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Science and rationalism

There is a close relationship between rationalism and modern science; the latter is at fault not in concerning itself solely with the finite, but in seeking to reduce the Infinite to the finite, and consequently in taking no account of Revelation, an attitude which is, strictly speaking, inhuman; what we reproach modern science for is that it is inhuman - or infra-human - and not that it has no knowledge of the facts which it studies, even though it deliberately ignores certain of their modalities. It believes that it is possible to approach total knowledge of the world - which after all is indefinite - by what can only be a finite series of discoveries, as if it were possible to exhaust the inexhaustible.

And what is to be said of the pretentiousness which sets out to "discover" the ultimate causes of existence, or of the intellectual bankruptcy of those who seek to subject their philosophy to the results of scientific research? A science of the finite cannot legitimately occur outside a spiritual tradition, for intelligence is prior to its objects, and God is prior to man; an experiment which ignores the spiritual link characterizing man no longer has anything human about it; it is thus in the final analysis as contrary to our interests as it is to our nature; and "ye shall know them by their fruits."

A science of the finite has need of a wisdom which goes beyond it and controls it, just as the body needs a soul to animate it, and the reason an intellect to illumine it. The "Greek miracle" with its so-called "liberation of the human spirit" is in reality nothing but the beginning of a purely external knowledge, cut off from genuine Sophia.(1) [Stations of Wisdom, p. 26-27].

(1) It is said that Einstein, for example, revolutionized the vision of the world as Galileo or Newton had done before him, and that the usual conceptions which he overturned - those of space, time, light and matter - are "as naive as those of the Middle Ages"; but then there is nothing to guarantee that his theory of relativity will not bejudged naive in its turn, so that, in profane science, it is never possible to escape the vicious circle of "naivety."

Moreover, what could be more naive than to seek to enclose the Universe in a few mathematical formulae, and then to be surprised to find that there always remains an elusive and apparently "irrational" element which evades all attempts to "bring it to heel"?

We shall no doubt be told that not all scientists are atheists, but this is not the question, since atheism is inherent in science itself, in its postulates and its methods. The Einsteinian theories on mass, space and time are of a nature to demonstrate the fissures in the physical universe, but only a metaphysician can profit from them; science unconsciously provides keys, but is incapable of making use of them, because intellectuality cannot be replaced by something outside itself. The theory of relativity illustrates of necessity certain aspects of metaphysics, but does not of itself open up any higher perspective; the way in which Euclidean geometry is improperly relativized goes to prove this. On the one hand the philosophical point of view trespasses on science, and on the other the scientific point of view trespasses on metaphysics.

As for the Einsteinian postulate of a transmathematical absolute, this absolute is not supra-conscious: it is not therefore more than ourselves and could not be the Cause of our intelligence; Einstein's "God" remains blind just as his relativized universe remains physical: one might as well say that it is nothing. Modern science has nothing it can tell us - and this not by accident but by principle - about the miracle of consciousness and all that is connected with it, from the most minute particles of consciousness to be found in creation up to the pure and trans-personal Intellect.