Can Science Give Us Lasting Happiness?
A teacher by profession,I have had the opportunity to come in contact and cultivate friendship with a large number of students and their parents over the last twenty five years.Grown-up children have been at war with me since I don't appreciate as much the achievements of science as they do.Today's children find it very odd and revolting if someone speaks against science.They argue that science has made life worth enjoying and they are much more fortunate than their ancestors.They boast that scientists have conquered time and distance.Now you can see and speak to anyone anywhere in the world any moment.Previously people wrote letters to their near and dear ones and had to wait a great deal for a reply.The smartphone has put an end to the waiting and no one needs to be anxious and apprehensive. Now one can watch a favourite movie whenever one likes.One can watch a cricket match on television.
The omnipresent YouTube channel provides us with videos of people and places everywhere in the world.What more can man expect from science? Everyone is aware of the startling and incredible progress science has made in the field of medicine.They say I am enjoying the fruits of science and yet I am not grateful to it.
In the year 2001 I had met a retired professor of philosophy(Dr Banabihari Choudhury) and had argued in favour of science.He had asked me,"Has man's sorrow disappeared?" I was rendered speechless.There was sense in his question.
Our ancestors did have their own problems and we do have our own problems.They used to die prematurely, experience disease and discomfort.They had to bear the brunt of the vagaries of Nature.There were poverty and destitution.They didn't have the comforts without which we can't be able to survive.They didn't have the right to freedom of speech.Admittedly they lived like slaves whereas we are living like kings.They had to walk miles and miles to reach a destination.However we cover such distances in minutes.Science has given us magnificent and incredible things.However,it has at the same time given us countless destructive evils.Industrialisation has given people jobs to sustain their lives, but the large scale pollution of air,water bodies and the soil is taking its toll of life.Medical science has made significant progress but because of the improved means of transport,we are too lazy to walk.Lack of physical exertion causes diseases.Millions of people die in accidents every year.People don't care to take exercise as medicines are there to tackle diseases. Agricultural science has also progressed beyond imagination.The modern methods of farming yield incredible profits but the use of fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides to increase production cause terrible
health hazards.In the old days the common people didn't have as much money as they have it today.They had health but not money;we have money but not health.Health can help man make money but money can't always help him to get back his lost health.
When we didn't have smartphones,we wrote letters to our friends and relatives living abroad.We had to wait for replies for days together.When the postman arrived,we would be filled with immense joy and delight.When some relatives came there would be great rejoicing in the house.But now we are so busy that even if we have improved means of communication we hardly contact or visit our near and dear ones.It becomes a matter of grave concern if someone informs us of his arrival and stay in our house for some days.There was a time when we passionately looked forward to visiting foreign countries and it also gave us great pleasure to read travelogues.Now we can see every country and its people on YouTube any moment we like.It is no longer any wonder or surprise to visit America or England.Before the advent of television it was a great joy to go to the cinema.The prospect of going to watch a movie and its aftermath were sheer thrills never felt now. The beauty of a mental picture man's imagination conjures up does have the power and potential to outshine and outweigh any real or naturally beautiful scene.While going through an interesting novel, the reader exercises his imagination.No words can perfectly describe the beauty of the exploits of imagination.Think of the little village where you spent your childhood.How beautiful and fascinating it is! However, when you reach there as a grown man,you are filled with disappointment.It is not as fascinating and charming as it was in your imagination.Your all-powerful science is fast robbing your imagination of its power to create and sustain beauty.It is the exercise of imagination which makes man creative.Look at a landscape and then look at a painting in which a painter has captured the very landscape.You will definitely find the painting to be much more fascinating than the actual landscape.Why? Because it comes from the painter's imagination,and we also use our imagination while judging it.Think of the old days when the audience used their imagination to the maximum while watching a play being staged.An interesting play performed on the stage even now never gives us less pleasure than a film in which everything is presented in the greatest possible detail.We are discussing the role of science in modern man's life.What I want to say is that science is robbing us of the ability to dream and imagine.In an attempt to make life enjoyable and comfortable,it has made a mess of life.
