““I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.”
Does it sound curious to link a vastly popular work of science fiction to the concept of mysticism?
Roy the terrifying robot saves Deckard’s life and before he dies the robot utters those magical, moving words. A robot has “seen the face of god”. The film shakes our very perception of life and consciousness. Mankind has created sentient beings, and yet chases them to death like rabid dogs when they strike out for freedom from servitude.
Science and mysticism are intrinsically linked. They are two sides of the same coin. The mystic seeks to see the face of god by direct and intensely private personal experience. The scientist, if he did but know it, seeks the face of god through experiment, induction, rational thought.
Both the scientist and the mystic seek the same end. Knowledge, gnosis, to know. Truth, meaning. To escape from the goldfish bowl of our small existence and to witness the multiverse, unlimited by our own meagre senses of sight and hearing. To see what is out there, to witness it, to understand it. To meld with it.
Above all, to feel it.
I have no doubt there are many scientists who would see themselves as rational, clinical beings. Dabblers in numbers and physical exotica, which can only be explored through higher maths.
And yet at heart I suspect they know that they too are seekers and not so far removed from the mystics.
We are trapped on a spaceship called earth, rotating around an insignificant sun in a sea of infinity. We do not know what we are. We do not understand why or how we are conscious.
Is it any wonder that we have created myth and religion down the millenia to seek comfort and meaning? Is it any wonder that as a rational scientist or an arty writer, we both seek to “see the face of god”?