Commentary: Science & Technology:
Specific Values of Science
By Tetsuo Kaneko
In various situations, it must be easy for us to realize that everyone is trained through their own experiences and can derive many advantages from those experiences. Very few special situations can, however, cause disadvantages resulting from the experiences. Then, it is always difficult to think and imagine things beyond the limits of our own knowledge that results from our experiences. Science has experienced such situations repeatedly, and has overcome many difficulties with efforts to create logically consistent and objective images. Such images can help us improve our imagination. Moreover, a perception that logically consistent and objective images should be created, can help us overcome various anxieties about events of unknown causes.
Many activities categorized as the arts always remind us that the activities change simple time and space to make us satisfied. Although these activities are the creation of subjective images, it can be acceptable for many people. Science does not contribute to only technology, but it can also have features similar to the arts. These activities can help us comfort ourselves and overcome negative feelings and can develop positive feelings. Activities categorized as science are the creation of objective images. This point differs from the activities of the arts. Scientific methods and creation are characterized as the finding of consistent logical connections between different observations. Science helps to remind us even about the reason why activities of the arts tend to transcend experience of geographical characteristics and the boundaries between histories. Science sometimes helps us realize that new images with logical consistency can result from the finding of a new perspective. Logically consistent images can have a tendency to be widely acceptable. Our society has the tendency to be developed and complicated, so that the contributions to improving and developing people's imagination and consciousness are important.
II. Specific Scientific Contributions
A. Advantages resulting from suitable changes of perspectives
An attempt to create a consistent new image often reminds us that our imagination is strongly restricted by the knowledge that we have accumulated through personal experience. Science does not only supply ideas to technology, but also helps us objectively realize that it is valuable to be able to change perspectives. It is important for us to make our mind free from a limited perception. Any activities of science sometimes remind us about the value caused by what one perspective is changed to another one which can make us aware of satisfying new images concerning the same situation.
(1) New images resulting from new perspectives
A suitable new perspective can raise the potentiality to generate new images and ideas. A suitable new perspective helps us to make images concrete. The perspective gives us an opportunity to derive deep understanding from a phenomenon. Thus, it is important to be aware of a new perspective.
The fastest spacecraft available for everyone is the earth. The earth moves with the mean speed 29.78 Km/sec around the sun. All the measurements of the light speed showed that a speed of light coming from the front against the movement of the earth is not equal to the addition of 29.78 Km/sec to 299792.458 Km/sec. Moreover, they showed that a speed of light coming from the back against its movement is not equal to the subtraction of 29.78 Km/sec from 299792.458 Km/sec. Both the former and latter speeds are equal to 299792.458 Km/sec. This fact did not, however, generate a situation where everyone had consciousness connecting to what the light speed is invariant. Nevertheless, the perception that the light speed is invariant enables our exciting new images consistently to come beyond our imagination which is restricted in limited pictures by our experiences. The perception reminded us about the delay of time and the contraction of space due to the movement, and reminded us that these effects result in the invariant speed of light.
We can readily remember two specific collision phenomena: one is found when a wave packet that travels on the surface of a lake is involved in a collision with a drifting log and the other is found when a stone that is thrown is involved in a collision with a drifting log. The perception that a collision of an object with a target has both the collision feature of a wave packet and that of a stone gave us valuable new images and ideas, even if the movements of the microscopic object that are realized through an image as a particle riding a wave packet always involves uncertain motion. That perception helps us realize the microscopic fundamental structures of substances and understand the reason why a substance has a specific size. It helps us even to understand the universe.
If a suitable new perspective is found, it is possible to make our mind free from our imagination that is strongly restricted by the knowledge being accumulated through personal experience. Science reminds us that it is important to find a suitable new perspective in order to overcome difficulties.
(2) Advantages due to changes of perspectives
Changes of perspectives on the most familiar phenomenon can remind us about a way of being made aware of unknown images. If an object's fall that is imagined as the motion of the object toward a lower position is reconsidered as a phenomenon being equivalent to what the object and the earth pull each other through an attractive force, an image according to the attractive force cannot help only to understand the fall, but also to understand the formation of the solar system. If the fall of the object is reconsidered as a specific motion that minimizes the effect of gravity contributing to every local part of the object, this perspective on the effect of gravity cannot help only to understand the solar system, but also to understand a star's evolution toward forming a black hole and the evolution of the universe. That perspective, moreover, persuades us to realize that gravity makes clocks go slowly. Furthermore, that perspective on gravity and the characteristics of a microscopic particle having the nature of wave can help us imagine the earliest universe.
