Jan 7, ’89.
So you finally pulled off the caper! That is good. I am
glad. Power be with you!
The following are a few comments and afterthoughts.
1. Leroy was saying, in my translation, that the word “Science”
tends to make people imagine “European Science”. We might have to
say something to avoid that.
We are not looking for “something similar to European
science” in indigenous cultures. There is nothing wrong in
identifying “similarity”, “commonness” among Native Sciences. But
the European one is too strong a “standard” for most people that
unless we exercise some care, there is a danger of defining
Science in the European “Fashion” and give recognition to it only
through identifying with the visible European Fashion. But that
is like defining the “dignity” of human beings by the European
Style Clothes they wear. The closer they dress like Europeans,
the more “human” they are!
By saying “foundation of science”, it is partly covered. By
mentioning “metaphysics”, we are implying that there is more to
Science than what is visible. But that might not be enough. So,
let me elaborate a bit.
2. “Science” in a wider sense is a “Matrix” (incidentally “Matr”
in the “Matrix” means Mother and “ix = ics” means a Complex of
Dynamics). It may be better to say that explicitly. The simplest
picture that I can draw about Science is something like below.
Cosmic Vision Axioms
Etc. Ideology, etc.
Progress Practical Arts
We call the whole dynamics in loop “Science”, not any one
of 4 elements depicted in the picture. Or, in Leroy’s language,
the whole “process” (going around the relations) is the Science.
In Rene Thom’s Language, “Science” is a Verb = “Science-ing”.
Science is not an object, but a “doing”.
[In relation to the picture (mapping of dynamics), I found
a diagram drawn for G. Bateson’s theory on Alcoholism. A
copy is enclosed. Please tell me what you think.]
The “elements” are in a mutually supporting Loop (network)
or “vicious circle”. That is the Dynamics that gives rise to
“Existence” of a science (culture) as “Living Organism” and keeps
it maintaining itself. It is the “Becoming” of the science as a
“Being” (not a Linear sense of becoming a Being, but Feedback
Loop. In Hegelian/Marxist jargon it is said to be “Reproducing
Unfortunate habit of European language is that the word
“Science” is used to refer only to the top-left element and being
understood as such. Actually, the situation is worse in that the
Matrix in different cultures has different media (stylisms) to
express that element. A particular “Medium” (stylism), however,
becomes the identification/identity of the particular science.
(McLuhan said “Medium is the Message”.) I called that “Fashion”.
[It is like naming and identifying a sickness by its
symptom, say like “Red Nose Fever”. How and Why such a symptom
emerges may be traced to the existence of a certain virus in the
sick person. That is like recognizing two elements in the Matrix.
When “medical knowing” comes to trace why the immune system of
this particular person fails and others do not, then it knows
three elements in the Matrix. If the medical science comes to
trace how the disease developed in evolution/history, then they
know the 4th element.
But the above is a Linear model. Only after the Medine has
come to know the “Meaning” of Life-Death,
perhaps it will have a view of the complete Matrix.
At the moment, European Science knows itself by its
“symptoms”. In general, scientists themselves do not know
(do not care to know) why and how its peculiar “stylism”
(medium of expression, visible appearance) has come to be.]
Native Science starts with a different “World View” (Cosmology,
Metaphysics) — say, for example, (1) it does not distinguish
(see) “Human Ego” and “Objects” —. (2) In expressing
“Knowledge”, therefore it cannot use Newtonian Language of
“Objects”. (3) In the Technological applications, it cannot be of
“subjugation/exploitation of Nature as an aggregate of objects”.
(4) it does not satisfy the aim of gratifying Ego. And therefore
(1′) it does not enforce Will To Power. That means, (2′) it does
not Develop the Language (theory/principle/knowledge) of
That is, the dynamics that started with the Native World
View cannot go on the same “vicious circle” of the European
3. I sensed that Boniface wanted to talk about “Technology”
(Science in Practices). European thinking is very much “class
conscious” and discriminatory. It separates “Science” from
Technology. Science in the academic sense is the Superior
intellect. “Technology” is what lower class laborers do by Body.
Technology smells like soil and sweat (if not blood).
In the late 19th century, European scholars came to
recognize that “China had developed a high 1evel of Technology
before Europeans”. But they said that “China has never developed
One ought to think about this distinction/discrimination
between Science and Technology.
Let us, for example, take Time Measuring “Technology”.
European scientists would grant that Mayans had far advanced Time
Measuring Technology as evident in Mayan Calendars. But what
about the Science of Time?
