Concept of Science: what it was and what it is!
What is science, if not a burning desire to take a leap into the unknown and try to unravel it from what is known. It is reasonable to work on a premise of assumption, in fact it is essential to assume before fully knowing whatever attracts our attention. Of course many a times an unnecessary strife erupts when assumption is underlined with beliefs which are in actuality poles apart. A belief withers away the possibility of otherwise, for unrelenting faith is stubborn and will fight reason forever. But if faith and belief are casted out to give way for a sincere zeal to seek, won’t that be called science.
However, like radical faith and belief, science has also developed a temporal temperament and curtailed its seeking behaviour which it once had, to just refute and seek revenge on what dwells entirely on a different premise today. It’ll be a spectacle debate on what lead to this strife. Though it is known that the radicals have persistently persecuted science at every stage where it challenged their very basis, also when it held a grave censorship on science to block it from making any unpleasant revelations. Revelations that could have disrupted the prevalent social and political authority of few institutions in the days of yore. Of course they took from science only that which made their day to day life easier and didn’t contradict the main ideas that were believed to be divine, and science was happy to give it to them, as of course something is better than nothing. Come to think of it and one may realise that in a way, just like them, Science had faith, although unlike them it was a faith in its own efforts and not on something external that remains hidden, but still a faith is a faith. What great feats science accomplished when radicals were pacified and their voices went unheard. Science, having made a firm and superior hold in the lives of people, was used by certain propagandists politically to seize ultimate control and maybe Science unknowingly gave in to them in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was when a major paradigm shift was taking place and numerous scientific achievements had paved their way into everybody’s ordinary life, and maybe science thought that it was about time to get back at the very ideology which is devoid of knowledge and merely stands on faith and ignorance, and so it attacked them viciously. There was resistance but ‘honest truth’ prevailed, and the extremists’ faith were swamped with numerous experiments and proved theories. Science declared victory over the blasphemies and liberated people.
Yes, it gave people choice, knowledge and freedom that they were initially deprived from. Many wondrous phenomenon were explained with stupendous ease. Everyone was delighted with this victory because it brought them a sense of achievement and a will to control their life. Many aspects of life that previously were dependant on supernatural were explained to be the most natural processes existing. But it also made people relinquish their faith and belief in morality and peace. Yes, victory came, but the sentiment war still persisted. With ‘choice and liberty to choose’ coming into picture, somethings were acknowledged and some were not. Faith in one’s belief and faith in one’s effort were two different things previously, but now, with the politically invested interests and manipulation to control was gone, little difference was left in the two oppositions. Science for the first time failed to realise that a certain degree of ‘honest truth’ lies in people’s faith. But due to its disturbing past where it was persecuted for centuries, science behaved exactly like Jews did. It targeted, as it still does, everybody who somewhere shares any history with the persecutors. Not realising that they may not have anything to do with that and solely wanted to keep some part of their faith that gave them peace. In the case of Jews, of course they have a real threat from many fringe elements, but their response of turning hostile towards everybody doesn’t give anymore legitimacy to their actions. Anyways, ’Honest truth’ exists on both sides, with science having an upper hand, as it also holds some indisputable truths and appeals to the masses, however it still doesn’t give anymore right and legitimacy to turn hostile towards the believers (of course excluding those who misguide people in the name of faith or other vested self-interests). In short this approach of science is futile and it is about time that it is given up because ‘theory of everything’ by default remains unknowable .
