This age of ours is the age of science, and much of man’s happiness depends on how man utilizes the immense power of science. Imagic how the man of today can survive without the various scientific discoveries and inventions made from time to time, which have rendered his life comfortable and worth living. Think of electricity, the wireless, the airplane, the railway, the motor car, wonderful drugs, and thousand and one other achievements of science, which have become indispensable for our day-to-day existence. Science has also given man something which is much more useful-the scientific outlook-without which he cannot make progress that lice. in store for him.
Scientific outlook helps a man to ascertain facts, grape them accurately. It gives him training in observation, a rational habit of mind. It widens immensely the horizon of the mind, extends its range, gives it a score of infinite possibilities, and makes life more interesting and alive. It is rare to find a scientist who is a pessimist for he lives in an atmosphere of progress. The scientist is an explorer of an unknown world with infinite possibilities of discovery; and not only is the act of discovery exciting, but it leads on to actions, to practical results. It seeks to know, but also to transform the world, and this is a further stimulus to those who follow it.
Scientific outlook tends to analyze every object. Chemistry resolves matters into elements, physics resolves it into atoms, biology resolves organic life into cells. Now this spirit which is born of the scientific outlook has become characteristic of any kind of scientific inquiry in any field.
But the various scientific discoveries and inventions and the scientific outlook which the study of science has engendered have not proved to be unmixed blessings for mankind. Science has, no doubt, made man’s life more comfortable, healthy and bright, and it has given in the forward look, and the spirit of inquiry, but it has also brought about certain complications and created some new problems which stand in the way of human happiness.
For example, science has upset international relations by annihilating space. It has abolished distance, made the five continents adjacent countries, and unified the world. At the beginning of the nineteenth century a letter from England to weeks, in favorable circumstances to reach America, and its arrival was uncertain. Today one can speak from London to a friend in New York within fifteen minutes and be with him in twelve hours. All kinds of materials can be dow brought from distant countries at a much cheaper price than could be imagined a hundred years ago. Under such circumstances, the international relations of the past are an anachronism, and fit the body politic as ill as the clothes of a child fit a grown-up man. But the people of different nations have not yet developed the outlook demanded by modern condition, and they still think in an isolated and provincial manner of an earlier age to which steam and electricity were unknown. This fact has created a serious problem which is responsible for much of modern conflicts in the international field, and which has led to much human misery in the form of wars.
Another problem created by science is that it has given man the power to abolish poverty, but this power has brought fortune in the hands of a few nations, who are too uneducated to spend it intelligently. Instead of using huge amounts of wealth placed in the hands of the scientifically advanced nations of the world, for the good of mankind as a whole, these nations are trying to exploit the poorer nations and dominate them politically and economically. Every capacity is a capacity for evil as well as for good, and each addition to human power is a chance to misuse it. For example, the printing press has distributed more falsehood, corruption and rubbish lo men than wisdom, knowledge and beauty.
Modern technology, whereas it has greatly accelerated the industrial progress of the world has impaired craftsmanship replacing it by mass manufacture, turning the skilled worker into an automaton on the production line, making men richer in their possessions and poorer in themselves. Ruskin rightly remarked. No changing of place at a hundred miles an hour, nor the making of stuff a thousand yards a minute, will make us one whit stronger, happier, or wiser. There was always more in the world than men could see, walked they ever so slowly; they will see it oo better for going fast. As for being able to talk from place to place, that is indeed, well and convenient but suppose you have, originally, nothing to say! We shall be obliged at last to confess, what we should look ago have lown, that the really precious things are thought and sight, not pace. It does a bullet no good to go fast ; and if a man be truly a man, no harm to go slow; for his glory is not at all in going, but in being.”
The outlook is also not free from certain glaring disadvantages. Purely scientific education has a harrowing effect. Natural science seems so all-embracing, that we do not notice. that vast regions of life and these the most important du got to come within its view, and a mind dominated by it would naturally be inclined to ignore or underestimate them. It has little to say about those creations of the human spirit which aloge are immortal, great literature or great art. Moreover, the spirit of analysis engendered by scientific outlook has got its own serious limitations. By subjecting everything to minute analysis was, in the words of Wordsworth, ‘murder to dissect. The parts, even if they are complete, are aot the same as the whole. Dissolved into atoms the solid world is no longer itself. Reduced to cells or to an amalgam of psychological impulses, human beings no more make that whole which commands our devotion, than some shredded dissections of human tatters is that warm and breathing beauty of flesh which our hearts find delightful’. Analyze a thing and the life leaves it, but life is the most important thing in the world, and analysis not only does help us to see it, but it encourages us. So potent and interesting an engrossing is it to forget the existence of what it cannot reveal.
