Part II. Love Science.
5. I have talked about Power Science. It is easy to talk of how powerful Science_Technology is. It is also easy to talk of how dangerous Science-Technology is and go into gloom and doom. If you are typical of European intellectual — the ones who are “Educated” in European Power Science — you might think of the situation in a “Dialectics” of two oppositions. It came from the religious tradition of thinking things in “Good/Evil” antagonism. Science does that in terms of “Atom/Void”, which is the prototype of “Ego/Environment”. In schools, I observe a prevalent pattern of thinking which goes by “Teacher/Student” antagonism, which is enforced by “Those who have Knowledge/those who are ignorant”. Pardon me to say this, but that is the Missionary mentality. It is intellectual colonialism that a Kipling poem “The Whiteman’s Burden” expressed. At any rate, the picture/metaphor of Two In Opposition is a powerful image, but too simple to get us anywhere.
So let me introduce a slightly improved picture/metaphor/map about the situation. By doing so, we are taking one step into and actually doing a bit of Love Science that I am going to explain to you. Interestingly, this came from Indian Science that I would like to mention later.
The picture/metaphor/map is not perfect, but helps us to find a way out of the Antagonistic Way of Thinking. It is very simple. Namely, picture in your mind a circle and divide it into 4 sectors. It looks like:
Power Science \\ Power Elite
Recognized Authority\\Dominant Male
Edified Intellect\\Growth Economy
Love Science\\The Exploited
Un-Recognized Intelligence\\The Oppressed
Life in Practice\\Subjugated Female/Environment
6. I have put in a few words in the map to illustrate what I am going to talk about. But please notice the Form/structure first. The Form (format) is a circle containing 4 things. This is a way to avoid Two in Opposition. I intend to do “Multi-lectics” instead of “Dia-lectics”. The Form can also be called “Matrix Form” in a mathematical jargon, as a contrast to the simple Linear Form comparing object A and object B. The “Mat” of the “Matrix” is “Mat” of “Mather”. If I may, I like to call it “Matalectics”. “Lectics” is a way of talk, and it came from narrating legends.
By drawing a circle around the 4 things, I am indicating that they are there in relations. In particular, I am saying “Love Science” has always been in existence. It is just that formal text in Physics failed to mention it, or rather the “Science Education” did not wish for you to know about it.
In elementary school and junior high, I always notice how students are eager to learn. If we define “Science” to be “Ability/Competence to Learn”, those children are geniuses. They learn better because they Love to Learn. The way the eagerness and ability to learn get killed as they go up grades in school education is a sad scene, and I would very much like to talk with Educators about the tragedy. But, before that, let me identify what I mean by “Love Science”.
In a small book, The Limits of Science, Peter Medawar talks about “What is Science”. One story that this distinguished Nobel Laureate Biologist narrates is about a house wife who is confronted with a breakdown of her electric home appliance. He says that the house wife who looks around the toaster, locates a broken wire and fixes it is doing “Science”. I agree. That is a beautiful example of Science. But, I also notice that she is not “Recognized” as doing science. Nobody would call her a Scientist and pay premium salary. Why not? Medawar is totally blind to this social “Class Distinction” implicit to honor titles like “Scientist”. How come a super-intelligent scientist such as Dr. Medawar can be blind to the Class Distinction, and in a nation notorious for its acute Class Consciousness at that? That is the problem of “non-recognition”.
One more example. In hospitals, it is often an experienced Nurse that tells young interns what to do. But it so happens that the Nurses are paid far less than the Doctors. The reason is, I presume, the Doctors have gone through years of Formal Education and know “Science”. Whereas, Nurses do not know “Science”, though they may have vastly superior “Practical Knowledge” gained from their experiences.
Actually, if they ever do anything creative, even hard-nosed scientists do Learn things just the same way the elementary school children and nurses learn. The way they go about doing their science is very “Emotionally Involved” and they have “Sensual” contact with Nature. It is a passionate Love Affair. They experience intense Pleasure doing their stuffs. You may have experiences of thinking about Woman or Man in your life os intensely that nothing else in the World mattered. That is no difference from what creative scientists do. It is dangerous, and I am not saying all scientists do that. In fact, 99% of professional scientists are more likely “laboring” through their job, just as alienated as production line workers are.
If you read Max Weber’s “Science As A Profession” and “The Protestant Ethics And The Spirit Of Capitalism”, you would probably understand the sense of the “Alienation” in the “Professionalized Science”. The feeling is strangely very similar to the one we get from reading Death of a Salesman or the like. [See also: A. Mitzman. The Iron cage – A Historical Interpretation of Max Weber.] So that the scientists have to maintain some personal sensual satisfaction in some ways. Some opt out for “Power Trip”. As Henry Kissinger said, “Power is the best aphrodisiac”, and it is very sensual stuff anyway.
It is just that in the formal discourse of science, and in teaching in particular, the Sensual, Love Affair part is not mentioned –Scientists are forced to act like Macho guys. And science teachers are, perhaps, afraid that showing Human Emotions in class rooms is “Unscientific”. It is a Taboo. So it is not “Recognized”.
You are not Vainglorious persons, and think that “Recognition” is not a big deal. You know what you did and can be happy with it, regardless if society grants a Recognition or not. I admire you for that.
