The Scientific Gaze and Mental Health

One more reflection continuing with my recent posts on the scientific gaze and nihilism.

The issues regarding science or, more properly, scientism and nihilism are not merely philosophic, they profoundly impact mental health as well.

Again, from my last post, the "scientific gaze," viewing life in wholly materialistic terms, bleaches the world of meaning and value. And as should be obvious, a world devoid of meaning and value is going to negatively affect one's mental health. The scientific gaze causes mental illness. 

This is true. For example, as a progressive Christian blogger who became known as one of those those who welcomed and embraced doubt and deconstruction, I have routinely received over the years emails and requests for conversation from believers who had, on their own journey of doubt and deconstruction, given themselves over to the scientific gaze. They had read so many popular science books and New Atheist books that they had come to view life in wholly materialistic terms, existence reduced to the laws of chemistry and physics. And what these people shared with me, as a result of this journey, were mental health problems. Life now devoid of meaning, they had become depressed and suicidal. Some, in coming to view themselves as a biological machine, came to the conclusion that they didn't have free will and lost a sense of self-agency and self-authorship. As a result, they started to have panic attacks.

As I described in the last post, the scientific gaze had bleached their world of value and meaning, even of their own agency. The world had become a machine, and they became machine within it. And looking into that cold, deterministic clockwork they had become psychologically unmoored. They were no longer human. They became depressed, suicidal, and alienated from themselves, their loved ones, and the world. The scientific gaze had caused mental illness.

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