Delusion!

Anti-cyclical behavior is recommended among economists. When the economy is flourishing, it should reduce debt, but in times of decline, it should rather stimulate business by incurring debt. As far as I am concerned, acting counter-cyclically seemed advisable to me amid the current corona crisis. Seeing all around me people who want to save the world and themselves from the virus, I decided to save myself from thinking about the virus, lest it should not only infect my body but perhaps even my brain. In this state of forced self-isolation what could be better than to turn it into a time of self-contemplation?

Eight years ago, I had put aside a manuscript to which I had been inspired by reading Richard Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion” – a world bestseller which owed its success to taking a clear-cut position regarding two primary topics. The first: religions are – according to Dawkins – not merely superfluous but constitute a positive danger – probably the greatest that man ever faced. Throughout history, religions tended to defend false knowledge with utter fanaticism. They set authority and command against personal thinking, thus subjugating the individual instead of calling him to maturity.

With equal determination the British biologist defends his second basic thesis. Today man finally started the epoch of victorious science that puts an end to millennia of religious madness. Science is able to solve all questions that up to then seemed unsolvable.

I assume that the problem of coronavirus if not solved in this year by medical science, will be solved in one of the years to come. But no one will be naive enough to assume that humanity will eventually reach a stage where it will have solved all problems. It would probably consider such a stage, if it were possible at all, to be as unbearable as the problems themselves. Would it not bring about a standstill of all thinking and acting?

In my endeavor to think anticyclically about such questions, I remembered that Albert Einstein – certainly a match for Richard Dawkins both in rank and range of mind – had a very different relationship to religion, and that this also applies to other great physicists such as Niels Bohr, Max Born, David Bohm or Erwin Schrödinger. I picked up the manuscript and the title was immediately found:

The Dawkins Delusionas seen by Mystic Universalism and its most famous advocate: Albert Einstein

As you may see, I could not renounce my penchant for polemics, although I had read with great suspense Dawkins’ very knowledgeable, intellectually stimulating book, which furthermore is sometimes enlivened by British wit. Dawkins’ delusion lies at a different place – a place where most of us may easily detect it in themselves. Dawkins clearly sees the mote in the eye of his opponent. But he fails to see the beam in his own. His exalted hymn of science suffers from a serious shortcoming. He is blind to the fact that science is at its greatest, when it is critically against itself. That is why my rather anti-cyclical book is about the limits of both religion and scientific knowledge and what area might exist beyond those limits. My intent is specified on the back cover:

Humanity invented two universal languages that have been understood at all times and on all continents – the language of facts (today named science) and the language of intuition (mystic universalism), but both have been and are being misused for the purpose of power. Power religion and power science distorted man’s world view. It is time for critical science to get aware of the limits of reason and for self-critical religion to go back to its mystical origins. This should not be understood as a rejection of the sharp intelligence of Richard Dawkins, but rather as criticism of power delusions.

The subtitle of the German edition asks the question: “Duel between science and religion?” We know that this duel has been going on since the 17th century. It will certainly not come to an end with Dawkins – to this very day power-science and power-religion are unreconciled and irreconcilable. But there is no antagonism between critical science and self-critical religion, namely mystic universalism. Aldous Huxley had described mysticism as “Philosophia perennis”: an eternal and universal philosophy. What is it that makes the mysticism of the Upanishads, Islam, Zen and Christianity so similar to critical science? The book wants to give an answer to this question.

P.S: I published the book in German and English on Amazon, both in Kindle format and as a paperback edition. I am, of course, aware that among my readers there may be quite a few, who shy away from a purchase at Amazon. I also admit that there are good reasons to do so, but on the other hand we should not forget that Amazon as a publishing house is probably the only institution that offers access to everyone who can write and design a book, i.e. the only really democratic publishing house. A critical, knowledgeable, unprejudiced editor in a renowned publishing house is irreplaceable, I admit, but how many publishers can still afford this luxury today? Most of them encourage their editors to base their judgement on expected sales figures. But those who write about mystic universalism and critical science are addressing thoughtful people, i.e. a tiny minority. In other words, I am grateful to Amazon for offering a platform to my thoughts.