieces in the style of the so called social realism which served aims and tasks of the state ideology. But there is also such art that we can just call anti-art. It is born by ugly, unaesthetic forms of technogenic civilization. Of course, such “art” is nondurable and cannot be evolutionary.
From epoch to epoch, correlations of true, as we define it, eternal art, and moths of pseudo-art and anti-art which inevitably burn in fiery torrents of cosmic evolution energy, change. These correlations are determined by various social and historical factors. The XX century, due to its turning point character, proved to be rich with both. High, light creative work, following the laws of dialectics of evolution itself, inevitably brings to life, as a contraposition, flows of the dark and ugly. Such are conditions of a world of solid physical matter.
The most difficult situation in terms of cosmic synthesis has formed in science. For the reason of limited time, I cannot dwell in detail on peculiarities of modern science development. And this is beyond my task either. I will only say one thing – on the basis of spiritless science, that technogenic civilization which is destroying not only man, but the planet as well, has grown. The Earth catastrophic ecological situation is directly related to the traditional experimental science. That is why many pages of the Living Ethics are dedicated to modern science. The Teaching main idea is that science must be spiritual, moral, and, finally, must turn to the study of other states of matter, subtle energies, internal spiritual structure of man himself. Science and those engaged in it must bear moral responsibility for all that comes out of scientific laboratories. Otherwise it will be impossible to break that bad endless chain which can result in destruction of the mankind and the planet.
The main aggravating circumstance in science as a form of cognition and method of thinking is the absence in it for a few centuries of the link with that Higher which has made the main peculiarity of other forms of cognition. Once science was closely related to religion and art. We know times when priests were custodians of knowledge, and temples – place of scientists’ work. Separation of science from other methods of cognition and turning it into an isolated area of experimental knowledge has its historical reasons. Development of experimental science as such started exactly in the period of consolidation of confessional mentality and strengthening of totalitarian tendencies in the church itself. Inquisition created for fighting with all kinds of heresies and dissent caused considerable damage to science. Giordano Bruno’s stake, Galileo interrogations, Copernicus persecution – all those were signs of the powerful church’s rejection of new thoughts, new ideas. And when this power started getting weaker and the XVIII century came, the century of the Great French Revolution and encyclopedists’ freethinking, experimental science started to get free from the church fetters. But together with them, it freed itself from all that was related not only to the church, but to Christ’s Teaching itself. It got free from the knowledge that the Teacher brought to the humanity, and, first of all, from understanding of the necessity of relation to the Higher, from realization of existence of the Invisible World. The science horizon closed on solid physical matter, there was nothing else beside it. Neither God, nor devil, nor soul, nor other worlds. Everything turned into just “an invention of churchmen”.
Scientists’ materialistic position was strengthened and aggravated by materialism of German philosophers, and then by the Marxist doctrine which became quite widely spread in the XX century. Marxism aggravated the situation with science, especially in Russia. At the same time, though it sounds paradoxical, it is in Russia that the largest group of scientists appeared which, together with the Russian philosophers of the Silver Age, started to reconsider the old sociological world perception, and started to form cosmic mentality already from the beginning of the XX century. Those scientists were not so many, but their names, like stars, brightly sparkled on the firmament of the world science. They did not only form new cosmic mentality, but they also turned to other forms of cognition, as if intuitively preparing these forms future synthesis. Through their studies, science started speaking of what it had kept silent for a few centuries. “Intuition, inspiration, great Russian scientist V. Vernadsky wrote, the basis for greatest scientific discoveries, relying further on [researches] and following a strictly logical way – are caused by neither scientific or logical thought, are not related to the word or notion in their genesis. In case of this basic phenomenon in the history of scientific thought, we are entering a sphere of knowledge not yet covered by science, but we not only cannot help taking it into account, but must intensify our scientific attention to it”. .
And more: “I consider myself a deeply religious man <…> I believe that religion has colossal future, but its forms have not yet been found”. .
And these are the thoughts of the same thing of another outstanding Russian scientist, K. Tsiolkovsky: “Everything will be in the hands of those future people – all sciences, religions, beliefs, technology, in short, all possibilities, and the future knowledge will not neglect anything as we did – still spiteful ignoramuses – the data of religion, creations of philosophers, writers, and scientists of the ancient times”. .
