[WSMDiscuss] Talk on 'Science, Culture and Civilisations' by Dr Ravi Sinha, 13 th Feb 6 PM (IST)

Subhash Gatade subhash.gatade at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 16:07:35 CET 2021


New Socialist Initiative is organising a talk on 'Science, Culture and
Civilisations' by noted Marxist Intellectual and Activist Dr Ravi Sinha on
Saturday, 13 th February, at 6 PM (IST)

*Topic: 'Science, Culture and Civilisations'*

*Speaker: Dr. Ravi Sinha*
*                Marxist Intellectual and Activist*
*Date and Time: Saturday, Feb 13, 2021 06:00 PM India*

Do join the talk if you are free and interested.
The Zoom and Facebook live details are:

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 826 1795 4300
Passcode: 497333

Facebook Live at: https://www.facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi


*Science, Culture and Civilisations*

*• Ravi Sinha*

Science is generally considered as the arena where the world is explained
and manipulated on the basis of causal relationships arising out of the
underlying laws of nature. Culture, on the other hand, is taken to be the
realm of ways of living and of the norms, practices, creations and meanings
of life. As science impinges, increasingly more so, on modes of life, the
two get entangled in a mutual relationship that is multi-faceted and
ever-changing. There is a whole range of understandings about this
relationship – at one extreme one could expect cultures to become entirely
scientific in a faraway future, whereas at the other end one could expect
science to be a mere instrument for physical-material ends. The reality
falls somewhere in-between and its complexity is mind-boggling. Even
someone like Einstein thinks that without science religion is blind and
without religion science is lame.

In this lecture we will cast a glance at the history of the Scientific
Revolution and the advent of Modernity in Western Europe and try to gauge
the subsequent impact of science on the social mind. At the centre of our
deliberations will be the question pioneered by Joseph Needham – why did
the Scientific Revolution occur in Europe and not in civilisations like
China, India or the Middle East which were far more advanced than Europe
until the late medieval era?

Science is often taken to be complicit in the crimes of capitalism,
colonialism and imperialism. There are theories galore about science being
an instrument of the ruling classes and indelibly imprinted with the
power-relations making up the social structures. And yet, there is no
escape from science for anyone. There is no alternative to modern science
which appears to be universal despite its messy birth in medieval Europe
soaked with religion and enmeshed in religious wars. How does science
interact with non-European and non-western cultures where modernity arrived
often riding on colonialism? Are there any useful lessons for the
non-western civilisations that can be learned from the history of the
advent of science and modernity in Europe?

The questions are of immense importance in the case of India. Will science
be acceptable to our civilisation only as an instrument or will it play a
role in rewiring the social mind? If one cannot launch a *rathyatra *for
science a la *Ram Mandir,* then what possible modes are available for
science’s intervention in the civilizational mind? Or is it the case that
science is to be snatched from the hands of the ruling classes and turned
it into an instrument of class struggle in the hands of the working
classes? In the end, for us leftists too, will science be only an
instrument or will it play a much deeper role in reconfiguring our culture
and civilization?

This lecture is aimed at initiating a series of discussions on such issues.
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