Short Essay on Science: Blessing or Curse?
Impact of science on humanity is undeniable. On the face of it, science and its inventions appear to be an unalloyed blessing. However, if we ponder a little, disturbing signs too appear.
How a blessing?
Effect on material well-being and mental attitudes; advantages of scientific discoveries in daily life – gadgets to remove drudgery, electricity, communications, transport, entertainment, computers; health – medicine, preventive and curative, control of disease and epidemic; industry, agriculture and economic development – improvement of means of production and productivity. As for mental attitude – scientific perspective banishes obscurantism and superstition; develops questioning spirit, objective outlook.
How a curse? Each of the blessings cited above has a dark side to it – a curse. Material well – being has led to crass materialism and consumer culture; discoveries of science have also produced weapons and means of destruction; use of scientific technological means of production and comforts has degraded environment, caused pollution; new diseases resistant to drugs keep coming up technological devices mean to for health field misused to kill – feticide, for instance; spirit of inquiry and positivism, if carried too far, can suppress essential humanity and actually restrict the free range of thought and imagination; gadgets and inventions can make man dependent and, in fact, kill his creativity.
So, is science a blessing or a curse? It would do well to recall what Milton said in a different context – the mid is its own place, it can make a hell of heaven, or a heaven of it is man’s responsibility. Man can use it creatively or destructively, turn it into a blessing or get crushed under its curse.
This is the age of science and technology. Science has changed the face of the earth with its too many wonderful inventions and discoveries. If one of our ancestors were to return to the earth, he or she would not be able to recognize it-so tremendous, complete and fundamental has been the change.
Science has benefited mankind in an unprecedented manner by its wonderful progress and development. And still the development, research, inventions and discoveries are going on a very fast track. These are of fundamental nature and of far reaching consequences, so much so that the world would get further transformed unrecognizably.
Science touches all of us and our life at every step, as a big boon and blessing. It has helped us to conquer space and time. The world has now become a global village, thanks to very fast and reliable means of travel and communication. Science has also helped man to conquer the moon and to explore the outer space. Many a fatal disease is now checked and eradicated. For example, small pox is now a disease of the history only. The great and significant researches in the fields, of agriculture, irrigation, water-management etc., have helped in developing new variety of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and effective methods of water conservation. These benefits and facilities were not available to our forefathers.
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The use of computers and super computers has further revolutionised our life and work with the dawn of scientific era, the barriers of the nations are crumbling fast and the international living and interaction are very much in sight. Nations and countries have come closer and isolation has been eliminated. A new composite culture marked with greater tolerance and understanding, and secularism is now assured. In a sense, science has unified the world and reduced differences in outlook and thinking. By removing many superstitions and blind beliefs, modern science has inculcated scientific temper and spirit in man to gr6at extent.
Because of science and technology there has been tremendous progress in the fields of industry, commerce and human resources development as well. Consequently, there is a new world economic order in sight and the gap between the developed and developing countries are being reduced. The new economic order ensures a great industrial and corporate cooperation, globalization, expansion and liberalization among the nations. The quality of life and standard of living, in various underdeveloped and developing counties, have improved and the countries are likely to be upgraded further. The contribution of science in the betterment of human life has been great and significant and further expectations from it are no less significant or great. The boons and blessings of science assure us further strengthening of human equality, fraternity and liberty.
Man feels more safe, secure, comfortable and important. Today than ever before, because of scientific development and advancement. The day is not far off when we shall have colonies on the moon and the planets. Science has achieved much, and promises to achieve still more and more in the years to come. Science has tamed forces of nature, conquered space and time, eradicated may fatal diseases, given us food, clothing etc., and enough to spare. Now there are no more famines, epidemics and pestilences. Science has even pushed further the threats of death and increased the average longevity of man.
But science has been a mixed blessing. It has been a boon and blessing in certain fields; it has also proved a curse and bane in many others. It has given us many dangerous and destructive weapons like atom and hydrogen bombs and missiles. During the Second World War itself 300,000 people died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the USA dropped atom bombs there in 1945. The biological and chemical weapons are still more destructive. The bombs and other means of mass destruction now produced are far more lethal and powerful than used in 1945. The biological and chemical weapons are still more dangerous and destructive. They have the added advantage, as the source of attack can remain hidden and unidentified to a great extent. These weapons can be used to cause global havoc and destruction without any open declaration of war. Then there are well-organised terrorist groups spread all over the world. They use these weapons in their desperation and use unprecedented deaths and ruination.
Shakespeare has said that there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. There have been many scientific researches and discoveries which have unfortunately been hijacked to harmful destructive paths. It is reported that about half a million scientists are now employed on weapon research throughout the world. The huge amount of money spent on these dangerous researches fan exceeds the amount of money being spent on developing technologies for new energy resources, improving human health, raising agricultural productivity, controlling pollution etc.
At the end of the last world war, many of the scientists were taken away by the victorious countries for developing their own biological and chemical war weapons. It is alleged that the outbreak of plague in India in 1994 was genetically engineered. Obviously, science is being used so much for destructive purposes and so little for meeting real needs of humanity. This turns science into a bane. It is man who is ultimately responsible for turning science into a curse instead a blessing. By itself science can be said to be a blessing, boon or bonanza; the bane and cures are brought about by our wrong orientation and priorities.
The misuse of science has ushered in our life many undesirable elements. There has been erosion in man’s faith in Sod and religion. Morality and ethics have been marginalized and materialism has increased unprecedented. Rapid, unplanned and indiscriminate industrialization has resulted in pollution on a vast scale. No doubt, science and technology has taken giant strides in recent times, but it has dehumanized human life in the same proportion.
Human values have been pushed in the background and man has become more selfish, cruel, sensual, violent and destructive. There is no more simple living and high thinking. But let us hope that ultimately sanity prevails and science is used more and more for the benefit of mankind. It depends solely upon man himself how he uses science and its discoveries and researches. Science as knowledge and power is neither savior nor destroyer.