For the atheist and many scientists, the question of who are we? Has always been elusive. Something which has managed to escape the hold of science. Many are still trying to answer this question. Where religion has given an answer to this centuries before. Scientists who see themselves as being above the rhetoric of ‘religion’ are still in darkness. Their stubbornness to shun religion and the answers it has to these fundamental questions, means they are no nearer to answering these questions. Than where they were a millennia ago.
BBC’s Horizon programme “The Secret you’ wishes to discuss this age-old question in a new light. With the help of technology and new break troughs in scientific research. Dr Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy, aims to give answers from a mathematicians point of view. Showing the close relationship between science and maths in solving this “unbreakable” riddle of life. Being an atheist himself, Dr Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy displays the typical image of the irony facing the atheist. A being who rejects the divine ‘unseen’ factors of life to the plain and clear. He rejects any theory which seem to suggest that unforseen factors may in fact be at play within us. What i found most strange watching this programme is, the length at which an atheist will go to reject any assumption of ‘otherworldly influence’ in a person’s body. Although the science clearly points towards that direction, Dr Marcus Francis du Sautoy tries to reject what religion calls ‘the soul’. In his opinion, the soul is just neurological activities stimulated by our nerves systems in our brains. And that, when we die, well, we die. That’s it. . I remember the quranic ayah(s) which says, when Allah stamps the heart of a person, no guidance will seep through into his or her sealed heart. – A heart which has become sealed to guidance and divine help, due a person’s persistence in evil!
Dr Marcus Francis du Sautoy learns at what age our self-awareness emerges and whether other species share this trait. Next, he has his mind scrambled by a cutting-edge experiment in anaesthesia. Having survived that ordeal, Marcus is given an out-of-body experience in a bid to find his true self. And in Hollywood, he learns how celebrities are helping scientists understand the microscopic activities of our brain. Finally, he takes part in a mind-reading experiment that both helps explain and radically alters his understanding of who he is.
More specifically, what caught my eye in the programme was the virtual camera headset experiment. An experiment set up by Swedish scientists which allow a person to literally have outer body experience. At 33 mins into the programme, ‘A secret you’, Dr Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy has a ‘hands-on’ experience using the virtual headset. Which allows him to see himself from another point of view. With the help of two cameras attached to an extension line and placed elsewhere in the room. So, instead of seeing through his usual eyes. He sees through the camera lens attached to the virtual headset, placed elsewhere. Literally seeing his own body sitting in front of him. It gives the impression that he is looking at someone else’s body, and not his own. What transpires in the experiment is amazing. The concept of the soul being encased in the body is truly demonstrated in this experiment. What we think is our body is in actual fact, proven by this experiment, to be a mere vehicle for our souls, or “consciousness” as science calls it. What was traditionally seen as a supernatural experience can now be done by science, with the help of technology.
In many respects the atheists and the scientists are in a dilemma, a dilemma which puts them at a predicament. Since they cannot accept the idea there may be life after death. Any indication which presents itself with the possibility of this, is outright rejected. So, if neurological experiments are leaning towards the concept of there being a ‘soul’, which drives the human body. It will be rejected. Watching the programme, i felt sorry for Dr Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy. People like him are always displaying the contradictory images within their lives. The misery they live in, having to constantly battle against themselves. Against the very nature of their existence, and seek answers to fill the void left within them by rejecting the divine religions. Man by his essence is created to worship and believe. To fill his inner with the divine remembrance. If he wishes to reject his very essence he will feel empty and continue to struggle. Struggle to understand himself, why he is here, and ultimately, what his purpose is in life. I find it strange how, having advanced in science and technology in our time and age. These very basic questions of who we are? where we came from? why we are here? has not been satisfactorily answered. Science is still struggling to answer them. Despite claiming to have the knowledge and answers to everything!