The role of science in our lives has always been as a tool to see whether something works, discover ways to correct mistakes as we come across them, and improve.
The Complete Tools for the Status Quo
Like most tools, it remains impartial on anyone’s belief systems. The user who wields it amplifies its usefulness.
And then, there’s the problem of defining usefulness. Is the end goal minimizing suffering? Perhaps, pursuit of happiness? And then, there’s the problem of defining happiness. And then, there’s the problem of defining anything, with logic and objectivity of course that most of us can agree on. And then, and then…
It has always been mandatory to teach students (formally or, better yet, informally) Arts, Literature, Music, and other humanities subjects, especially to those pursuing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field.
“An engineer without humanities will build weapons.” – A Friend
Why, then, must we let the State and the Capitalists have control over what happens in STEM fields?
We need to radicalize STEM fields as a response to the oppression of statism and capitalism.
Cross-polinating science and politics
We need our scientists and engineers to be aware of the nuances in cultural, social, and political systems that persist our lives. STEM people have a responsibility to keep the public safe, healthy, and well in all aspects. It’s possible when they examine problems holistically, including social, economic, political, legal, and ecological consequences.
Most are educated along a strict positivist paradigm1 that teaches them into thinking that STEM fields are apolitical and amoral. This makes them perfect agents for realizing capitalist oppression. That’s why we have neurosurgeons with god complexes, and engineers and technicians who contribute to designing and building weapons of mass destruction.
A foundation on social science theory would be a good place to start. This does not necesarily mean on the academic sense; people with STEM background can still learn a lot by listening to the stories and experiences of other people.
I don’t think it’s that hard. First, we need to start from scratch.
Discard the useless things that institutionalized schooling taught you. Solutions are not always black and white. And anyway, if you find it hard to remember the stuff that school taught you, there’s a deep flaw with how we transfer knowledge and information from one person to another. Of course, you know that last bit already.
We must learn to utilize tools to benefit the many, not just make contraptions to be profited from. Scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians, and everyone in between: it’s hard to realize that many of us are mere tools of the people in power to maintain the status quo. They urge us to “innovate” for Growth and Progress. It’s harder still to unlearn the methods and processes, and how they integrate with other pressing matters, that ultimately build, build, build fragile sytems.
Growth and Progress, in capitalism’s context, is only “sustained” through the relentless burning (literal or otherwise) through limited natural resources.
Aside from maintaining a close contact to Arts, which many argue resides in the opposite side of the coin, what else could then be our guiding principle?
I propose, for now, which is of course, subject still for review, a simple secret, with a major omission.
It’s purportedly the Japanese secret to a long and happy life.
Or at least, Ikigai as the internet meme. Here, when I say meme, I only mean it as how it’s used and distributed in articles online.
The convergence of these four concepts is one’s “reason for being,” their ikigai: what you’re good at, what you love, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.
If we are to be truly liberated from suffering, the last one must be omitted, or at least, heavily modified. What I mean by “heavily modified” is, think differently of the what getting paid for means.
Our incentives must come from elsewhere, from something that will sustain all life forms.
“Getting paid for” should start to mean, “I’m okay doing this for the community; it’s my way of giving back,” or, “I know by doing this for them, the community will take care of me.”