Science Needs an Open Mind

Xi Hu

PureInsight | February 4, 2002

To speak of science, the first question that we need to answer is, what is science?

Does science equate to formulas on a blackboard? Or is it theorems and scientific laws in books? Maybe, it’s programs running on a computer?

My personal opinion is that all of the above are just manifestations on the surface. They do not represent genuine science. Genuine science should be humans’ description and understanding of the objective laws to which the universe, life and the material world conforms.

The words “description” and “understanding” indicate that humans actually don’t know the real reason why things progress. They are merely analysing it using their past experiences, current theories and logic. This analysis may be correct, and it also may not. In addition, it may appear to be one thing on the surface, but in actuality the nature of the matter hasn’t even been remotely revealed. Nevertheless, in the many years of knowledge accumulation, people have gradually formed a system of how to analyse things and solve problems. They find the system to be quite reasonable and begin to trust it entirely. As a result, they no longer seek to verify whether the system really explains the laws of how things work. This is the contemporary empirical science that man currently knows and relies on.

The contemporary science was built on observation, experience, monitoring, logic, and rationalizing. However, the foundation itself is incomplete and lacking.

Let’s take some experiences as an example. Modern math and physics were built on a series of common laws, common hypothesis and theorems, all of which have come from experience. Maybe you recall in elementary math and physics there were some common laws. What are common laws? They are laws that were recognized to be correct by the public. To quote the school teachers’ words, they were laws that “don’t need to be proven correct.” However, are these publicly recognized laws entirely correct? For example, “the sum of all three inner angles in a triangle equals 180 degrees.” This conclusion may seem to be unquestionable correct, but when people really measured the world they found the law to be wrong. A triangle made up of two longitude lines and a latitude line has a sum of all three angles greater than 180 degrees, as shown in the following illustration. The reason for this phenomenon is that the earth’s surface is curved. This triangle doesn’t really exist in one plain, but is part of the curved surface of the earth. But are any of the plains we see really plains? Is the surface of a lake, a desk or a piece of paper really a plain? They are all on this curved surface of the earth, thus it’s impossible for a triangle on any of these surfaces to have a sum of all three angles equal 180 degrees exactly. Later on, Riemann Geometry was developed based on this understanding. It is worth noting that the mathematician Gauss had reached this same conclusion after he had conducted similar research. However, Gauss hid his finding for 16 years because he was afraid of being laughed at for the surface absurdness of this new geometry. This example shows that theories we deem absolutely correct are not necessarily always completely right. It’s possible that the theories are only correct in a very restricted environment, under certain conditions, and within a small boundary. If we applied them beyond this boundary, there would be discrepancies. In an even larger scope, the theories may even be completely wrong and fall apart.

Let’s take a look at monitoring. Current experimental science was established on the basis of monitoring. At a macro level, these tests may seem to work well. However, on a micro level, they don’t work at all. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in quantum mechanics resulted in the inability for such tests to obtain an accurate outcome at a micro level. In other words, the current scientific methods for measurement no longer work. This is because the methods only work based on the understanding of a restricted environment. Once beyond their environment they become incapable of detecting things at a more micro level.

This experimental science fits well with many people’s notion of “seeing is believing” and “not believing in what can’t be seen.” Nevertheless are these notions scientific themselves? Not necessarily. Take the human eye as an example. In the spectrum of waves that we can detect, we can only see with our naked eyes a very small portion of it (380nm to 720nm). Beyond this wave band, our human eyes are unable to see it. But our not being able to see it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. What we see with our human eyes (within the frequencies that we can see) may be quite different from the appearance at other frequencies. If a person has X-ray eyes, when he looks at people, he sees bones. Before people understood X-rays, who would have been able to believe this image? So, does that mean that because we can’t see with our naked eyes the state of existence under X-ray, we can deny such a state of existence? Along the same line, contemporary science’s understanding of waves (light) at other frequencies is quite limited. Only very small segments of it are being monitored. If one day, humans could have eyes that could see at different frequencies and could examine the world from a larger angle. I think what would be seen would be quite different, and it may mean we could see things in another world. Furthermore, now people realize that frequencies are demonstrations of energy. If we are able to use this concept as it relates to spectrum, doesn’t it mean that what people can see is the material demonstration of certain energy, and people can’t see the material demonstration of higher energy? It would require a pair of eyes that fits that energy world to see it.

People may not be able to even fully understand the messages contained in things that we can see with our naked eyes. I’ll use the following two photos as an example. The first photo is the starry sky taken with a space telescope. It’s not that different from stars in a normal dark sky. However, when we applied digital techniques to adjust the picture using gamma waves, we got the picture on the right, in which there is a beautiful nebula. It is not that the original image didn’t have this nebula. Actually the original image already contained these messages, but humans are unable to see it. When we enhance and extract these messages, we obtained amazing results. This example shows that there are a lot of messages and information that may be around us, but we fail to see or realize their existence. It’s not because we haven’t come into contact with them, nor were they not shown to people. Some of these messages can be revealed after we process it using our knowledge. However, what we know is very limited, which means there is a tremendous amount of information that we can’t recognize. We can’t hastily deny the objective existence of things we don’t know because of our limited methods of detection and identification

As a matter of fact, real scientists have very open minds. Twenty years ago I had an undergraduate reading material 'One two three... infinity, by G. Gamov', at my bedside, which, when I peruse again now discover that there are many pictures that are very interesting. For example, the existence of a donkey and tiny people in a flat two-dimensional paper surface, which reminds me of a leather-silhouette show in China. Let us take a moment to think about this. What if every leather-silhouette in the show is really alive and capable of thinking? To them this is their way of life, a life with happiness and sadness. Every moment of their existence and everything happening to them appears to be a natural occurrence. They might never realise that there are humans manipulating them with strings and crossbars. They could even be enjoying their existence! Wait a minute! We should not look down at these tiny people. Could it be that we are similar to these tiny people? The only difference being that we live in a three dimensional world. Maybe, we are also being manipulated by higher beings with strings and crossbars? No one can say that this is might not be true.

