Sir Arthur Eddington was an outstanding English Astronomer and theoretical scientist of the twentieth century. He had keen interest in philosophy and in science and religion. Eddington criticizes the attitude of glorifying science and vivifying mysticism. Eddington talks about a World-Spirit which in some ways seems to take the place of the traditional idea of God. He believes that science can lead us to this World-Spirit. He observes, “The idea of universal mind or Logos would be, I think, fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory; at least it is in harmony with it.” Just as no scientist thinks or speaks of his wife as a collection of elementary particles or a conglomeration of quarks, we cannot reduce God to scientific categories alone. Hence there is need for taking recourse to religious vision. Unlike many other scientists, Eddington is not opposed to the personal dimension of God. For him, the scientific and religious convictions should emphasize the personal aspect of God. We must be able “to approach the World-Spirit in the midst of our cares and duties in that simpler relation of spirit-to-spirit, in which all true religion finds expression.” Since he recommends a spirit-to-spirit interaction, for Eddington, God should be a personal one.
Eddington held the view that science addresses the measurable world and spirituality addresses the invisible world. Both have their source in the divine and are rooted in beauty and truth. It is unique to Eddington that brilliantly united aesthetic, scientific and spiritual aspects of our existence. It is equally important the mystical flavour of his mind broke away from the traditional religious boundaries. He advocated freedom of exploration.
Eddington considered the celestial world and the mind within as real wonders “ The wonder and humility we feel in the contemplation of the stars; the majesty of the infinitely great, the marvel of the infinitely small Mind,” are the first and most direct things in our experience.” He continues: The idea of a universal Mind, or Logos, would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of theory. Mind, however, perceives two realms, the physical and the spiritual.In the mystic sense of the creation around us, in the expression of art, in a yearning towards God, the soul grows upward and finds the fulfilment of something planted in its nature.The desire for truth so prominent in the quest of science, a reaching out of the spirit from its isolation to something beyond, a response to beauty in nature and art, an Inner Light of conviction and guidance! The human spirit belongs to the unseen world.The soul is reaching out to the unseen world.”
Augustine Pamplany CST