The world of tomorrow is a world that will see a significant play of science and technology. This is bound to affect the lives of people as is already happening dramatically, sometimes for the better, sometimes adversely.
Do you think we should say goodbye to all science and technology; if not, how do we prepare for the future citizenry? What is your advice?
Your question is in fact a way of putting forth the whole idea of Mahatma Gandhi in a roundabout way, but you cannot deceive me. There is no way to go back to nature, and that’s what your question is: whether we should go back to nature and say good-bye to science and technology.
You have not used the words “back to nature.” But in effect, if you say goodbye to technology and science, that will be the outcome. And there cannot be anything more dangerous than the idea of going “back to nature.” It is true that there have been many things in science and technology which make many thinkers around the world feel that it is time to say Stop. They have brought us nuclear warfare, they have brought us to a possibility of total destruction of life on this planet.
But still I say there is no way of going back. That does not mean I say yes to everything that science and technology have done. Man in every sphere has worked unconsciously. He knows not what he is doing. He goes on groping; sometimes he finds diamonds and sometimes he finds ordinary stones and sometimes he finds nothing. And up to now he has not been able to transform science from something accidental to something intentional.
That is my proposal: that science should be intentional. It should not grope in the dark, it should have a sense of direction. All those discoveries that are going to be harmful to humanity or to the ecology of the earth should be immediately dropped. All efforts that are being made to create more destructive weapons for war should be stopped.
And the same people, the same scientists and technologists, can be given a sense of direction; then this earth can become a paradise. It is not that they have given only that which is harmful they have given you electricity; otherwise the earth was completely dark. They have given you tremendously sophisticated medicine, surgery; otherwise many people who are alive would have died long ago. This is because of scientific growth.
For example in India, just fifty years ago, out of ten children born, only one used to remain alive more than two years. Nine were bound to die. Within fifty years the situation has been changed, completely reversed. Now, out of ten children only one child dies and nine children live.