Let us examine the picture below. The drawing depicts the result of the short duration of human existence on the time axis. What if we project our thought a little further, and not only consider this short duration but also extend the time axis. Then we will be able to see our birth, growth, learning, work...everything in the past will appear on that axis. But wait! Is there only the past? Is the axis only uni-directional? If it is bi-directional, there must be future co-ordinates as well. What then does this signify? If our existence is already on the axis of time, then our existence is already denoted on the co-ordinates of time. What then does this indicate? It indicates fate.

There may be some who cannot accept the concept of fate. Let us return to the two-dimensional world of the tiny people. Please refer to the picture. A person manipulates the object that is projected on the two-dimensional surface. Things then change in this two dimensional world. To the two-dimensional tiny people, the effect of the changes could be immense. Then what would the person in the two-dimension world think about the three dimensional person who is manipulating him? Wouldn’t he believe that this person is a god! Looking at it from this angle, our existence in this three-dimension world is also a projection from a higher level. Therefore, we might consider the higher level beings who manipulate our lives in this dimension as gods as well!

Let us look at another picture. From it we can feel the broadmindedness of the scientists who truthfully pursue science. In the picture, the galaxy and planets in that universe are moving in the human organs. Let us take a broader perspective. If it were really like that, wouldn’t the organised system be a larger life form? A giant perhaps, or maybe a god. To him, a slight movement of his body would cause the galaxies and earth in his body to be in turmoil.

When we talk about gods and fate, there will be people who will label them as superstition and reject them. In fact, human beings are constantly reassessing themselves. Past concepts may not be absolutely correct. Conversely, what was rejected previously may not be absolutely wrong as well. What humans do not understand at present is too numerous and vast. If we reject everything that cannot be explained as false then we are only confining ourselves. This inturn will stop us from progressing any further.

Whatever humans cannot understand or identify does not necessarily make something non-existent. For example, I met a lady from Ireland who told me a story of an experience of hers that occurred more than twenty years ago. At a young age, she went to a fortune teller to predict her future. She was told that she would one day live in a country with two adjacent islands and she sketched the shapes of the two islands onto her hand. Later, she migrated to New Zealand. One day she suddenly realised that the sketch depicted the North and South islands of New Zealand! Phenomena such as these are occurring around us. Can we blindly shut our eyes and deny their existence?

There is astrology in both the East and the West. The ancient Chinese used to observe the celestial phenomena of the night skies, which was really very reasonable. It was because of the theory of the Dao School, which stipulated a unity between heaven and humans, that they believed astrological occurrences would be reflected on earth. In ancient China, many things were based on natural systems like herbal medicine, acupuncture, internal energy, martial arts, moral principles and ethics. Included in this was the understanding of all living things in the universe. These were all concepts stemming from the unity of heaven and humans. If we acknowledge that science describes the regular objective patterns that exist in our world then the type of knowledge of ancient China should also be known as a scientific discipline, which is not the same as our present day science. Although, western science is now the predominant science, it does not necessarily mean that all other sciences are wrong. Though many things have been sneered and mocked at, they have tenaciously survived to this day. Why do these sciences have such great durability? Is it not worth our deep contemplation?

Though there is a record of thousands of years of development, they are but miniscule. The realm that can be explored is but a drop in the ocean. A Greek philosopher once said that acquiring knowledge is like drawing a circle. The larger the circle, the more unknown domain would be encountered. It must be said that a true scholar or a true scientist possesses an open mind. They will not just steadfastly embrace their own existing concepts and they will not just oppose whatever they do not understand. Nevertheless, there are certain people in society today who believe that they know everything, arrogantly defying all that they consider wrong. They will oppose anything that does not conform to their concepts, or is not found in their textbooks. They will even go to the extent of attacking and labelling them as 'false science.' In fact, these people, no matter what title, academic or doctorate qualifications they posses, are but laymen in the field of science. They basically do not understand the quintessence of science -- being open minded and probing unknown territories. They are similar to the buffoons who condemned and rebuked Riemann geometry.

From ancient times, mankind has tried to use various kinds of understandings to describe objective patterns. They could never substantiate their claims. They have no way of covering the flaws of their theories. They can only use the inadequacies of science to cover up their inability to explain mysterious phenomena. Nevertheless, amidst this dense fog, Falun Dafa was presented before me. The connotation of Falun Dafa is different from the religious holy books that are indistinct and ambiguous. It is also different from the vagueness of mythology, or the narrowness of modern science. All the mysterious points of view and all the uncertain explanations and phenomenon are included in Dafa. In the midst of Dafa cultivators are brilliant and intelligent specialised scholars. If our readers consider themselves open minded, please put down your prejudices and read the books of Falun Dafa and experiences reported by Dafa practitioners, you may discover an entirely new world. Please treasure such a golden opportunity!

"If human beings can change their rigid mentality and have a new understanding of themselves and the cosmos, they will make a leap forward. The Buddha Law can provide mankind with an insight into the immeasurable and boundless worlds. Throughout the ages, nothing but the Buddha Law has been able to give a perfect and clear exposition of human beings, all different dimensions of material existence, life and the entire cosmos." (From "Lun Yu" in Zhuan Falun)

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