Chapter 15: Adding Oil to the Fire
In only three hundred years science has touched great heights. And the reason? The reason is simple. The reason is that Bacon introduced the experiment to the world of science. In just three hundred years so much has happened - it did not happen in three thousand years or even in thirty thousand years. It is because of one man, Bacon. He changed the whole course of science and the whole course of human consciousness just by creating a new door of experimentation. He said, “Speculation is not going to help. People have speculated down the ages and nothing has happened. They go on quarreling about theories and those theories don’t mean a thing.” He introduced the experiment.
You will be surprised to know from where Bacon got the idea of experimenting. You will not believe it! He got it from Sufism. He was a great reader of Sufi books, he was immensely interested in Sufi books, and from the Sufi ideas he got the idea that if experimenting is the door to the inner world, why could it not be the door to the outer? Science owes much to Sufism because of this. If the right sources are searched for some day, then the real fathers of science will be the Sufis, not the Greek philosophers, Aristotle, Plato and others, no. They were all speculators.
From where did the idea of the experiment enter into the mind of Bacon? It entered from Sufism. He may have read this story or something else, but it entered from Sufism, because Sufis are very insistent on experiment.
And if religion is also going to grow, then experimenting has to become its very foundation. Just as science has reached such a great height within such a small time limit - three hundred years - so religion can also have great possibilities if it becomes experimental. Religion has much to learn from Sufism. Sufism is the most essential religion - that’s why I say it is existential, experimental, experiential.
Enough for today.