Now immense suffering, frustration and unhappiness rule supreme everywhere.There were not so many unhappy people in the world like now.This was because there were not so many schools, colleges and universities producing passouts to fit into extremely high-profile and lucrative jobs.And what happens when these jobs are not available to all the passouts?They live in a painful and depressed mental state.Most of them become sociopaths. A large number of men and women are still suffering.Presently man's wants are very large in number.After getting a prestigious and high paid job which science has given him,there is no end to his worrying.Now he has to buy a luxury car,one that would not only give him comfort but it will upgrade his social status.Next he has to buy expensive furniture,an expensive television,some expensive smartphones for himself and his family members.A person who gets all these things leads a happy life,but another who knows he is fit or worthy enough to deserve all those things is full of sorrow and lives a most miserable life.Most unemployed people are found unmarried.No parents would give their beautiful daughter to an equally handsome educated young man who is unemployed.This situation is contemporaneous especially with the men of our own times The suffering of the educated unemployed is unbelievable and unbearable.In the old days the educated unemployed didn't suffer like this.Parents happily gave their daughters to men of knowledge and wisdom, and didn't insist that their sons-in-law be engineers,doctors or top bureaucrats.There were no engineering and medical colleges nor were there the civil services.No young man or woman suffered if he or she didn't make it to the
career of an engineer, doctor or bureaucrat as we find it today.What you call scientific progress(I call it decadence)is thus hundred percent responsible for modern man's suffering.The more science advances, the more man will suffer.Now most of my students are entertaining dreams to be aeronautical engineers and astronauts.What would be the outcome if they fail to fulfil their objectives? Naturally they will live a life of bitter disappointment.Science has incredibly multiplied man's materialistic requirements.Now man has so many materialistic requirements that they have given a shockingly stark materialistic orientation to life everywhere.People have neither the time nor the mindset to bother about God.Those who go to temples, churches and mosques have their materialistic purposes to be answered.
As science grew and developed materialism and utilitarianism also grew and assumed alarming proportions.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Since the beginning of civilisation man has been struggling to make life easy and comfortable.This is something natural or inevitable because man is endowed with superb intelligence.Other living creatures don't have such intelligence and hence man has been lording it over them since his advent on earth.Is it good to make use of them and kill them to fulfil our daily requirements?Our irresistible desire for eating meat and our intense passion for using leather goods are such that we pay a deaf ear to the voice of our conscience.We ignore our conscience outwardly and fabricate beautiful pretexts to cover our sense of guilt which remains intact in one's heart of hearts.This directly adds to bad karma which keeps ever increasing but without which there can be no creation.If creation has to persist and continue, good and evil have to reside side by side.Without bad karma there can be no suffering which is so basically and so barely needed for self-realisation and emancipation of the soul.I have already said suffering can end suffering.When suffering makes self-realisation happen,there is no room for any sense of guilt or wrongdoing in you,nor does one experience the pricks of conscience.
Your mind which was free and powerful previously has now been captured and kept in perfect captivity and has got to work as your humble slave.So the mind now doesn't have the freedom to feel or think things like thoughts of guilt,remorse and wrongdoing since you don't allow it to do so.So there is no possibility of acquiring any bad karma.A worldly person can't help feeling guilty after doing a wrong deed and thus keeps contributing to the growth of his bad karma unawares but a knower of the self can't feel any regret or remorse in such a situation.The spirit doesn't think but the mind which is matter does. The spirit is sinless.A centenarian Hindu monk was making a visit to a place of pilgrimage, while there was heavy snowfall.The monk badly needed something to eat,but there was nothing around in sight to eat.Helpless,he entered a pit and caught a fish.He made a fire and burned the fish.Then he ate it to satisfy his hunger.The common pilgrims who saw him burning a fish and eating its flesh scowled at him considering him a big sinner.The monk had a hearty laugh and went away.Some other pilgrims who knew about the monk's extraordinary psychic powers were speechless.Any other Hindu monk who had no self-realisation(dressed in
saffron robes though)would never have dared to kill the fish.Had he dared to kill it under the leadership of his mind,he couldn't have helped feeling guilty.All science and scientific wonders owe their birth to the mind of man.Now try to perceive the smallness of the mind and the greatness of the spirit.The mind is the sole source of weakness but the spirit is pure strength.To live as the spirit is to live hundred percent fearlessly.
Science can never be without fear and doubt,so how can it give us true everlasting happiness or bliss? While you are driving your car you're not free from the fear of a tyre getting punctured or of another vehicle crashing into the rear or a side of your vehicle.However,I want full guarantee to safety when I am using anything which is a product of science. Scientists research all life, invent some new things and then die in a short time.The scientists themselves are completely unimportant but their inventions are of permanent importance; their inventions outweigh themselves in value.People use mechanical devices and machines but hardly bother to know who invented them.Science encourages materialism and a materialistic outlook on life in this way; science gives emphasis on things; spirituality always aims at people and their genuine innermost happiness.A scientist thinks external things can make people happy; spirituality has nothing to do with the world outside as true happiness happens within man himself.Science is limited whereas the spirit is unlimited.As long as we consider ourselves limited,we are forced to think all other things such as Nature,the sun,the moon etc are limited and there can be nothing unlimited because only the limited that is visible has any existence. Thought alone makes us think so.When the mind has been rendered captive along with thought,we can't be misled to believe that the seemingly beautiful things are alone worth having in the world.The limited has to acquire the unlimited state to some extent at least to understand and appreciate the beauty and significance unlimited.