Revised edition, © 1997 by Daniel Drasin. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a revised and abridged edition of an essay that has appeared in various publications between 1991 and 2015 (reproduced in this form with the author's permission). Full text of current version
So you've had a close encounter with a UFO. Or a serious interest in the subject of extramundane life. Or a passion for following clues that seem to point toward the existence of a greater reality. Mention any of these things to most working scientists and be prepared for anything from patronizing skepticism to merciless ridicule. After all, science is supposed to be a purely hardnosed enterprise with little patience for "expanded" notions of reality. Right?
Like all systems of truth seeking, science, properly conducted, has a profoundly expansive, liberating impulse at its core. This "Zen" in the heart of science is revealed when the practitioner sets aside arbitrary beliefs and cultural preconceptions, and approaches the nature of things with "beginner's mind." When this is done, reality can speak freshly and freely, and can be heard more clearly. Appropriate testing and objective validation can--indeed, *must*--come later.
Seeing with humility, curiosity and fresh eyes was once the main point of science. But today it is often a different story. As the scientific enterprise has been bent toward exploitation, institutionalization, hyperspecialization and new orthodoxy, it has increasingly preoccupied itself with disconnected facts in a psychological, social and ecological vacuum. So disconnected has official science become from the greater scheme of things, that it tends to deny or disregard entire domains of reality and to satisfy itself with reducing all of life and consciousness to a dead physics.
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Daniel Drasin is a writer and media producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.