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  Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences

    Abraham H. Maslow

        Chapter II.   Dichotomized Science and Dichotomized Religion

    My thesis is, in general, that new developments in psychology are forcing a profound change in our philosophy of science, a change so extensive that we may be able to accept the basic religious questions as a proper part of the jurisdiction of science, once science is broadened and redefined.
    It is because both science and religion have been too narrowly conceived, and have been too exclusively dichotomized and separated from each other, that they have been seen to be two mutually exclusive worlds. To put it briefly, this separation permitted nineteenth-century science to become too exclusively mechanistic, too positivistic, too reductionistic, too desperately attempting to be value-free. It mistakenly conceived of itself as having nothing to say about ends or ultimate values or spiritual values. This is the same as saying that these ends are entirely outside the range of natural human knowledge, that they can never be known in a confirmable, validated way, in a way that could satisfy intelligent men, as facts satisfy them.
    Such an attitude dooms science to be nothing more than technology, amoral and non-ethical (as the Nazi doctors taught us). Such a science can be no more than a collection of instrumentalities, methods, techniques, nothing but a tool to be used by any man, good or evil, and for any ends, good or evil (59).
    This dichotomizing of knowledge and values has also pathologized the organized religions by cutting them off from facts, from knowledge, from science, even to the point of often making them the enemies of scientific knowledge. In effect, it tempts them to say that they have nothing more to learn.
    But something is happening now to both science and religion, at least to their more intelligent and sophisticated representatives. These changes make possible a very different attitude by the less narrow scientist toward the religious questions, at least to the naturalistic, humanistic, religious questions. It might be said that this is simply one more instance of what has happened so often in the past, i.e., of snatching away another territory from the jurisdiction of organized religion.
    Just as each science was once a part of the body of organized religion but then broke away to become independent, so also it can be said that the same thing may now be happening to the problems of values, ethics, spirituality, morals. They are being taken away from the exclusive jurisdiction of the institutionalized churches and are becoming the "property," so to speak, of a new type of humanistic scientist who is vigorously denying the old claim of the established religions to be the sole arbiters of all questions of faith and morals.
    This relation between religion and science could be stated in such a dichotomous, competitive way, but I think I can show that it need not be, and that the person who is deeply religious—in a particular sense that 1 shall discuss—must rather feel strengthened and encouraged by the prospect that his value questions may he more firmly answered than ever before.
    Sooner or later, we shall have to redefine both religion and science.