Science has also created some crucial problems, which, if not adequately solved, will jeopardize human existence, and bring sun told misery to mankind. But we cannot blame, science for this; it is man who is to blame. Under the new conditions created by science, man must change his primitive outlook. Science is guiltless; it is our hands that are unclean. Science poes steadily about her work, revealing the greatness of man, and if he misuses it, he is to be blamed for it. The gifts of science do not a corrupt man. If new problems are created by the discoveries and inventions of science, and man is exposed to new temptations and thrown into confusion, it does not mean that le should go back on science. We must go forward. A great pew force that comes into the world is revolutionary, and for the moment upsets and confuses the minds of men. That was true op all great movements as of science. In the course of time, man will prove himself equal to the task of solving these problems and meet the new challenge successfully, and will certainly survive the crisis precipitated by science as the past.
The most astounding modern inventions is the invention of the atomic and hydrogen bomb. But we do hope that man will be able to survive this crisis and use these tremendous energies. for his benefit rather than for his destruction, as in the past. Already the Atomic Energy Commission of the United Nations is devoting extensive and unflagging attention to the effects of radiant energy both those that may prove to be beneficent and those that may maim or kill, When man first discovered fire he began a large apprenticeship to caution in dealing with what is both useful and dangerous and the end is not yet. To control the use of this power, explore its nature, its implications and potential applications, and at the time time to protect us against all dangers-these possibilities set a series of tasks that also are: all but immeasurable. Ultimately man is the measure of all things,’ and we do hope that he will in course of time learn to control the power that science has placed in his hand, and also adjust himself to the changed conditions in such a manner that it will contribute to his happiness.
Albert Einstein, the greatest of modern times, gave the key to the problem of science and human happiness when he remarked: “Why does this magnificent applied science, which saves work and makes life easier, brings us so little happiness? The simple answer runs-because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it.
ID war, it serves that we may poison and mutilate each other. In peace, it has made our lives hurried and uncertain. Instead of freeing us in great measure from spiritually exhausting tabor, it has made men into slaves of machinery, who for the most part complete their monotonous long day’s work with disgust, and must continually tremble for their poor rations.
Certainly, we want science to be used for the betterment of Human beings and humanity. Pure science is important because it is a search for truth. Nevertheless, we want to apply it for the betterment of human beings. It is not only justified but it is right. On the other hand, if in the pursuit of that objective you make science and the pursuit of truth a kind of bondmaid to set policies which you have in mind-political or other-then, perhaps the temper of science is affected and the approach to science is not exactly what it should be.
One sees, on the one hand, people some time praising science and other times becoming very apprehensive because science has led to discoveries and use of the tremendous powers of nature which can be used for good or evil and which has produced terrible weapons of mass slaughter. Surely that is not the fault of science. It is the fault of human beings which misuse the science. Science is acutrai as truth is neutral. There is no question of its beiog positive or negative. It is no good blaming science or scientists. If you blame science you can as well blame koowledge. Knowledge misused is dangerous, yet we want and seek knowledge. We must toow how to use it properly.
“We do live in an extraordinary age when skies are filled up day and night by planes carrying hydrogen bombs. It is an extraordinary thought that a loss of care by the commander of the aircraft or a slight mistake of organization might lead to a terrific consequence. All these are being done as a measure of precaution. It docs appear strange that we have been reduced to such straits as to take such enormous risks as a measure of precaution. It is no good blaming science for it. Science must go on. The moment science ceases to develop, the nations become static and decay. We have to establish ourselves to the approach and ways of science so as to benefit by it and not to use it for evil purposes.
Scientists, therefore, should gradually develop something of the wisdom of the sages and something of the compassion of saints. Science thus far had not been conditioned by saintly things. Sometimes those who dealt with them in that way deluded themselves and went astray. It was rather dangerous. Yet, the fact remained that a good deal of wisdom was necessary as also a good deal of compassion and not merely scientific discoveries and achievements, good and essential as the latter were.
The scientist is supposed to be an objective seeker after truth. Science has grown because in a large measure the great scientists have sought truth in the way. But I suppose no man today, even a scientist, can live in a world of his own, in some kind of ivory tower, cut off from what is happening. Therefore, science today has perhaps begun to cross the borders of morals and ethics. If it gets divorced completely from the realm of morality and ethics, then the power it possesses may be used for evil pare poses. But above all, if it ties to the gospel of hatred and violence, then undoubtedly it will have taken & the wrong direction which will bring much peril to the world.