science is about limits. isolation. manipulation. control. and i don't use any of those words in a pejorative sense. they are (technical) terms often used in science. this kind of analysis is powerful and productive, no doubt.
but not in isolation. not in and of itself. i've also spent a good deal of my life studying the humanities... literature, art, philosophy and religion. i think mahfouz's point in the beggar is just that: science has its place. so do our other forms of knowing and doing.
the point i'm particularly interested in, however, is being... being present. or the state of presence. that's what tells us that finding meaning in life isn't about choosing between science and art, or religion and science... it's about the whole. and without presence we can't see (or be) whole.
The ultimate truth, then, is in the reality of the world and not somewhere outside or beyond it, and the only thoroughfare to the metaphysical is a physical one, along which travelers should be committed to the well-being of each other and the maintenance of the road.
-Rasheed El-Enany, from Naguib Mahfouz: The Pursuit of Meaning (pp.109-110).