Horowitz's center

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Fri Mar 5 09:38:51 PST 1999

>>> Carl Remick <cremick at rlmnet.com> 03/05/99 09:20AM >>>
> Very interesting indeed. But why are the avenues that should not be
> investigated? Too frightening e.g. the movies The Fly and
> Altered States?
> Took Dr. No a bit too literally? Can be used for repressive
> purposes e.g.
> nuclear fission, tesla technology, human genome project? I don't know,
> J.B.S. Haldane used to drink hydochloride acid. This led to
> his pioneering
> work on human blood. What happens when you go beyond good and
> evil? Some
> people are willing to sacrifice themselves on t he alter of truth and
> knowledge.

Too often, it seems, this process winds up sacrificing *others.* On the one hand, you have Marie Curie walking around with radium in her pocket, thoroughly irradiating herself. On the other hand, you have Hiroshima.


CB writes:

A movie review of _Fantasia_, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice_"

In this vein of politics and literature, science and the arts, culture, I wonder whether Albert Einstein, the iconical genius of modern academe, hasn't turned out to be a sort of sorcerer's apprentice. At this point, the most significant impact on human society of his work has been the development of nuclear weapons. Science for science sake in that case threatens our species survival. Einstein was a social democrat, yet just a little too much detachment of physics from practical-critical activity has brought a force into the world that physicists have lost control of and can't get back into their test labs. Even in this seeming most abstract field, the Marxist watchword of unity of theory and practice unobserved places us in danger. Yes, Einstein is turning out to be Mickey Mouse , only it is not a dream nightmare.

Einstein is still a lovable hero for intellectuals, but the widespread brainwashing from academe, the desire of all of us good students to be recognized as a genius and idolizing Einstein, etc, etc. has blinded me from fully articulating that critique. But in the end ( and I hope this isn't the end for the human species) Einstein's work now is a big negative for humanity. Academic freedom, scientific freedom under capitalism is getting more and more dangerous. There is no pure theory.

I keep coming to Marx's 2nd Thesis on Feuerbach, the test of theory is practice, all else is scholastic ; and the 11th (how could we forget) change just not interpret the world, in arguing and debating on e-mail. But that idea encompasses not just history and social science, but NATURAL SCIENCE. Now we are in a scary period in biology, genetics etc., with its discoveries abstracted from political or humanist responsibility and snatched up by profiteers, of course.

("But Charles, it's the greedy capitalists ,not Einstein !", a progressive physicist shouts )

CB: I know the above is a hardnosed standard, but, these scientists have responsibility to take account that the capitalists are always going to ruthlessly pursue profits. Now there is Monsanto with genetically altered food. Unfortunately, scientists have to make some kind of more rigorous political calculations of the danger of these discoveries in the hands of the very profiteers you mention. That is an unavoidable fact at this point. Abstract theory, science for science sake is becoming more and more hazardous in the late, late capitalist context, because the capitalists are the main one's who are going to take up, even steal these discoveries. They are rigging the intellectual property laws, more and more, to take the discoveries away from the control of the biologists , and physicists, as I am sure you know.

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