Bertrand Russell’s said that that ‘if something can’t be proved scientifically, it doesn't exist’. How dumb can geniuses be! Notwithstanding that this can’t be proved to be true, it is a rather terrible dogma, and leaves humanity without a rudder. Just because transcendental experience can’t be proved scientifically, doesn't mean it isn't real or vitally important.
The ‘varieties of religious experience’ have become taboo and cannot be spoken of freely in the ‘scientific society’ that Bertrand dreamed of. Nevertheless, people continue to have them. Just because one doesn't have or doesn't know about such experiences, doesn't mean that they are not plainly obvious to other people. If a frog had never seen the ocean, this is no proof that the ocean doesn't exist.
And yet those of us who know that there is an ocean — i.e. something larger than the what can be observed though the instruments of science — feel that Russell is an intelligent moron. His arguments may be eloquent and convincing, but he also sounds like the shrill frog who wants to protect his corner of his well.
Russell was guilty of having totalising world view— the same kind he despised among the fundamentalists. And yet a scientific moron can be as dumb as the religious moron — even if he or she is a genius. Dumb people can be geniuses in one realm, while being total idiots in another — which is why professors sometimes have their shirts hanging out of their lime green trousers. Some people live entirely in abstraction — in their minds not their bodies.
Perhaps Russell was totally deaf and blind to the world of the sublime, and to what all traditional people have called the soul. A wise person, as opposed to a mere genius, is in touch with a spiritual dimension of reality.
Incidentally, it seems that the country of England excels in producing these types of geniuses: from Russell to Orwell and Dawkins, and even Darwin and Marx. They have created powerful ideologies, discovered fantastic laws of nature, but are sceptical about the spiritual domain and lack any a deep aesthetic imagination.
Better study Shakespeare and Blake and even the King James bible for spiritual substance — or cross over the pond to Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. The English language has tremendous spiritual and poetic power; on the other hand, it can also be the most abstract and technical — removed from the cosmic dimension of reality—and that is the problem here.
People talk about the surface of the pond: they become expert dancers there, but their philosophies turn out to be chimeras. The Bertrand Russell of the world are attractive to people who enjoy mental games but will not wrestle with soul or depth or spiritual substance. Their main virtue is negative: they tear down constructs without leaving any real direction. Let us not go down that dark road again.