Superstition, Science, Faith: subject-object duality

Acharya Prashant
13 min readApr 26, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner: In any scientific experiment, there is a subject and an object. The subject is biased due to his conditioning. We see many scientific studies contradicting each other as they are reported by scientists having different conditionings. Then there is little difference between Science and Faith as both are subjective. But the general belief is that Science is objective and this leads to scientists becoming self-righteous, arrogant, judgmental, sometimes even insane. My question is — “Is there anything that’s objective, universal, and always trustworthy?”

Acharya Prashant: The relationship between the subject and the object needs to be understood. Usually, the subject operates in its lowest state, and that lowest state of the subject or of the consciousness of the subject, you could call as belief or superstition. What happens in this state?

The subject sees an object. And the subject certifies that the object definitely, absolutely does exist because the subject is seeing it. In other words, the subject is taking his own perception as absolute. The subject is saying, “I am seeing that object and that object exists. And that is absolutely certain because I am seeing the object.”

Things don’t stop here. The subject goes on to say that whatever the subject perceives about the object, whatever the subject even feels or imagines about the object, is bound to be true, and is, therefore, not available to the investigation. This is the lowest state of the relationship between the subject and the object; this relationship is called consciousness. This is the lowest state of consciousness. You’re looking at an object and looking at that object, you get certain ideas about that object. Or those ideas about that object have come to you from tradition, or stuff that you have read from somewhere, or stuff that you have somehow cooked up or concocted. And whatsoever is your idea regarding the object, you are placing absolute certainty in it. You’re saying “There is no need to inquire. There is no need to experiment. The thing is this way because I feel it is this way.”

So, let us say you are looking at the water. So, the first thing that you are saying is…