The proposition that science is not enough has to be examined on the basis of the implications arising out of the conception of science and the notion of what is considered ‘enough’. When we say that there is enough of something, we mean thereby that the thing exists in such plenty as to satisfy our need for it. For instance, the proposition that there is enough of wheat for the year 1969 means that the supply is adequate to satisfy the need for wheat during the year concerned. Whether or not, therefore, a certain thing is enough depends on two magnitudes the magnitude of the need and the magnitude of what is expected to satisfy the need. The notion of ‘enough’ is primarily a quantitative concept and it is always related to the need in question. Certain analysis of the nature of need is of paramount importance in understanding whether or not a thing is to be considered enough.
That science is not enough would be meaningful if it is asked further, “For what purpose is science by itself not enough?”. The answer to this question is of crucial importance in understanding the contention of the proposition that science is not enough. It may mean for instance, that science is not enough for a happy and con, tended life or science is not enough to enrich, ennoble and exalt human personality, or, science is not enough to understand and appreciate, in all its fullness, the mystery and the glory of human existence, or science is not enough to analyze and appreciate the ultimate nature of truth or god or the Absolute, the proposition, in any case, means that there are things other than science which are of immense, significance in the context of an effort to understand and appreciate the worthwhileness of our living on this earth. In other words, it means that science by itself is not the ultimate be-all and end-all of life. It is a means to an end as it is determined by the values of life. Science is not an ultimate value by itself. This seems to be the main contention of the proposition that science is not enough.
In order to appreciate this proposition, we have to go back a bit into its historical antecedents. In the wake of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Industrial Revolution in Western Europe in the eighteenth century, there arose in those countries a mighty wave of disbelief in the traditional values of life-based on Christian and Jewish faiths and customs. In the political sphere, it led to a perennial fight for power between the monarchs and the papal authorities and in the realm of thought and philosophy, it let loose the scientific spirit of inquiry. Insistence on proof or evidence, in support of any contention that is propounded by any person, whatsoever his status-and authority, was the essence of the scientific spirit. Some of the older superstitions started tottering as scientific inquiry delivered its-relentless hammer-blows on their head. The age-old beliefs started melting. The Protestants started protesting against all impositions of values foisted on them by the church or the monarch. The very spirit of democracy was germinating in all the spheres of life. People wanted to know the why and how of what they were doing. The will to reason out, explain and justify beliefs and actions was getting extremely powerful. Rationality was felt to be the highest faculty developed by man. Science was but one aspect of rationality. It was rationality applied to the analysis of physical phenomena. It was serving a highly useful purpose. It was yielding rich dividends in the form of níost valuable of scientific discoveries and inventions out of which there emerged the machine-age and the factory-system of production. It was a total break from the traditional scheme of values and ways of living. Science became in those days. the supreme value to be worshipped and in fact, the deification of science was carried to its extremes. Science was supposed to be everything. All other values became subservient, nay, utterly useless.
The rise of the cult of rationality, the genesis of scientific techniques of production and the scientific methods of organizing trade, commerce, and other business revolutionized the entire approach to life. Utilitarian values ruled the roost. Whatever was useful was good and whatever was not useful was not good. The . concept of the user was related to the satisfaction of gross sense-satisfying needs of man which got stimulated enormously under the influence of growing affluence and comforts. Acquisition of wealth and comforts and multiplying wants to use wealth became the supreme goal of life. Those who failed in the pursuit of wealth and power and refused to wallow in the satisfaction of the senses as a goal by itself were looked down upon by the upper classes. Even today the material values hold strong sway over the mindset the bulk of the people of the world and the material values are the main hallmarks of the scientific age. The reason is the supreme faculty, thrown up by evolution and one should go by reason and reason alone. This is the declaration of the positivists and the agnostics with their unflinching faith in science Away with superstitions. Away with blind faith. Away with authority whether it be of the Bible or the Quran or the Gita etc. and away with the tall claims of elders or other traditional heads. What matters is the reason, rationality, and science.
This was the exuberance of the first flush of science. Science emerged triumphantly. Faith and religious values suffered a defeat, albeit for some time. The course of history unfolded itself on the basis of scientific and utilitarian values. There was an unprecedented growth of wealth and comforts even in the life of the ordinary masses. The standard of living kept on rising and today in countries. like the U.S.A., the problem is not how to produce but what to do with the problems created by over-production. At least in some countries, the bulk of their people have been able to rise above the mere struggle for making a living. Thanks to the achievement of science, they have plenty of means at their disposal. Is it not enough? to keep them perfectly happy and contented?
No, it is not. There is a growing dissatisfaction in the midst of growing plenty. There is inexplicable fatigue of existence. People get disgusted with themselves. The pursuit of pleasures is so fleeting. The craze is endless. There is not much to feel satisfied. The soul is restless. There emerges out of this dissatisfaction and fatigue of existence, the pitiable cry “science is not enough, science is not enough, science is not enough…” The question that arises in the thinking mind today, particularly in the western countries, is “why is there so much of dissatisfaction, unrest, and unhappiness in the midst of all the wealth and comforts?” The unhappiness of the peoples of the underdeveloped countries, arising out of an acute scarcity of the basic requisites of life, is quite understandable, but the unhappiness of the wealthy peoples it quite puzzling. They now realize that something is missing. They know by experience that science is not enough, science can provide monstrous power into the hands of man and that power could be misused. It has been misused to cause untold destruction of humanity during periods of war. In fact, the whole of humanity is confronted today face to face with the threat of complete annihilation. Science is threatening to be the ghastly Frankenstein created by human genius. Who is to save humanity? Not science. It is love, compassion, mercy, self-sacrifice, the spirit of humanistic and other religious values which would save man. That explains the cry “Science is not enough, not enough, not enough……”