SCIENCE- A BLESSING OR A CURSE
In the pre-scientific world, man as being of divine origin treated all manifestations of an elemental power. There was not much that man could do even in the most favourable or circumstances, which were liable to become unfavourable if man incurred Divine displeasure. But in the scientific world, things are different. Today science is all-powerful and has unraveled many causes and effects. Equipped with scientific knowledge, modern man is out to investigate in the darkest and most secret regions of Nature. He has conquered time, distance and space and is preparing to conquer distant planets, like Venus and Mars. The Americans have been to the moon several times. Soviet and the U.S. scientists have flown rockets beyond the moon, to far distant planets.
Science has been a faithful ally of man; throughout it has endeavoured to make man’s life happier and more comfortable than what it had been in the pre-scientific age. It has helped man to harness the potentialities of Nature and thereby enabled him to lead a prosperous and comfortable life. Science has helped man in combating the deadliest of diseases that used to devour him up in the pre-scientific age. Heart transplants have become everyday occurrences and Western scientists have invented even artificial hearts. Besides, modern science has made man international-minded. By the invention of radio, television and other such wonderful devices, science has brought men and women of various countries much closer than ever.
But at the same time, the grim aspect of science, playing a destructive role, cannot be ignored. Today science is responsible for creating a balance of terror by its invention of the most devastating weapons of mass-destruction. We know how one atom bomb wrought havoc in the peaceful and prosperous city of Hiroshima. Atom bomb, and still more, the hydrogen bomb, has caused new fears involving new doubts as to the effect of science on human life. Some eminent authorities, including Einstein, were constrained to point to the danger of the extinction of life on this planet. Indeed, in some ways science has made man the worst type of a criminal!
The fact is that science has done both service and disservice to mankind. But neither can we praise science for the service it has rendered, nor can we denounce it for the disservices, alleged to have been done. Knowledge can never be bad in itself. As Shakespeare has said, “There is nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so.” Science is not to blame for the harrowing devastation it has let loose on mankind. It is man and man alone who are responsible for his misfortunes and miseries he has brought on himself by the misuse of science. He has prostituted its fair [and creative aspects. Atomic energy, for instance, which was misused for destroying the world, is one of the most creative and constructive forces of Nature. It can change the earth into a paradise of eternal bliss. Is it then the fault of science or of those who are misusing its creative potentialities?
It is a pity that scientists of the modem world have miserably ignored the ultimate purpose of science, and looked at barren facts alone. It cannot be denied that scientists by their labour and sacrifices, made the world jump forward with a leap, helped in the march of civilization, opened up innumerable avenues for the growth of knowledge, and added to the power of man to such an extent that for the first time it was possible to think that man could triumph over and shape his physical environment. Yet when this scheme seemed to reach its climax, the edifice of the scientific civilization tumbled down, and man was cast into the sea of frustration and misery. As a matter of fact, misapplication of scientific knowledge has brought man face to face with ruination.
If the human race is to survive and survive honourably, it must restrain its unbridled desire for more and more scientific knowledge. Excess of even the best things is harmful. Science is the noblest attribute of nature; it is a gift of God to man. But, if we try to cross the limit of scientific investigation, it will rebound on us adversely. Furthermore, men of science, on whose shoulders lies the responsibility of guiding humanity to the goal of sane perfection, must not play as tools in the hands of the reactionary politicians, who are solely responsible for the present prostitution of science. Let there be an international federation of scientists and the main function of this federation should be to discourage the scientists of the world in their attempt to destroy mankind. “The Kingdom of God is within our hearts.” Let science purify and sanctify this kingdom with its creative and peaceful contribution.