Science and culture- Is a confluence possible?

two

In this
age of high technology, science has made a huge contribution to the development
of culture across the globe. Defining culture, it is a way of life which is
common to a particular people and it is based on a social tradition which is
carried on in its institutions and history.

Culture
has, up until this point in time, developed in geographical isolation, i.e.
culturally, the Chinese are different from Indians who are different from
Europeans, are different from the Americans. The turning point is technology
which is making certain aspects a global phenomenon, for example, we may all
speak different languages but we all know what an iphone is and use it as well.
Knowledge and information has become more freely accessible than it has ever
been. Even fashion trends are being picked up across the world when it comes to
the technologically savvy people. These are of course, only a few of the things
that are annoying the cultural guardians.

The
culture of an individual is kept alive by cultural aspects of his country,
literature and society. The fear of the people who consider themselves as
guardians of culture, that science may ruin our culture, is based on a very
narrow vision. They consider culture as a sort of literary creation of the
society. The guardians of culture are apprehensive looking at the impact of
science on cultural values.

Not
ignoring the positive side of the traditional culture, it provides peace and
serenity to an individual because his mind is free and he is enjoying his right
to follow what he thinks is right. But the scientists consider all of the
traditional culture of no use anymore. Considering the fact that Stephen hawking has written an entire book explaining that culture and traditions aren’t of any use. The irony of the present situation is
that the leaders of the traditional and the scientific cultures have stopped
speaking to each other in any way. The guardians of culture behave as if the
traditional culture is the whole culture and the study by science is of
no interest. On the other hand, many scientists have no use for the whole of
the traditional culture. It seems totally irrelevant to them for the real
interest of. But still science and cultural ethics are moving closer
gradually and now due to the advancements in technology there is no blockage
between these once conflicting orders, considering the usage of mobile phones
by cultural guardians and the practicing of surya namaskar and yoga by
scientists.

Literature
can be called to be a lucky instrument of shaping the culture, but it is not
the only means of doing so. Thomas Henry Huxley has spoken and written a lot
about how people need to understand the need of both science and culture
simultaneously in our society. In fact, a whole new culture is rising in the
world as a result of rapid advances in science and technology. Culture until
today had been somehow linked with landed gentry and the poor have had no use
of it. The scientific revolution, by its worth and achievements has filled a
new optimism among men. No problem is now considered to be too difficult to
solve. Scientists believe that by research, they can solve many problems that
till now were left to fate. With such optimism and belief in success, man feels
a new sense of importance in solving the great problems of hunger and poverty
which afflict a huge part of humanity all across the globe.

Science has in spite of all the obstacles, added to the
development of the modern culture in its own way. All scientific advancements
have become handy to the men of culture and the entire human race. Science has
opened the floodgates of art and literature to the common man. Gone are the
days when culture and sophistication were the monopoly of the few privileged
with money and power. Culture is now the property of masses all over the world
and this boon has become possible only with the aid of science. Perhaps
the most balanced view is from `Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the founder of the Baha’i
faith:

“Culture without science is superstition
and science without culture is materialism.”

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