The Religious Mind Includes the Scientific Mind

A religious mind is free of all authority.  And it is extremely difficult to be free from authority–not only the authority imposed by another but also the authority of the experience that one has gathered, which is of the past, which is tradition.  And the religious mind has no beliefs; it has no dogmas; it moves from fact to fact, and therefore the religious mind is the scientific mind.  But the scientific mind is not the religious mind.  The religious mind includes the scientific, but the mind that is trained in the knowledge of science is not a religious mind.

A religious mind is concerned with the totality–not with a particular function, but with the total functioning of human existence.  The brain is concerned with a particular function; it specializes.  It functions in specialization as a scientist, a doctor, an engineer, a musician, an artist, a writer.  It is the specialized, narrowed-down techniques that create division, not only inwardly but outwardly.  The scientist is probably regarded as the most important man required by society just now, as is the doctor.  So function becomes all-important; and with it goes status, status being prestige.  So where there is specialization there must be contradiction and a narrowing-down, and that is the function of the brain.

The analogy I immediately come up with in comparing the religious mind and the scientific mind is absolute and relative mind.  The scientific mind breaks problems into smaller problems.  Nature doesn’t do this.  There are dilemmas in nature and there are only better that others answers, not a perfect match.  In Zen & Creative Management, Albert Low talks about how technology breaks things into smaller problems.  Again, nature doesn’t do that.  In reality, we face dilemmas.  The way to deal with this is Meditation.  He describes a term un reculer pour mieux sauter.”  It’s french for a kind of “recoiling.”  Nature does this when it hits a dead end.  Like a root hitting a large rock.  It backs up and find a new way, often better than before.  Meditation helps us do this.   It gives us some distance from our emotions and problems and we see a new way to deal with things.

Nature makes use of what may be called “un reculer pour mieux sauter,” a recoiling, in order to leap that much better. When nature’s evolutionary drive has reached a cul-de-sac, it withdraws and breaks out from a new point in a new direction. I am suggesting that Zazen is a discipline that uses un reculer pour mieux sauter; this approach provides greater facility in dealing with those organizational cul-de-sacs that are both frustrations and opportunities. Zazen seems to be as old as mankind; what is new today is its availability to the West, and specifically, its availability for dealing with the complex, multifaceted problems encountered in organizations. “

               ~ Albert Low


As in most posts on, italicization of words refers to the words of either Jiddu Krishnamurti or Albert Low.  The website writer’s words are in regular text.

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