An interest in science could lead one to ask “where did science originate” if one is into that sort of inquiry. Frankly, I don’t particularly give a damn about the question. I’d rather understand what is science. Precisely defining any abstract concept in a way that will be universally accepted is hard. However some definition must be advanced so that the discussion does not degenerate into semantic confusion.
Last year in March, Keshav Bedi in an email pointed me to a pamphlet, “Is Science Western in Origin?” by C.K. Raju, published in 2009. [Click on the image above for the pdf of the piece.]
I responded with the following. Begin quote. Continue reading “Science”
Will Durant (1885 – 1981) the wiki informs us “was an American writer, historian, and philosopher.” He wrote the 11-volume The Story of Civilization, published between 1935 and 1975, written in collaboration with his wife, Ariel Durant. His work The Story of Philosophy (1926) helped to popularize philosophy. “He sought to unify and humanize the great body of historical knowledge, which had grown voluminous and become fragmented into esoteric specialties, and to vitalize it for contemporary application,” the wiki notes.
Indians may find his view of India interesting. Once again let’s refer to the wiki:
In 1930, he published The Case for India while he was on a visit to India as part of collecting data for The Story of Civilization. He was so taken aback by the devastating poverty and starvation he saw as result of British imperial policy in India that he took time off from his stated goal and instead concentrated on his polemic fiercely advocating Indian independence. He wrote about medieval India, “The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.”
Sadly hundreds million Indians continue to suffer “devastating poverty and starvation” nearly a century after Durant made the case for India’s release from British imperialism. Among the many causes for this immense tragedy is an important one missed by most Indians — that while British imperialism ended in 1947, imperialism did not end. The British designed and constructed the machine that imposed grinding poverty on India but Indians not only maintained the machine in good working order but improved its efficiency.
India’s heart-breaking poverty is entirely indigenous, made in India by Indians for Indians. Continue reading “Will Durant on Great Minds and Ideas”
The world has an abundance of great intellectual giants in all sorts of domains, some living and some dead. Most of us can gain a lot of knowledge and wisdom from them — if we had the time, the motivation, the inclination and the ability to do so.
Unfortunately as it happens we lack one or more of those, and can’t appreciate their works and don’t directly benefit from their genius. Most likely we’ll never be able to understand the works of the likes of Nietzsche, Ramanujan, Einstein, Hayek, Turing, et al. They are supremely important for humanity as a whole but we ordinary individuals gain very little practical wisdom from them.
Instead we are more likely to gain quite a bit from much lesser people. Why? Because they are not that far removed from us in our mundane lives. I call them “persons with mundane practical wisdom.” Continue reading “Systems versus Goals”