7. But there is a catch. As Feminist critics of science pointed out, “To Recognize” is “To Know”. Epistemology has to do with “Recognition”. Besides, “Science” is not a private knowledge, but it represents the Intelligence of a Culture/Society as a whole. What is not recognized by a Culture/Society cannot be the Knowledge that acts as the “common ground/reason”, so that people can organize co-operation on the basis of it. What is not recognized is not “legitimate” to have a “social efficacy”. It is like a beautiful Color that you saw, but you have no way of telling your friends about it. Or it is like UFO that you have seen, but you keep it to yourself. Our society cannot make an appropriate response to the things it does not recognize. The chances are that when a society denies recognition, usually it actually “knows” but is repressing it with a great energy cost. As a consequence, society tends to make a wrong response to the thing it denies.
In the history of science, there were many cases of non-recognitions. Things that do not sit well with the dominant Paradigm of the time are always suppressed from “knowing”. You might have heard that people at the time of Galileo Galilei thought that the Earth is flat. Well, it so happened that some 100 years before Galileo, Christopher Columbus knew that the Earth is round, and on the basis of that knowledge he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and got to the America. People on street actually knew the round Earth. It was only official scientists and philosophers who did not know it, because their Text which they had to uphold as “Truth” and “Authority” did not say so.
If you believe that Science is Powerful and Cut-and-dry hard-nosed stuff, you learn to ignore all “human frailties”. All human traits, such as foibles, sensuality, passion, pride, love, enjoyment, fun, pleasure, adventure, groping for unknowns, wonderment about mysteries, etc. are “By Definition” not parts of the Science as such. The are not recognized, repressed out of consciousness, intellect. If you keep that up, very soon you would learn not to see, feel. That is what happened to mediaeval scholars and scientists, and we can be just as well.
The “non-recognition” is the key to the repression, oppression, and prejudices against women, the poor, the unemployed, the disadvantaged, and Natives under Colonial Domination. That is, one who does not see the existence of Love Science in the Matrix picture cannot see the existence of the Oppressed, Exploited either, let alone seeing the four in relation.
It is far from innocent. I believe German intellectuals who claim that they did not know the infamous Concentration Camps during WWII. Even if they saw it with their own eyes, they would not “recognize” what was happening.
And, it is very likely that we are blind to certain things we do not feel easy about. What is more, if you are “sensitive”, chances are that you get hurt. You sense that you are vulnerable and ephemeral. You do not feel like a Macho Hero. The you lose out in competitions. So you do not like to “know”. Rather, we like to know something that makes us feel “Powerful” and “Invincible”. We say, before knowing anything “What’s in it for me”. That is our usual epistemological stand.
8. I did not give any “definition” of “Love Science”. It is because “Love Science” is not “Deductionist Science”. Rather it is a matter of recognition that you give to your Love Science that you have been doing. That is, seems to me, the only way to “know” Love Science.
If that is difficult, there is a neat way. That is, we can look into how children do their “science”. Give them a recognition they deserve. By doing so, we also give a recognition to our learning. So both get recognition.
On CBC news, I heard of a 12 year old boy who is studying the local rail road. It was news from a small community in Newfoundland where the Rail Company is about to pull out rail service. He thinks that is a disaster and tries to find a way to save the communities linked by the rail road. The way this kid is going about studying the matter is very impressive. I think people who listened to the news felt a fine scientist there. I do not mean the statistical numbers that the kid collected or the notes that he kept writing. I mean the care that this boy is extending to the lives of people in the communities around. That is remarkable.
And, I do not overlook that fact that people, who recognized a scientist in the boy, must have known what “science” is to recognize it. That is, they also learned science that they had. They might not have had chance to exercise their science, but now that they “discovered” it, they can do it too. And by doing, they would learn more.
The essence of science is not in “knowledge”, but in “how to learn”. Once known it is a matter of “history” to record, not a matter of science. In a peculiar social circumstance, our science is developed to be an official record keeper on “Knowledge Claims” very much like what the Patent Office do —. But, I think such is an anomaly that our egoistic competition for power created. Love Science as the communal and environmental intelligence is emerging now to correct such an anomaly.
If we must have a “definition” of Love Science, we can say it is learning from care and for understanding of relations among lives and natural and human environment.
It is also an “empowerment” (though I do not like this word) of people to liberate themselves, in a sense people recognize what ability they have in themselves.
Another neat way of learning Love Science is to look for Native Science in Native Way of Life. To be sure, I do not know Native Science. I am not making any knowledge claim. I was lucky to find some friends to go along in an adventure into unknowns. Interestingly, however, I did find very sophisticated pieces of science. The 4 element Matrix way of thinking I used in the above is one of them (with a bit of my interpretation which may well be wrong).
I also find that the notion of Space-Time is different and interesting. This is something to do with what American Linguist Benjamin Whorf and Edward Sapir found in their studies on Hopi and Navajo Languages known as “Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis” on the Language — how people speak reflects how people think —. Surprisingly, Hopi and Navajo have a Relativistic Thinking. I think they are ahead of Einstein in that they appear to have a Space-Time Geometry that includes “Becoming” part, along with “Being Part”. It is “Existentialistic” as well as “pragmatic”. It is fascinating to study their Science, for it suggests a way of overcoming the dialectical opposition of “Space-Time” and “Existence” (Object-Being). I am thinking that this “Relativity” might work better in dealing with Human-Environment relation/dynamics than the way of European Science which is developed for power of production.
[Remember Wayne Gretzky’s Super-Relativistic Map? Native Hunters used to make Maps before their expeditions in the form of “Dreams”, or in “Vision Seeking”. You can see this in the book, Dreams And Maps by Hugh Brody (NAS text). You also recall the famous “I have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. The Dream is a Map.]