“All great aesthetic and spiritual sensations: transcendence, awe, wonder, bliss, are not diminished, but are enhanced by taking a naturalistic view of the universe. By ruthlessly purging what is false, and relentlessly pursuing what is true, Science, far from being the enemy of spirituality as it is often portrayed, in fact offers the very best route to spirituality. This is what Carl Sagan taught me.” – James Croft
Spirituality is a fuzzy word which obscures as much as it reveals. Many people claim to be “spiritual, but not religious”. Meanwhile, many view science as that it is incompatible with any sense of spirituality. However, James Croft believes that Carl Sagan’s approach to science was embedded within an ethical and existential framework that can best be described as “spiritual”. One which holds a sense of possibility, of wonder of the magnitude of not just the universe, but of the human potential to make meaning within it.
How can a scientific worldview be spiritual, if at all? Should science concern itself just with discovering truth, or with the pursuit of meaning as well? If we shouldn’t call this approach and framework “spiritual”, how else can we describe it?