Chapter XXXII

SCIENCE AND ART AS INSTRUMENTS OF PEACE


Science has to do with truth; art with beauty. Truth and beauty are inseparable. Science means knowledge of facts; art arranges facts in order and system. Order is another name for beauty.

The time was when people knew a lot of things that were not so. There still remains with us much of the qualities of the Dark Ages when superstition took the place of knowledge, and when wishful thinking, or what was called hope, prevailed in the stead of reason based on proved facts. Man owes to science his escape from darkness and mysticism. He is being saved by the discovery and proving of facts. Of all occupations in the field of learning, man's greatest obligation is to scientists. Their findings have lifted him out of darkness into light. They have banished much of his fears, uncertainties, and misconceptions of the phenomena of nature and it is they who have made possible harnessing the forces of nature to win relief from toil and to make life richer and longer. Science has heretofore dealt most profoundly with matter. The time has come when it must apply its methods to the study of the conduct of men and the nature of society.

The unit in society called man is an aggregation of materials responsive to all the laws of chemistry and physics which govern other matter. His biology is studied and understood. Of his physiology, psychological behavior is now reduced to scientific terms. Science needs now to apply itself to man's relations to man. The science of humanity must be studied in its own laboratory--the home, the shop, the places of trade, and the human contacts across international lines. Science needs to deal with the whole of human life. There is knowledge which is more important now to man than movements of stars, behavior of atoms, and propagation of fishes. The new task of science is to know the causes and nature of poverty, delinquency, slums, violence, ignorance, divorce, robbery, subjugation of others, and war. Science should define civilization and show the way to its achievement, just as it defines health and points the way to its attainment. Scientific method can be applied to the study of capitalism, socialism, fascism, single tax, and cooperation, and the social value of these methods of human organization can be determined. Science of human relationships needs to be cultivated. This means study of the ability of all people of all races to live together harmoniously in the same world.

Scientists now display a tender regard for profit capitalism and for political government. Science looks to these two to finance and support science. It looks up to them as to a foster parent for succor and sustenance. Science and scientists should be supported and financed by the people, by society that is the beneficiary of science. If the people are not adequately equipped with financial resources in their social organizations, such as consumer groups, then whatever organization they do have should support scientific research. Government, universities, profit corporations, and foundations for encouraging research can provide support. The best and most reasonable source of support are cooperatively organized consumers. Already these organizations are maintaining scientific laboratories where research in many fields is conducted. At present much of the support of science is at the hands of political government, although great capitalistic corporations in the United States are more and more expanding their own research laboratories, and are also financing research in private laboratories and in laboratories of colleges and universities. Governments can properly be interested in social sciences for social sciences mean the good of the people. The nature of democracy should be subjected to scientific scrutiny.

Scientific research should be made cooperative. The day of the lone scientist working jealously in his laboratory is past. The greatest discovery of modern time, if not of all time, splitting of the atom, was accomplished by a number of scientists working cooperatively. There is no single discoverer of atomic energy or the bomb. The discovery was made by a cooperating group of scientists from two continents, each helping the other. The modern bomb, with its potency for blasting apart the world of matter and of peoples, is the product of unification of effort--a disintegrating force created by integration--the division of the atom effected by union of ideas.

The hydrogen bomb as a military weapon is different from anything else yet discovered. It is militarily the most destructive of artificial forces. Peacefully, it is the most powerful for constructive purposes. There is no military defense against it. Training and drilling young men in military tactics has no meaning in atom warfare. To attempt military defense against bombs is interminable. In the event of war between great powers, if such bombs are employed by both sides much of civilization may be destroyed. A world that has not intelligence to avoid war has not intelligence to survive. Solution of the bomb problem is elimination of war.

The new bomb may be the most terrible power for destruction that man has yet devised. It converts war into carnage and chaos. It removes war from the battlefield to homes where nonbelligerents reside. It takes war out of the hands of the soldier and gives it over to politicians, scientists, and aviators. If politicians could be left out, and war left with scientists and aviators, it might be treated more reasonably. Any way to work out of the war system must be welcomed. The time has come to resist war as the wholly unacceptable solution of any problem. One thing that war proves is the viciousness of the instigators and the unwisdom of the participants in not having avoided war.

Atomic energy is the great problem associated with reconstruction after World War II. There is much guessing and wonderment. Frustration grips socially minded people who are eager to see this new force set at work saving labor, making production easier, and releasing people from drudgery to the enjoyments of leisure and access to culture. But in a world dominated by profit capitalism and militarism, jealousies, fears, and animosities influence the use of this power. The military wants to control it. Great business combines would own it if they could and would use it not to produce plenty but to lower their costs of production in the interest of profit. Atomic power, product of ages of scientific research, to which people of many lands have made their contribution, is too useful and too important to humanity to be thrown into the arena of the scramble for profits. Great social values, which should serve all humanity, should be administered cooperatively for all mankind. People who are thinking wisely about the administration of this force are thinking cooperatively. Decision as to the control and use of this force now constitutes a crisis in itself. Such crises are solved only by the cooperative method. The old use of power-producing instruments in the interest of profit business is hazardous. These interests in the past have been notoriously guilty in trading with the enemy. They could be expected to sell out their country in the presence of impending war as the armament trust did in World War I and as the chemical and petroleum trusts did in World War II. Profits stand above patriotism.

