partingsIn preceding posts we saw that Science and Spiritualism were inextricably conjoined from earliest times right till the Middle Ages. The suffocating atmosphere created by the rise of religious dogma and orthodoxy and intolerance of any thought that went contrary to it, finally led to a growing desire among  free thinkers to be rid of the shackles of religion and charter an independent course.

The European Renaissance helped in affecting that escape, even if this was only through harking back to a glorification of ancient Greece and Rome, the great thinkers of antiquity. On the other hand the Protestant Reformation carried forward the revolution in thinking to rid itself of the shackles of an unwelcome period of human non-development. The human scientific temper extricated itself from the shell and moved out. The scientific bent split from its natural other half spiritualism which had become increasingly, if mistakenly associated with religious dogmatism, and now stood apart. By the time we reach the Age of Enlightenment in the eighteenth century the enthusiasm and fervour to prevent a recurrence of the suffocating experience of the Middle Ages had already produced a profound schism between science and spiritualism. Henceforth, science shunned spiritual insight and inspiration and devised methodologies and stratagems to make the division permanent and irreversible.

Science now became  secular, employing empirical research, evidence and proof as the sole processes for its progress. By the time we reach the Age of Enlightenment in the eighteenth century the two had moved apart and begun to charter their separate and divergent courses over succeeding centuries. Religious dogma loosing little of its intolerance and scientific knowledge distancing itself from its other half, developing only the results of secular research through the evidence of calculable proofs. In the process, science inevitably began to ignore and shun areas of  metaphysics, parapsychology and paranormal phenomena, relegating them to the realms of conjecture and fancy. Thus science once part of religion turned its back on spiritual inspiration.

Religion though suffering a grievous loss at the surgical amputation of the scientific temper and plagued by its own dogma carried on its activities in splendid isolation. Spiritualism, on the other hand, being a basic element of human nature and the mental process, continued as a force in its own rights within the psyche, urging, probing and seeking realisation, sometimes through religious inspiration and within the mould of religion, at others outside any definite framework through mystical and metaphysical inspiration of individuals and esoteric groups. Spiritualism like science, one may say, had also more or less broken free from the confines of religious doctrine and dogma.