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Saturday Feature
Subjugation of science
SF Alim

          The solar system, the distant stars and the galactic systems all obey the Law of Gravitation. However, none of these objects in the universe follows the law of gravitation because they are afraid of its discoverer, Isaac Newton. Nevertheless, they never violate the laws enunciated by him. It is also the case with other laws of nature. Now the question is: Do natural objects really obey such laws or that those laws are mere creatures of human imagination? Moreover, what we understand as natural laws are nothing but some tips for humans to understand the mysterious world around them! So, may one then also infer that all these talks about science and the rules and laws of nature they deal with are just a set of convenient codes made by some people by way of a consensus and transmitted to others through a similar process of consensus? Then the same argument may also be applied to the entire body of human knowledge. Is then the whole exercise called science or philosophy or any other branch of knowledge that people are wont to think as eternal a pure figment of our imagination? And if such claim to universality of scientific laws is to lose its basic premise what remains of man's ultimate dream of conquering one day the whole of the known universe and becoming its undisputed ruler?
But before man is able to rule the world that surrounds him, he has to consolidate his own power. And it is not the power of the individual that can ensure him his authority over the surrounding world. When one is talking about man's power, one is in truth concerned with the power of the people. In addition, the phrase people's power carries no sense unless that element called people is an organised entity. People's organisation and the dynamics of that organisation do certainly obey some laws. What are the dynamics that drive people to build such organisations as society and state? What are the laws that people obey to build societies, empires and civilisations? Are there really any such laws? If there are at all any, they must be the ultimate laws, as far as humans are concerned.
But what is more fundamental than if there are any such laws is the fact that people have been exercising their power throughout the ages and have, meanwhile, been building societies, empires and civilisations. They have been doing it without the knowledge of the existence of any general laws to guide and drive them. They say if people are animals, they are social animals. When they build states, form governments to run the states and build empires by subjugating other peoples, their societies and states, they are behaving as political animals. One can also rephrase the whole discussion and say that people's power is about politics and vice versa. The ultimate organisation of all such organisations of the people is the political organisation. In that case, if there are any laws to guide and drive people through the vehicle of their organisations, the ultimate form of such vehicles being the political organisation, then we have so long been talking about the laws of politics. Even if no concrete laws and rules, in the exact spirit and sense of the laws of science, have ever been enunciated to understand, explain and formulate people's behaviour when they build states, governments, empires or civilisations or when they destroy them, they have accumulated a wealth of experience about the same. That is all about politics. And if one is to narrate the foregoing discussion about people's power, their organisation and in the final analysis, their politics in still simpler terms, then it is, so far as it has happened since the dawn of civilisation, all about subjugating one group of people by another. The dream to rule nature or the universe and the efforts to devise laws to fulfil that end begins with subjugation of man by man. So far, politics has acted as the handmaiden of the powerful people to rule the rest of the weaker lot. Science, with its abstract laws, too, has been in the service of the powerful. Is it then surprising that the first of the tasks of the post-enlightenment powers was to devise more powerful guns, canons and explosives? Ships in the sea and the vehicles on land, which were then fitted with newly invented engines, at once went on expeditionary voyages for the colonies. They conquered with the power of science the people who lacked the advanced science and its attendant technology. Newton's laws of gravity gave a new insight into the laws of ballistics and into how the projectiles may be aimed and hurled farther at targets more effectively and with better precision. So it was with other gifts of science and technology. What did other things the men of politics do with this newfound power of science and technology? They did not just make a slave of their own poorer class of people. And they did not even stop at subjugating distant lands and their peoples. An era of indiscriminate exploitation and destruction of different peoples, their cultures and resources began. Of all the resources, natural environment was the most crucial. For it is the life support system of the entire human race. But the men of politics and power had no time to think over these silly matters.
The science of politics, which claims itself to be the science of people's power, has until now remained the science of the powerful. Like science proper, the science of politics is yet to serve the people, who are, however, not those that hanker after power and subjugate their own kind.
Politics and science, which have been subjugated and hence stunted as a consequence of the control that the powerful exercise on them are yet to reveal their fullest potential. Therefore, it is not only the masses of the people who have to wrest their freedom from the grip of the powerful; science too, has to be freed from the grip of its subjugator, the global powers and their surrogate research establishments and the academia. And until such time, even the abstract laws of science or of the social dynamics that drive people to organise and become powerful, too, will remain just slaves and serve those who have no serious interest either in science or in the possibilities of the people.
More science in politics
With the developments in medical technology, the political parties in the West are poised to use science more gainfully. They are now peering even into the brains of their aficionados. The objective is to ensure the loyalty of the people further. How are the politicians or their consultants achieving such feat? Let us see what is happening inside a medical research laboratory at the University of California in Los Angeles, USA. There Tom Freedman, a strategist in the 1996 Clinton campaign, and now a political consultant and a sponsor of the research, is watching how a Democratic supporter lying inside a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is reacting to campaign commercials. The democratic voter John Graham is watching the flashing images of Bush campaign commercials, for example, the collapsing buildings in flames as it happened on September 11. Neuroscientists in the laboratory are recording the reaction of the subject in response to this especial type of stimuli, for example, the amount blood flowing through certain crucial areas of his brain or the electric pulses passing through the electrodes attached to his head. The research has shown that supporters take even horrifying pictures used in the campaign commercial of their own candidate in a positive light. In other words, they react with emotion when it comes to the propaganda materials in support of their party candidate. They do not judge their party or its candidate rationally. On the other hand, they become judgemental and rational as soon as they are faced with the campaign ads of their opponent party.


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