Science is the repeating cycle of observations, hypothesis, and experiments, each one informing the next. If this is so, then mental phenomena are just as much a field for science as physical phenomena. Yet, modern science has much more to say about the physical world than the mental world. This gap between the mental and physical represents the incompleteness of science.
Science has progressed horizontally by learning about the physical world in excruciating detail, yet it seems to have hit a wall. As we study smaller and smaller bits of matter, the mental world seems to intrude on the physical. Our experiments are whispering their great secret to us: The next great leap in science will not be horizontal, but vertical - a leap in consciousness, not matter.
Today, despite the great achievements of science, we do not have complete definitions of energy, mass, or matter. What physicality is in itself is also not defined. How deep and complete could our science possibly be when its most fundamental variables are incompletely known? Although in many cases we are aware that our understanding is incomplete, what we do not know is just how incomplete it is. What is unknown may in fact be a much greater proportion of the picture than we currently estimate.
These are not simply scientific or philosophical challenges. These are practical. Healthcare today is relying on medical science that is outdated by about a century. Our patients reap the results of that outdated understanding. Despite our collective knowledge, we have not been moving the needle enough. It is not because we cannot, but because we are not looking in the best place for our solutions.
Given all we have learned about the external world, the next place we must explore is the internal world of consciousness. It is only rational to recognize that the instrument of knowing is just as important as the object of knowledge. The violin is as important as the music it plays. The shovel is as important as the ground it clears. So too, the mind is as important as the information it interprets. It is high time that those within the scientific community, including my own colleagues in healthcare, recognize that our partial approach to science is incomplete at best, and in some cases harmful.
The road to a more complete science begins with exploring our own personal consciousness. Take a moment to press <pause>. . . take a few easy breaths, and simply give attention to your own mind - watch your thoughts rise, sustain, and fall away. This is the doorway.
-Anoop Kumar, MD, MM
Anoop Kumar is the author of the upcoming book The Three Bodies: How redefining the human being can transform your health and reinvent healthcare. He is a practicing emergency physician in the DC Metro area.