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Charles, G.P. (2001). Spirituality, Science and Transformation Versus Frozen Boundaries of Belief Systems. Free Associations, 8(4):653-677.

(2001). Free Associations, 8(4):653-677

Spirituality, Science and Transformation Versus Frozen Boundaries of Belief Systems1

Gouranga P. Charles

It is hypothesized that the basis of spirituality is the ability to question one's experiences. This ability is derived from a mind-set which is usually termed as faith. Scientific investigation in any field of human behaviour also arises out of this ability, and to that extent spirituality and science may be thought of as going hand in hand, though in popular perception the two are considered as very different processes. Belief, on the other hand, springs from assumptions that are often considered to be beyond question. Both magic and religion appear to be based on the latter, though in essence they differ. It may well be that some culture traits (processes) get categorised as magic because those who term these processes as magic fail to question their own assumptions about what is rational and what is irrational, what is probable and what is improbable. Two corollary hypotheses can now be formulated. First, the frontiers of spirituality and science expand forever because to ask questions, the ‘impossible’ questions in particular, is to challenge the validity of accepted boundaries. In other words, boundaries undergo transformation, a process which takes place on the basis of faith. Institutions, on the other hand, whether religious, socio-economic or political, are in the business of upholding the notion of frozen boundaries since they are based on belief systems. Hence, whereas spirituality and science can undergo transformation, institutions can only go through change, which is a process of compromise based on a tension between the old and the new.

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