We see in these fragments not only anticipation of synthesis of the main forms of cognition, but also conviction of its necessity. V. Vernadsky’s assertion that it is intuition and inspiration, and not logical intellectual process, that are primary in science and make basis of all great discoveries, completely coincides with the Living Ethics idea quoted by me before.
One of P. Florensky’s statements related to the Orthodox confession is, to my mind, quite significant. Being himself an Orthodox priest and a major Orthodox philosopher, he wrote: “The Orthodox church in its modern form cannot exist and will inevitably corrupt completely; both its support and struggle against it will result in consolidation of those foundations for which it is time to go to the past, and at the same time, will hold growth of young sprouts which will come up where they are expected the least”. . Here, a sentence is passed not only upon the Orthodox church, but also upon that confessional consciousness which is standing in the way of evolutionary process of synthesis in the modern world. Giving an emotional assessment to this statement, I want to emphasize that inflexible courage and high honesty which distinguished Florensky, no matter under which circumstances he would find himself. Intuition which he invariably followed always led him along the right evolutionary way.
The thoughts of Russian philosophers and outstanding scientists, and the Living Ethics ideas constitute a kind of spiritual and energetic space for evolutionary advancements on the planet of Earth. In the process of mentality expansion, synthesis of the main forms of cognition makes the principal energetic trend in the Cosmic evolution of mankind. Each of those forms has its basis which will determine their synthesis in the future. In art – it is pieces of true art, in religion – spiritual experience of religious Teachings, in science – intuitive and logical aspiration for synthesis and admittance of the Invisible world reality by the most spiritually developed scientists. It is the last circumstance that will give science a chance to restore the link with the Higher which it has lost in centuries. Probably, of all the three forms of cognition, science is the most difficult for transformation. Stiff traditions of old approaches, primitive understanding of matter, age-long striving to reduce all the diversity and complexity of the surrounding us world to purely physical factors, traditional conservatism of established truths, and, finally, constant negation of knowledge obtained in other spheres of human cognition – all this will for a long rime interfere with those changes on the basis of which evolutionary synthesis can take place.
The Living Ethics brought to us by the Roerichs in the 20s and 30s of the XX century, years of scientific “explosion”, is that philosophic system which contains new ideas of synthesis required for serious transformation of science. Some scientists have already noticed this study, but the majority have so far ignored it. There is a reason for that. The thing is that, synthesis of the main forms of cognition is already elaborated in the Living Ethics, while this process is just starting in the cultural and spiritual space of Russia and other countries, has already been realized. This synthesis is not yet well perceived by the intellect of modern scientists. The idea of synthesis is so far poorly comprehended by many scientists. The Living Ethics is an ahead-of-time factor of nowadays. It is designed for the future. But we all know that our future already started in the past, it is also starting today, in the present. The wrong estimation of the Living Ethics as a new religion opposed to Christianity by the Orthodox church has also brought negative results. The weak world outlook and cultural orientation of the majority of scientists contributes to this kind of statements spreading in their environment. It so happened that the Living Ethics and priest Florensky did not meet in space, though they realized themselves in the same time. But Florensky’s deeds and convictions are also penetrated with cosmic consciousness. Here is what S. Fudel who knew Florensky closely wrote: “His main achievement was that, having mastered all the equipment of contemporary to him scientific and religious and philosophic thought, he suddenly turned somehow this great sockdolager so that it found itself standing happily and obediently before the long ago opened door of cognition of the God. This “turn” is churching of the thought, return of intimidated, confused, and impoverished in deserts of seminaries religious thought to the treasures of beneficial knowledge. This is not a “scientific proof of the God’s being”, and not a rationalist attempt “to reconcile religion and science”, but some kind of placing the whole science to its highest place – under the starry sky of religious cognition… It seemed that, in just a short moment, botany, and mathematics, and physics, will start speaking to man in angel’s languages, using words characteristic of these exact sciences, but springing roots into the Eternity, washed there in the Imperishable Source”. .
