Journal of Scientific Exploration
Just like anyone else, scientists can be troubled by existential questions such as "What is the purpose of life?" and "Why is there something instead of nothing?" One strategy for approaching such questions has been to suggest that a latent cognitive faculty needs to be activated in order to answer them. In effect, this means that a questioner needs to undergo a process of self-transformation leading to a transcendent state of consciousness in which such an ability is awakened. Franklin Wolff has proposed that there is a way of doing so, namely "mathematical yoga," that is particularly suited for scientists. Such a spiritual practice consists of doing mathematics, while understanding what one is doing and maintaining a self-giving attitude. Although Wolff has attributed his own enlightenment to this mathematical path, it needs further empirical verification. Wolff s notions also suggest that, even without the occurrence of transcendent states of consciousness, abstract thinking could lead to states of consciousness characterized by greater than ordinary meaningfulness.