These images are made objective by logically consistent consideration. Such images have a tendency to come to the nearest position to the truth. Thus, science reminds us that a new perspective can result in new images and deep understanding, if the new perspective is consistent with the previous perspective. It is possible that the changes of perspectives develop our imagination. This is a valuable lesson which science gives us and our society, if we want to improve and develop ideas and images.
B. The Lessons of Diversity
Science reminds us that spontaneous phenomena can be associated with an increase in entropy. This suggests that a life system can include macromolecules of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) with various sizes. In the life system, both simple lives having small macromolecules of DNA and complicated lives having large macromolecules of DNA should be found. This is the diversity of life. The diversity has supported life in various environments on the earth for over 3.5 billion years. It can be a key to challenging difficulties. The lessons of diversity from the life history must be a suggestion of ways to live on the earth.
Currently, people desire technology in order to gain economic efficiency, convenience, and comfort. The use of similar technology lets our cultures have a tendency to become homogeneous. This situation asks us whether a tendency to develop diversity can be associated with an increase in entropy. The activation of culture creation at the intersection of a culture with another one should be remembered. The intersection of two cultures can give an opportunity to understand the meaning of a contrast between the two cultures. That can activate the creation of new cultures. Cultures being inhomogeneous help us create new interests. The diversity of cultures is important for evolving our cultures, and for resulting in many pleasures in our society.
Each person similar to a specific person specified by "I" has a right to coexist peacefully on the earth. Similarly, the disturbance of the right to coexist peacefully is not acceptable to each person similar to a specific person specified by "I". The right to coexist peacefully should be supported by what the diversity of cultures is acceptable. Then, the lessons of diversity from the life history should be considered as scientific suggestion.
C. A Scientific Contribution Similar to the Arts
Activities categorized as the arts always change simple time and space to make us satisfied. The arts can supply fantasies that can transcend experience of geographical characteristics and the boundaries between histories, and can contribute to the development of cultures. The arts have the potentialities for providing acceptability shared over diversity, although it is difficult to think and imagin beyond the limits of our own knowledge. Science can essentially be particular activities that make images and ideas objective, and is different from the art. Despite this fact, science can supply exciting images similar to fantasies due to the arts. Those images, however, are real.
(1) A scientific contribution similar to the arts
We can remember that pictures of fractals and the configurations of biological macromolecules are exciting and interesting. Fractals have self-similar structures that can not differentiate everywhere despite continuous configurations. Although those structures involve symmetric images, they have extremely complicated shapes. The configurations of biological macromolecules also are extremely complicated. However, the same configuration is found, if only particular biological macromolecules performing a specific function are gathered.
Furthermore, exciting pictures obtained from the Hubble space scope can remind us that clear objective images of the universe are comparable to artistic pictures. These pictures demonstrate that science has features similar to the arts. From them, we have been able to know exciting and active images of the universe, such as the birth of stars, the dazzle of super novas, the collisions between galaxies, and the activities of quasars.
These pictures seeming like fantasies are realities. The knowing of such images can excite our narrow imagination which is restricted, and can give us confidence in what we should have various consistent ideas. Images coming from science can make us have the confidence in coming beyond our imagination which is restricted with pictures limited by our experiences.
(2) Scientific interpretation of advantages resulting from the arts
Artistic activities can widely help us keep satisfaction in our society. Scientific activities are able to help us keep consistency and satisfaction. Science can even suggest the reason why activities of the arts tend to transcend experience of geographical characteristics and the boundaries between histories. According to science, such characteristics of the arts may be caused by neuron network systems that involve the hypothalamus and the amygdala being located at deeply inner sides of the brain. Almost all the activities of the arts stimulate the sensory systems connected to vision and hearing. Impulses generated in the sensory systems propagate along nerve paths and activate neuron network systems which involve the hypothalamus and the amygdala. Basically, stimuli supplied by the sensory organs connected to vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell come to the amygdala which has specific substances such as dopamine, noradrenaline, drenaline, and serotonin that serve as neurotransmitters and influence emotional states. Stimuli caused by the arts inevitably come to the amygdala. As a result, the amygdala-hypothalamus system dependent on connections between the amygdala and the hypothalamus generates emotional responses. That function of the amygdala-hypothalamus system is available for everyone. The aim of artistic activities is not to make people feel unpleasant, and actively to make people feel pleasant. Therefore, the function of the amygdala-hypothalamus system should let the arts tend to transcend experience of geographical characteristics and the boundaries between histories. In fact, we well know that music, regarded by each ethnic group as their own music, can provide melodies making all of us feel pleasure, relaxation, or confidence. Vibrations made by these melodies resonate through the instruments and penetrate our bodies. Thus, the arts can contribute to improving and developing people's imagination and consciousness.
