(GIST OF YOJANA) Leadership in Science: Need to Challenge Existing Assumptions [FEBRUARY-2020]

(GIST OF YOJANA) Leadership in Science: Need to Challenge Existing Assumptions


Leadership in Science: Need to Challenge Existing Assumptions


  • An ability to question basic assumptions in any situation is fostered by probing the frontiers of science, whatever field one may be engaged in, whether it is Biology, Genetics, Atomic Science or Space Research.
  • It is this ability rather than an ‘empirical hit-and-miss approach which proves most effective in tackling the day-to-day problems of the world. It follows from this that for its nationals to do front-rank research within, the resources which are available.
  • It is equally necessary; having produced the men who can do research, to organise task-oriented projects for the nation’s practical problems.

Inevitable consequences of modern technology:

  • One of the inevitable consequences of the introduction of modern technology is a gradual erosion of existing values-a drift towards a man centred world substituting another in which man is only one element in all of nature.
  • Hinduism has a substratum of philosophy which is fascinating to the modem scientist. The life of the common man reflects many of the values related to this philosophy, unconsciously imbibed through literature, the arts and social traditions. We recognise that perception involves the outside object as well as the observer. We appreciate the subjective character of personal experience. We accept that there are a thousand paths to enlightenment.
  • In relativity we learn of the importance of the frame of reference of the observer and how the results of observation depend on the relative state of his frame with respect to that which he observes.' Absolute right and wrong do not exist in the ’values of those who have understood the Upanishads or those who have followed the concepts of relativity.

Science and National Sovereignty:

  • Concerning science and human values - by tiding an example which is related to the implications of science and technology to modem warfare and how these affect national sovereignty.
  • As soon, as hydrogen bombs could be delivered with inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of hitting a target to an accuracy of a few miles at a distance of six to eight thousand miles, the implications of a war between adversaries possessing such weapons were too grave for anyone to contemplate armed conflict as a means of solving international disputes. If coexistence between nations formed a part of the “Panchsheel '' adopted by Asians from Buddhism, it was also advocated by Premier Khrushchev from an appraisal of the consequences of the balance of terror that exists between the East and the West.
  • At all times social change has been related to technological developments and in each era new constraints, social and political, are imposed on those who partake of the change. Just as an. Individual who chooses to live in a community voluntarily renounces the right of throwing a stone anywhere he pleases, which he undoubtedly could exercise in the jungle, so in the atomic age, nations are forced to accept a self-discipline where the freedom of settling disputes through the use of' force on a grand scale is no longer meaningful.

Application to Real Problems:

  • To create conditions for the application of science and scientists to the real problems of society, we have to encourage scientists to interest themselves in problems outside their fields of specialization. Sure enough, one does not expect to give to the opinion of a scientist special weight in fields other than his own.
  • But a person who has imbibed the ways of science injects into a situation a new way of looking at it, hopefully perhaps, a degree of enlightenment with regard to the approach to problems and thus provides leadership which is very valuable.

Way forward:

  • Moreover, we can secure acceptance of the notion that such task oriented activity, seriously undertaken and with a well-defined objective to be realised in a given period, should receive financial reward which will ameliorate the total situation in least one important aspect.
  • Leadership in science may then arise out of a new climate for growth.

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