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Dictatorship of Thought & the Oppression of Reason

By Pipit Tai

.....adaptation of scientific method on the fragile ecosystem....

The west has always been strong on the scientific method and system. When applied to the physical sciences, there is no equal. However its application to the humanities has been somewhat of a mixed blessing.

When thought and reason are applied too obsessively to “messy” nature as opposed to pure simple physical phenomenon, the results and consequences can be disastrous. The reason is obvious to me. I don’t know if it is obvious to others…

“Messy” nature occurs in many, many dimensions. It is the result of a dynamic equilibrium of many, many forces and factors that have taken billions of years to evolve. Man however thinks in only single dimensions – at most a few for the most brilliant of us. To cure a sick person, we administer antibiotics. This is single dimensional thinking. Unfortunately the realities of nature are somewhat more complex – antibiotics kill both good germs as well as bad. In addition the bad germs adapt over time and get used to the antibiotics and so on, and so on….

Our solutions are so single dimensional. The most powerful person in the world today cannot but divide the world into good and evil – if you are not with us, you are against us.…. that sort of thing. Yet any 5 year old moron intuitively knows that the world and people are much more complex. There are many more examples.

In Australia, they are already familiar with the blunders of single dimensional thinking on their environment. To solve one pest problem, they import another, etc. Yet westerners will not acknowledge that their scientific method may not work as well when it comes to problems dealing with humanity and “messy” nature. Their dominance allows them this luxury. As a result the world gets into bigger and bigger problems.

As an example of ego at work, take the case of research into Alzheimer’s. In the past they found plaque in the brains of people with the disease, so they linked plaque in the brain with Alzheimer’s disease. Recently they found that the brains of old people who have not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s also show evidence of plaque in their brains. Instead of admitting that a mistake MAY have been made, their ego pushes them into saying that somehow old people with plaque in their brains can avoid the symptoms of Alzheimer’s by keeping themselves mentally alert, doing jigsaw puzzles, etc. They are absolutely silent on the possibility that plaque in the brain may have nothing to do with Alzheimer’s. In this, they betray their own scientific method.

In the past, they treated acupuncture as superstitious hocus pocus. It is only recently that they acknowledge that acupuncture works to a certain degree. Still this acknowledgement is not complete as they have not found a formal place for acupuncture in western medicine yet. Apparently it does not comply with certain aspects of the scientific method. Yet our own hospitals are but poor copies and clones of western hospitals. We ourselves are not able to incorporate working eastern practices into our own medical institutions.

Western dominance is so pervasive they can get away with murder and they do! And not just murder, but occasionally wholesale genocide! I say it is time the rest of the world breaks away from this dominance and develop other more independent methods of development. I do not recommend throwing away the scientific method. I do not even recommend throwing away system and discipline, but we could do with a little less obsession with thought and reason and more humanity on the humanities. We should tell them to go fly kites when it comes to our society and our “messy” nature and not suck up to them wholesale.

Kelah fish at Sg Relau, Merapoh

Note :
The breeding of Kelah fish at our national park is an example of such “messy” adaptation of scientific method on the fragile ecosystem. Our Malaysian government is feeding the wildlife with commercial fish food. With antibiotics, vitamins and minerals added in the food, I wondered how this wildlife going to adapt to the natural environment. We human are sowing the consequences of natural disaster – not today but many years to come. Can the Kelah fish have enough immune system to fend for themselves? What happen to the ecosystem that the fish food caused – sediment from the fish dropping that pollute the pristine stream? Other wildlife that may be affected by either the effect of the fish food or by over population of other species when the Kelahs do not need to hunt anymore. Should taxpayers pay for the breeding of Kelahs just to satisfy the need of anglers? Or are we the followers of scientific cultures?


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All photographs by Forest Ang unless mentioned.
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