D. Consciousness for the limits of our own knowledge
(1) Contributions of Objective images
The truth can sometimes be hidden by our imagination which is strongly restricted by the knowledge accumulated through personal experience. It is possible that our incomplete consciousness is supplemented by a specific experience giving objective images. A picture taken by the crew of the Apollo 8 Mission is an objective image of the earth looking like only one blue planet oasis in the universe. That picture suggests that it is difficult to live far away from the earth, and the picture should persuade us to consider a way to coexist. The earth is valuable and is only one spaceship on which every life form lives together in the universe. An objective image of the earth reminds us that our views have to be renewed or improved. This objective image helps us rediscover ourselves as objective existence.
Moreover, an ozone hole found from the assessments of the protective stratospheric ozone layer is an objective image. That objective image reminds us that human activities can globally influence the environment. As a result, we realize that the environment is no longer infinite. Although the dependence of people on technology must be strengthened, it is necessary to make us free from the use of technology based on narrow thinking dependent only on specific situations.
Even if people know that the earth moves around the sun according to Newton's law of gravity, it must not be easy to realize the earth that is the most valuable object to coexist in the universe. However, objective images can remind us about our imagination which is restricted by limited images found in specific situations. Through objective images resulting from scientific observations, it is possible that we realize our incomplete consciousness.
(2) The necessity to overcome narrow thinking
The simple collecting of information does not always make us conscious about deep images. Scientific methods remind us about the potentialities generated by efforts to think logically consistently and quantitatively. When thinking proceeds, it is considered that the truth can sometimes be hidden by our imagination that is restricted by the knowledge accumulated through personal experience.
Even when a phenomenon is anomalous and is not consistent with a limited image coming from our general knowledge, our consideration for creating a new idea must proceed with the assumption that keys to creating that new idea are exposed in that general knowledge. However, the necessity of becoming free from images controlled by the general knowledge should not be neglected. This situation should cause difficulties for us to develop thinking. Efforts logically and consistently to develop the thinking can, however, help us overcome the difficulties and create an idea to explain consistently. Then, this logically consistent treatment requires us a lot of restrictions on the thinking. However, the treatment realistically raises the probability of going beyond experience. Science reminds us that such restrictions are useful for guiding our thinking to new ideas that contribute to forming real images beyond experience. The thinking under the restrictions can not easily proceed. Science, however, reminds us that the efforts are one of the best ways to become free from limited images depending on the general knowledge. Even if we can not avoid spending a lot of time, these efforts to become free from the limited images can be valuable. New ideas obtained from the efforts can contribute to forming new images of substances, and as a result, they can contribute to the understanding of the universe as well as current technology. Science encourages us to think and imagine things beyond the limits of our own knowledge.
Freedom of our imagination not to restrict the limited images of our experience means that we obtain an opportunity to derive new images from the same world. This is important in helping people to understand each other, and for world peace. Science reminds us that it is important to give the freedom to our imagination.
Science reminds us about a value of logically consistent consideration. Logically consistent consideration helps us generate objective and quantitative images beyond the limits of our own knowledge. Thus, science helps us feel ourselves as objective existence. In addition, images being made objective by such scientific methods have a tendency to be located at the nearest position to the truth.
Efforts to develop logically consistent consideration sometimes require a suitable change of a perspective. Such change of a perspective can let us develop our imagination. This is valuable if we want to develop and improve ideas and images. Thus, science can contribute to improving and developing people's imagination.
Science can have the same features as the arts. According to this fact,
images coming from science also have the tendency to transcend experience of
geographical characteristics and the boundaries between histories. The arts
and science have the potentialities for providing acceptability shared over
diversity. Science can encourage us to go beyond experience with the same
way as the arts. Such a characteristic possessed by science and the arts
can help us develop common understanding. Thus, science can contribute to
improving and developing people's consciousness.
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