Monday, September 7, 2009

Every drop goes to make an Ocean ...

First published on Desicritics.

I believe in this maxim, now more than ever. I believe that a collective of something makes a much, much larger whole. That a little action can change the course of things. Of course it does.

These last 2 days I was a in a forum where there were discussions on ethics in science and technology (s&t) ... so there were these scientists, experts and there were a few of us trying to make sense of it all. These were scientists from various streams - from Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Biologists, Physicists, Information Technology etc.etc. And one got a faint glimpse into a world that otherwise one never gets to look into. One also got another glimpse. A glimpse into the relationships between S&T, Profit and Government. A glimpse of an animal that is Profit+Power that is served by Knowledge (of S&T). It felt odd to see the great being that is Knowledge (Science&Technology), as a dog chained and used by the P+P.

A few months ago, I had had an opportunity to get a glimpse into the world of our powers-that-be - the world of the decision makers, the bureaucrats. I was horrified at the helplessness that was expressed in that forum. At that time I couldn't digest the helplessness in the selling out of our powers-that-be to something which we are not able to clearly see.

It felt like society was addicted to, hooked on the P+P. Like a Cocaine fix, even knowing that it is eating up our insides, we (as a society) serve the addiction, in little and big ways. Somewhere we have lost control and our (society's) addictions (plus its helplessness) have taken over.

I think we really, really, really don't understand the nature of the addiction, the nature of this animal, Profit+Power<-served-by-Knowledge-and-governments. I don't think we really understand how deep the rot is or how rotten the rot that permeates our worlds. Believe me, I have NOTHING against profit. Honest gains from honest efforts. 10%, 20%, 30%... all acceptable. How about 500%? or 1000% or 5000%? And we wouldn't want to know what goes behind making that 1000%.

If we want change, we have to commit to it, with all our strength, with all our will. Because the animal that is Profit+Power<-served-by-Knowledge-and-governments is putting out 100% effort into feeding itself. And once we make this commitment, we can WILL change.

And induce The Butterfly Effect.

And the change is happening. Another World is happening. It is happening because more and more people are discussing issues of equity, justice, plurality, sustainability, choices, rights ... ordinary people, teachers, doctors, scientists, law-makers, bureaucrats, youth groups, women and so on ... more and more people are committing to change, deciding to change.

If change is seen in the span of decades, it is disheartening ... but seen in a span of centuries, one sees a very certain and positive movement towards respect for all. We have come a long, long way from when women were burnt at the husband's pyre, or slaves were whipped in cotton fields, or education was only for a privileged few. We have come a long way from where the only answer came from the gun, where the poor or women could not vote, or religion controlled society, or people could be touched or included based on their caste.

These monsters are still there. These animals still breathe and feed themselves. But slowly, inexorably they are being curtailed. And this happens only because change is demanded - again and again - by people who want change, who are committed to change. Because issues like Ethics in Science & Technology get discussed. Because Right to Information, Shelter, Livelihood and Life become norms.

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