In this strife the ontological seekers are dragged even though they have nothing in common with the fundamentalists ideology of belief and faith. Post now I’ll be referring these ontological seekers as ‘Seekers’! Devoid of technical and instrumental advances which science enjoys, the Seekers are liberal and modest enough to take the help and resources from the advancements of science and use them in their journey of knowing the unknown. Their approach is devoid of stubbornness and damaging ego, which still exists up to a handsome amount in their ingenious friend, science. All that Seekers lack is the implementation of their ideas through manifestation of technical enterprises, which of course should be left alone to perfectionists. But they are armed with myriad of questions that concern life from its basics to the far expanding universe. These Seekers worship knowledge, irrespective of the source, be it empirical, teleological, scientific, spiritual or metaphysical. Not ashamed to admit that they don’t know, they leap on to the possibilities that carry even a slim chance of illumination. Connecting to the common man, touching his life on a soulful level, they understand and thrive to answer the basic questions that concern us all. Unlike science these Seekers hold something that is integral to the concept of knowing and that is ‘not denying’! Science somewhere draws its conviction to grow, however technically, from the notion that ‘it is human to err’, but then who takes an initiative to wonder and feel obligated to unravel the mysteries surrounding us? It is the Seeker present in them and everybody. At least this is one thing where our innate nature took us onto the path of enlightenment. The Seekers however, draw their power from this very innate nature to wonder, rightfully reclaiming the ownership of those very basic questions that were put forth at the beginning of human race i.e. Who we are? Why we are here? These two questions sum up the entirety of questions related to existence of this universe and leads to every ounce of progress made by human and achievements proclaimed by science. All the pioneers of science were born Seekers, even though science makes it a point of rubbing its achievements on our face and make it sound like a monologue. The technical and mechanical aspect undoubtedly plays a very important role in improving the quality of life but the zeal to establish those technicalities come from a Seeker. A Seeker is the Steve Jobs of science! It can’t be refuted that anything in itself is not complete and that, everything forms a part of the whole, having its own significance in relation to others. Since beginning reform has been brought from cultivation and creative tendency of a human to explore as we can see that, from the basic necessity to communicate, sound took the form of coherent and symbolising words, from necessity to survive, natural resources took the form of shelter, food and clothing, from the necessity to evolve, curiosity and wonder took the form of real tools of advancement. Everything was relative and required support of another to thrive. Solace is the harmony of everything that is physical and non-physical. Individually being so different from each other we still belong to a human race and are equivalent, but still something works for one and not for the other. A slight variation in the amount of milk in the morning coffee spoils the day of a certain person whereas a slight variation in everyday timetable may ruin the whole day for another. That coffee, and that timetable, are important and stand in itself as a ritual to be done for harmony. Although it may be contested that, it is all in the mind, still it holds true to every human, just like a certain belief in the almighty or a superpower or an energy source may give solace to millions of people across the globe and provide serenity from the chaos that prevails in our mind or outside of it. Although accepting the advances provided by science in many aspects of life and still holding onto the belief of a supreme, these people may contradict and behave irrationally many a times, but that gives science, or for that matter anybody, no reason whatsoever to condemn and label them as ignorant. And if that comes to be, then isn’t science ignorant in its basic approach, where it visibly denies the basic human psychology to seek whatever it covets, and is not science itself made on this very same yearning to possess? It is time to put this futile war to an end and rather responsibly manage the achievements of science. As it is we know that besides advancement and improving the quality of life, science if not solely, but still up to some extent, also responsible for the major devastation brought on human race in the entire history. Science has also been inconsiderate to many prolific revelations existing since oldest times and has hastily casted them out by putting them in the category of baseless dogmas of faith. But it’s inevitable that at a certain time in future it has to reflect on these fruitful observations and make them a base to build an extraordinary explanation for the mysteries that surround us. Be it the Vedas or the Upanishads, the oldest existing texts survive. Although one doesn’t go to an extent of saying that they hold the ultimate authority and explanation to everything, but science has been inconsiderate in not even giving a look into these and casted them out since its own popular beginning. One has to realise that even though physical technical manifestations of certain tools to seek something is important, but first comes the origin of the idea and its non-physical manifestations in the mind. Science needs to touch base with these origins and then bear the fruits, which undoubtedly stay hidden somewhere in those texts. As it is, race has started to return to the origins and many facts or expected revelations should come.
If it not had been because of the Seekers, who yearn to improve and disentangle every aspect of life, be it moral, social, individual, spiritual, economic, political etc., devastation would have been much greater. Of course Seekers gave way to science and they will need it forever, but so will she need Seekers. Time has come when science should rise above its sly innuendos and the tug-of-love battle for authority with common people and their honest beliefs, disparaging their faith that gives them solace, invoking the modern sentiment in the youth who don’t feel an ounce of apprehension in making fun of their parents, culture and traditions. Of course accepting them regardless of their factual validity may be difficult but knowing that certain things are made up just so to hold everyone together, to enhance the feeling of belonging and equality, to give a sense of identity, all these reasons in itself make it valid and of noble intent.
July 15th, 2015