To permit control of atomic power by the Army or Navy of the United States, would mean lending science to the promotion of militarism and war. Control of this power must rest with a lay commission. Inasmuch as the people are not yet adequately organized to function through the International Cooperative Alliance, sovereign power with which this commission should be connected must be that international federation of nations that grows out of the United Nations Organization. Under such control, atomic energy may carefully be released for commercial development, provided that it can not be made a pawn in the game of international trusts and intrigue.

Along with the atom and hydrogen bombs is biological war, spreading disease by means of bacteria and other disease germs. Incurable contagious diseases that can thus be caused are dreadful beyond description. They can be made to spread with frightful rapidity. Such diseases as bubonic plague, that once ravished the world, can again be unleashed. Botulism, a bacterial infection, is now ready to be liberated to destroy populations of great cities. The military powers have these organisms in cultivation and in large quantities ready for use. Peace only can hold them back. Only the power that resides in the hearts of men can restrain these destructive forces.

Then there is the new chemical warfare. The old was poison gases. The new uses poisons of incalculable potency. The U. S. Chemical Warfare Service after spending fifty million dollars on research has developed a poison so powerful that an ounce will kill 180,000,000 people. (New York Times, 19 Sep. 1946). Poisons which may be dropped from airplanes beyond vision can kill the vegetation of a nation and destroy its population by starvation and disease. Water supply of cities can be made deadly to every citizen. Each of the great powers is perfecting these instruments of destruction.

Science can provide plenty, leisure, happiness, and peace to the people of the world; and it can inflict want, travail, and strife. Good and ill are offered man for his choice. The problem is to rescue the world from man's social incompetence before it is destroyed by his scientific ingenuity. His social organization, the sort of human relationship he adopts, will make the decision. This is the reason why the cooperative method is of transcendent importance.

When study of human relations has shown to man the unwisdom of war and of voluntary destruction, when the cooperative method has replaced contention, the power of science will be used for man's good. Science has a higher task than the suicide of civilization. It can increase man's leisure. Education can then be addressed to the preparation of human beings for leisure as well as for work. As more work is done by the machine, more leisure accrues to the man. To use this wisely for cultural purposes, for art, for invention, for improving health, for study and development, should be the task of the future. Enough of everything for all is no longer an utopian dream, it is within man's grasp; and with that abundance there should be ample time and opportunity for its enjoyment made accessible to all.

Man is no longer wholly at the mercy of forces of nature before which he once trembled in fear. With science he is mastering those forces. This is no accident. Men have done it by their intelligent purpose. Together they have worked miracles. Hope now is more than wishful thinking. It has been given a scientific foundation.

Atomic energy can be used, as the militarists plan, to kill people and destroy cities, as a way to stop Russian Communism; or atomic energy can be employed to stop communism by using its power to produce an abundance of food, garments, and homes, and other things the people need. Lack of these promotes communism. The United States, which has developed atomic energy to its highest power, could unite its resources with this new source of energy and supply its people with abundance, and then make atomic energy and its products available to all people. The progress of communism might thus be stopped and the atomic bomb be made obsolete. To flood the world with abundance is the way to stop communism. This program which is obstructed by the economy of scarcity is wholly consistent with the cooperative way.

The coming technology can make possible abundance for all. The machine can do the work of man. The old notion of "work for all" promoted by organized labor is outdated. Opposition to labor-saving mechanisms is obsolete. "Leisure for all" can be the slogan of the coming civilization. "Abundance for all" can be its accomplishment. Failure to use the machine to capacity socially has resulted in unemployment and want; and these have caused war. This is the result of the unsocial ownership of the machine and of the competition of the machine with labor in the quest of profits. The machine in full production can promote plenty and peace. The consumer cooperative way of business shows how to use all machines to capacity in the satisfying of human needs. This full use of the machine can come only when it is owned, controlled, and operated by and for the consumers. This is a fundamental of economics not yet grasped by labor, by the capitalists, or by the economists. It is none the less a fundamental.

Technology is changing agricultural production. Most agriculture is still primitive. Most of the people of the world are still occupied in the production of food. Most are ill-fed. Once nine-tenths of the people had to live on the land in order to feed the ten-tenths. Today one-fifth of the population using modern devices can produce from the soil enough for all. Chemical agriculture and the new scientific methods are destined to place food production in the field of other industries. The number of agricultural workers should continue to decline.

We have seen that while the number of workers in productive industries grows less, and as leisure and abundance increase, the number of people occupied in the fields of human service increases. Agriculture and industry are employing fewer workers, and the services are employing more. Services are such as medicine, nursing, music, teaching, entertainment, fire prevention, policing, electric installation, transportation, restaurant service, management, and the arts. (See page 62)

Art as well as science is invoked to bring about these ends. Science can lighten labor, increase abundance and win leisure for man; but the arts are the sweetening of leisure. Whatever makes possible winning of livelihood with less effort, brings so much closer the enjoyment of the arts. The worker who has so much respect for his job that he converts it into an art, introduces the consumer ideology into the field of production. This is a function of the cooperative method. Since the days of the individual producer and guild craftsman, during the subsequent capitalist regime, the worker is losing respect for his job.

As these changes are taking place, organization of the people cooperatively to supply their needs and to make increasing use of sciences and arts should progress with equal steps. For if the cooperative idea is sound, the findings of social science should be in its favor, and the cooperative method should be accepted on a scientific basis. As science and art are more and more turned to man's uses through cooperative methods, possibilities of war should decline and the uses of peace should become more securely established.


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The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.