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Good Emerging out of Evil

By Karmayogi

The post war period was known as the period of the Cold War. All over the world, it was a period when pollution slowly gathered into a veritable evil, resulting in smog in the air, acid rain, DDT in vegetables and in water. Life was threatened at its very roots. Then emerged the movement of the environmentalists. Many things of revolutionary character emerged. The most important thing was that the world discovered that science is for the people and not science for science's sake. When a part usurps the status of the whole, the part has the tendency to become evil. Science is a part, the society is a whole. Some fifty years ago, a Maharashtrian journalist, commenting on political coalition, described a militant party as one capable of dominating the whole coalition, though they were in a minority. He called it tail wagging the body. It is the nature of assertion.

Out of the evil of pollution emerged the good sense that science is there to serve the people, not for its own assertion. Sri Aurobindo says that Life uses good as well as evil as an instrument of progress. Pollution is an example of it. We are all proud of science, especially its technology. Its success, says Russell, is amazing. Because of the striking success, we begin to worship science, adore it as the be all and end all. Science is neutral; man, his attitude, is moral in the sense he gives a character to the thing he uses. Man's excessive devotion to science leads to science harming him. That the scientist has a social responsibility is now well established. The scientist concentrating on science is part. His taking society into account is whole. The former can hurt, not the latter.

Science rules the world. It is knowledge. It seeks pure, total, ultimate knowledge. How can evil come out of it? Still, we see it emerges out of science. The part can become selfish, evil, wrong. It can be an error. The whole can never hurt, go wrong or give birth to evil. The part and the whole have their own attitudes. The attitude appropriate to the whole is Selflessness. It can mature into self-giving. The part's attitude is selfish. Selfishness can hurt others or all. Selflessness in one can hurt no one. The selflessness of the part cannot hurt others or the whole. The scientist has a responsibility to the society which is the whole. Though the scientist discovers, it is the politician who has the ultimate word as to its use. Should the scientist develop social responsibilities, he will move to the present position of the politician.
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