It is easy to grant an advanced “Technology” of Number
Computation to Mayans. But what about “Mathematics”, “Geometry”
(Science of Space-Time)?
Salmons communicate by Electricity. They have sensors
running along their body lengthwise. They have a High
Technology in Radio Communication. That is the Technology of Love
Making. Salmons also use the same technology to communicate with
their Environment. The Science of Salmons, therefore, must be
based on the “way of Knowing” developed in their Love Making.
European culture developed the Technology of “Insulating”
individuals and actually retarded, repressed the Science of
Human/Social relations. The “separation”, “discrimination” served
European Aims (Value), and hence it became the foundation of
European Science. European Science was based on the Way of
Knowing developed in War Making. You note that the notion of
“Defense” is a part of the technology of Insulation/Separation.
“Sciences” are relative to Aims as such and their expressions are
shaped by the Technologies which serve the particular Alms for
I imagine it is necessary and “educational” to have a
discourse on “Technology”.
4. Interestingly, once we get into “Technology”, we would soon be
talking about “Appropriate Technology” etc.
But, the phrase “Appropriate Technology” contains a
patronizing notion (paradigm). It is good that CIDA has learned
(from bitter experiences) that Transplantation of European
Technology does not work. But it seems that the European Aid
Agencies and Experts still think that they can teach “Appropriate
Technology” to the people in the Developing countries. Just lower
the standard. That will do.
[This kind of idea appears often in various contexts. In
science education, physics teachers often said to “make
science easy” for female students so that they would take
I am afraid, but not surprised, to find some
“educationists” thinking like “make math easy for Native
Math Education”. That may be called “Appropriate Math”?]
What is “Appropriate” or not is relative to the “Aim”, or
“Value”. For what does any people wish to have an “Economic
Development”? Is it because Canadian Banks want to get Interest
paid? Or is it for European Trade to expand its market?
What if the Aim, Value, Utility of the Native Science,
Technology and Economy happened to be achievement of “Justice”
rather than “materialistic wealth”?
The Native might value Love Life to be of the Supreme Value (say,
the Tahitians). What then is the “Appropriate Technology”?
It ought to be noted that even the European Economy that
dictated Technology and, hence, Science was not purely
“materialistic”. Rather, it was “Pride”, in my view. There are
scholars who did “Psychoanalysis” on Capitalism. E.P. Thompson.
Fo1klore, Anthropology, and Social History. Indiana Historical
Review vol. 3. no. 2. (1977); Poverty of Theory and Other Essays
(1978); J. C. Scott. The Moral Economy Of peasant. (1976); F.
Braudel. Civilization Materielle, Economie et Capitalime. ( ); K.
Po1anyi The Great Transformation (1957); etc. are the examples.
If you like, I can present a meta-picture of the worldview
Unfortunately, Economists (Social Scientists) in general do
not pay much attention to “Peasants”. But, there are, however,
several publications on Latino American Peasant Economy, such as
Ernest Feder The people Of The Peasantry. Anchor Books 1971.
Florentia E. Mallon. The Defense of Community In Peru’s Central
Highlands: Peasant Struggle And Capitalist Transition 1860-1940.
Princeton U Press 1983. [See also Gerald Walsh. Indians In
Transition. McClelland 1971 for a comparison.] And studies of
Latino-American Peasantry give rise to Liberation
Pedagogy/Liberation Theology. It will come to Liberation Science,
eventually. In a sense “Science” is a Pedagogy, except it is
“self-learning” not “teaching”.
At this level of “Holistic View”, we come to see that
Native science is a part of Native Liberation. It has to do with
how the Native Community comes to Peace, and thereby leads the
entire World to Peace.
5. It may be my error in perception, but I sense a certain Fear
or Apprehension in going forward with Native Science. I sensed
Defensive Thinking here and there.
I understand and respect genuine Fear that we might
misrepresent Native Science and disgrace it in the public.
die. It comes to the question of accepting Death as a part of the
process/dynamics of Birth. That is the meaning of Sun Dance. We
die once any way sooner or later. If we die in Love
process/dynamics, like salmons do, We should be happy in that.
When you waved your hand, I had a moment of imagination
that I was sending off my friend who was taking off on a Kamikaze
mission. Actually, I had never sent off friends on a Kamikaze
mission. But that does not matter. I am sending off the Brave
Sou1s. They are to give away all they got. In a sense, it does
pain me and I feel something sad. I try to protect you, but in
essence, I cannot do anything for you in your love affair. That
is entirely yours to live and die.