From two constituent parts, religion and science, a qualitatively new system of cognition appears according to Florensky and the Living Ethics.
Florensky carried this synthesis in himself, he expressed it in his philosophic thought. That is why he embodies the trend in modern philosophy which is called evolutionary. It is still hard to say if our scientists will be able to penetrate into P. Florensky heritage as deeply as S. Fudel did.
Upon elimination of the Marxist doctrine ideological press in present time, a considerable flow of scientific literature covering problems of synthesis, and research of subtle phenomena, and other forms of cognition, started. Major scientists, such as Academicians B. Raushenbakh and A. Sakharov, outstanding physicists, have expressed untraditional for our science views on the role of religion and recognized its right for synthesis with science. “For the integral perception of the world, Raushenbakh wrote, it follows that science and religion do not contradict, but supplement each other, same as art does not contradict science, but supplements human world perception” . Remembering his talks with A. Sakharov, Rauchenbakh noted: “Sakharov believed that there is something beyond matter and its laws, something that makes the world warmer. And added: this feeling can be considered religious. If you understand religion as such a feeling that testifies to the sense of the Universe, says that the Universe is not a random collection of molecules or something else, but something having its sense, purpose, then very many people share this opinion” .
Extremely interesting processes are under way in our science, which are related to new approaches to solution of old tasks, to new comprehension of inexplicable before phenomena. But there is one peculiarity characteristic of scientists engaged in this sphere. Discovering new phenomena in the Universe, new energies and new states of matter, they so far remain in their usual, customary traditional space, and are not yet trying to go beyond its limits. Many of them do not find it necessary to turn to many-century cultural and spiritual elaborations, ancient philosophic thought, knowledge obtained not by way of logic or experiment. That is why, from time to time, invention of long existent “bicycles” takes place. There are, to my mind, two main reasons for that. One is insufficient cultural preparation of scientists themselves; irrespective of the field in which this or that scientist works, he just does not know about many things. It is not difficult to eliminate the first reason, though it will take time. The second reason is more complicated and is related not so much to information, but rather to psychic peculiarities of scientists themselves. Of course, they all have different psychology. But professional environment forms its psychological complexes. One of the most widely spread in the scientific environment complexes is the complex of superiority of science over any other spheres of knowledge. And when this complex is combined with far from the best human quality which the Living Ethics calls selfness, then it results in something that can be defined as superiority of selfness. In this case, it is difficult to make a scientist pay attention to something else what is not related to what he is doing himself. He will consider his doing the most important, and, what is especially sad, the most right. Then all other truths, methods, forms, and so on, just cease existing for him.
It often happens that a scientist even knowing of the Living Ethics, moving towards it, stops without approaching it. Many problems he tackles remain unsettled for him. He only lacks just that single step, having made which, he will be able to understand what is spiritual synthesis of cognition or what are the Laws of Cosmos according to which the Universe lives and develops. A most important task of the present period which can be characterized as transfer to a new evolutionary turn, is the necessity to introduce the Living Ethics into scientific use, make its energetic world outlook integral part of the new system of cognition methodology.
1. J. L. Portillo, D. Sodi, F. D. Infante. Quetzalcoatl. М., 1982. P. 174.
2. Fiery World. P. III, 60.
3. Nicholas Roerich. Diary Pages. In 3 v. М., 1996. V. 3. P. 84–85.
4. The report is made in 1997. – Editor.
5. V. Vernadsky. Reflections of a Natural Scientist: Scientific Thought as a Planetary Phenomenon.
М., 1977. Book 2. P. 111.
6. Vladimir Vernadsky: Life Story. Selected Studies. Contemporaries’ Recollections. Descendants’ Comments. М., 1993. С. 219, 270.
7. Chimia i Zhizn (Chemistry and Life). 1975. No. 1. P. 29.
8. P. Florensky. Writings. In 4 v. М., 1996. V. 2. P. 659.
9. S. Fudel. Recollections // Novy Mir (New World). 1991. No. 3. P. 201.
10. B. Raushenbakh. Predilection. М., 1997. P. 44.
11. Ibid. P. 40.