    As always, dichotomizing pathologizes (and pathology dichotomizes). Isolating two interrelated parts of a whole from each other, parts that need each other, parts that are truly "parts" and not wholes, distorts them both, sickens and contaminates them (54). Ultimately, it even makes them non-viable. An illustration of this point can be found in Philip Wylie's fascinating novel The Disappearance. When men and women disappear into two separated, isolated worlds, both sexes become corrupted and pathologized. The point is driven home fully that they need each other in order to be themselves.
    When all that could be called "religious" (naturalistically as well as supernaturalistically) was cut away from science, from knowledge, from further discovery, from the possibility of skeptical investigation, from confirming and disconfirming, and, therefore, from the possibility of purifying and improving, such a dichotomized religion was doomed. It tended to claim that the founding revelation was complete, perfect, final, and eternal. It had the truth, the whole truth, and had nothing more to learn, thereby being pushed into the position that has destroyed so many churches, of resisting change, of being only conservative, of being anti-intellectual and anti-scientific, of making piety and obedience exclusive of skeptical intellectuality—in effect, of contradicting naturalistic truth.
    Such a split-off religion generates split-off and partial definition of all necessary concepts. For example, faith, which has perfectly respectable naturalistic meanings, as for example in Fromm's writings, tends in the hands of an anti-intellectual church to degenerate into blind belief, sometimes even "belief in what you know ain't so." It tends to become unquestioning obedience and last-ditch loyalty no matter what. It tends to produce sheep rather than men. It tends to become arbitrary and authoritarian (46).
    The word "sacred" is another instance of the pathologizing by isolation and by splitting-off. If the sacred becomes the exclusive jurisdiction of a priesthood, and if its supposed validity rests only upon supernatural foundations, then, in effect, it is taken out of the world of nature and of human nature. It is dichotomized sharply from the profane or secular and begins to have nothing to do with them, or even becomes their contradictory. It becomes associated with particular rites and ceremonies, with a particular day of the week, with a particular building, with a particular language, even with a particular musical instrument or certain foods. It does not infuse all of life but becomes compartmentalized. It is not the property then of all men, but only of some. It is no longer ever-present as a possibility in the everyday affairs of men but becomes instead a museum piece without daily usefulness; in effect, such a religion must separate the actual from the ideal and rupture the necessary dynamic interplay between them. The dialectic between them, the mutual effect and feedback, the constant shaping of each other, their usefulness to each other, even, I would say, their absolute need for each other is disrupted and made impossible of fulfillment. What happens then? We have seen often enough throughout history the church whose pieties are mouthed in the middle of human exploitation and degradation as if the one had nothing to do with the other ("Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's"). This pie-in-the-sky kind of religion, which often enough has turned into an actual support of daily evil, is almost inevitable when the existent has no intrinsic and constant connection with the ideal, when heaven is off some place far away from the earth, when human improvement becomes impossible in the world but can be achieved only by renouncing the world. "For endeavor for the better is moved by faith in what is possible, not by adherence to the actual," as John Dewey pointed out. (14, p. 23).
    And this brings us to the other half of the dichotomy, dichotomized science. Whatever we may say about split-off religion is very similar or complementary to what we may say of split-off science.
    For instance, in the division of the ideal and the actual, dichotomized science claims that it deals only with the actual and the existent and that it has nothing to do with the ideal, that is to say, with the ends, the goals, the purposes of life, i.e., with end-values. Any criticism that could be made of half-religion can equally be made of half-science in a complementary way. For instance, corresponding to the blind religions' "reduction to the abstract" (71)—its blindness to the raw fact, to the concrete, to living human experience itself—we find in non-aspiring science a "reduction to the concrete," of the kind that Goldstein has described (23, 24), and to the tangible and immediately visible and audible. It becomes amoral, even sometimes anti-moral and even anti-human, merely technology which can be bought by anyone for any purpose, like the German "scientists" who could work with equal zeal for Nazis, for Communists, or for Americans. We have been taught very amply in the last few decades that science can be dangerous to human ends and that scientists can become monsters as long as science is conceived to be akin to a chess game, an end in itself, with arbitrary rules, whose only purpose is to explore the existent, and which then makes the fatal blunder of excluding subjective experience from the realm of the existent or explorable.
    So also for the exclusion of the sacred and the transcendent from the jurisdiction of science. This makes impossible in principle the study, for instance, of certain aspects of the abstract: psychotherapy, naturalistic religious experience, creativity, symbolism, play, the theory of love, mystical and peak-experiences, not to mention poetry, art, and a lot more (since these all involve an integration of the realm of Being with the realm of the concrete).
    To mention only one example that has to do directly with education, it could be shown easily that the good teacher must have what I have called elsewhere B-love (unselfish love) for the child, what Rogers has called unconditional positive regard (82), and what others have called—meaningfully, I would maintain—the sacredness of each individual. To stigmatize these as "normative" or value-laden and, therefore, as "unscientific" concepts is to make impossible certain necessary researches into the nature of the good teacher.
    And so it could go on and on almost indefinitely. I have already written much on scientistic, nineteenth-century, orthodox science, and intend to write more. Here I have been dealing with it from the point of view of the dichotomizing of science and religion, of facts (merely and solely) from values (merely and solely), and have tried to indicate that such a splitting off of mutually exclusive jurisdictions must produce cripple-science and cripple-religion, cripple-facts and cripple-values.
    Obviously such a conclusion concerns the spiritual and ethical values that I started with (as well as the needs and hungers for these values). Very obviously, such values and such hungers cannot be handed over to any church for safekeeping. They cannot be removed from the realm of human inquiry, of skeptical examination, of empirical investigation. But I have tried to demonstrate that orthodox science neither wants this job nor is able to carry it out. Clearly what is needed then is an expanded science, with larger powers and methods, a science which is able to study values and to teach mankind about them.
    Such a science would and—insofar as it already exists—does include much that has been called religious. As a matter of fact, this expanded science includes among its concerns practically everything in religion that can bear naturalistic observation.
    I think I may go so far as to say that if we were to make a list of the key words which have hitherto been considered to be the property of organized religion and which were considered to be entirely outside the jurisdiction of "science" of the older sort, we would find that each and all of these words today are acquiring a perfectly naturalistic meaning, i.e., they are within the jurisdiction of scientific investigation. (See Appendix A.)
    Let me try to say it in still another way. One could say that the nineteenth-century atheist had burnt down the house instead of remodeling it. He had thrown out the religious questions with the religious answers, because he had to reject the religious answers. That is, he turned his back on the whole religious enterprise because organized religion presented him with a set of answers which he could not intellectually accept—which rested on no evidence which a self-respecting scientist could swallow. But what the more sophisticated scientist is now in the process of learning is that though he must disagree with most of the answers to the religious questions which have been given by organized religion, it is increasingly clear that the religious questions themselves—and religious quests, the religious yearnings, the religious needs themselves—are perfectly respectable scientifically, that they are rooted deep in human nature, that they can be studied, described, examined in a scientific way, and that the churches were trying to answer perfectly sound human questions. Though the answers were not acceptable, the questions themselves were and are perfectly acceptable, and perfectly legitimate.
    As a matter of fact, contemporary existential and humanistic psychologists would probably consider a person sick or abnormal in an existential way if he were not concerned with these "religious" questions.

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