The Supernatural and the Natural

In the old days a number of scientific facts held with them purely supernatural explanations.  And then as mankind became more analytical and scientifically minded, there was a refreshing period of naturalized phenomena that allowed us to progress a great deal.  As reason pervaded textbooks and the mainstream thought, the supernatural was held as a relic of the past that was no longer needed.  But then something incredible happened.  Soon scientists realized that the world of purely natural explanations had large gaps in it that required explanations far outside of the norm in order to understand.  The supernatural had snapped back with a vengeance and reminded humanity of just how little we truly could prove.

It’s interesting to think that the cutting edge of science today borders in many respects on the magical or the mystical.  In quantum physics, a world we are only barely beginning to understand we are realizing every day that there are factors in the universe around us that do not have a naturalized explanation and require an almost mystical approach in order to study.  The understanding of the space-time continuum of the 1950’s dictated that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light.  And yet today we have a firm understanding that on a quantum level not only can something travel with seeming infinite speed, but can apparently exist in two places at the same time.  Quantum entanglement suggests that we could even communicate over vast distances with the information apparently not traveling at all.  And yet some scientists believe wholeheartedly that concepts such as life after death, time travel, and even alien visitation can be ruled out entirely based on our limited understanding of the universe around us.  Such hubris is precisely what the scientific establishment once rebelled against and yet somehow finds its way into this very institution in order to maintain a fast understanding that cannot apparently be toppled.  The real question becomes not what can we discover, but what can we ever truly prove to ourselves forever?

The word supernatural itself brings up an interesting question.  Are we to then assume that we have a firm grasp of what the natural world should look like and then treat thus far misunderstood concepts such as life after death and the communication between spiritual entities of an incorporeal nature as though they were any different from gravity, time, or any other established law of physics?  It seems likely that though these concepts would be often misunderstood that it is possible to discover their nature without fully understanding it entirely.  An understanding of gravity did not begin when we proved it mathematically, but rather when we observed it and accepted that “something” was happening to keep humans on Earth.  So too should scientists reaffirm their sense of wonder and humility in order to pursue the facts of the universe with the eyes filled with curiosity rather than judgment.  The word “natural” implies that there are things that are beyond natural.  If a deceased creature returns in a spiritual form to be observed by the living, there is no indication that doing so is something beyond the realm of nature.