Appendix D Cultivation of Human Values for Progress in Science, Eradication of Miseries, and the Attainment of Happiness

Mehdi Bahadori

Cultivation of human values is of paramount importance for developed countries in order to eradicate human miseries, heal environmental wounds, and secure true happiness for people. It is also of great significance for developing countries to progress in science and technology and solve their economic and social problems.

Human values, the embodiment or possession of which is believed to bring progress in science and technology in a society and happiness to people, are listed in the following paragraphs. The author would like to begin with the supposition that we are born to be happy, and securing true happiness should be the goal of all of our activities. Progress in science and technology should be considered simply a means to reach this goal and not the goal itself.

On top of the list of human values is unconditional love and service, rendered to people irrespective of their race, religion, or nationality. These qualities of love and service may be considered as the two wings of a bird, attempting to ascend spiritually, and to secure true peace of mind and happiness.

All events in our lives can be considered opportunities to cultivate human values. Progress in science and technology can be viewed as one of the most effective means of rendering unconditional service.

The progress in science and technology in the past 100 years has brought a better health care, higher life span, mass and higher education, a higher standard of living, and more comfort and conveniences in life. This progress has not been without costs; costs of more environmental pollution, of faster depletion of natural resources, and of a wider gap be



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 35
Appendix D Cultivation of Human Values for Progress in Science, Eradication of Miseries, and the Attainment of Happiness Mehdi Bahadori Cultivation of human values is of paramount importance for devel- oped countries in order to eradicate human miseries, heal environmental wounds, and secure true happiness for people. It is also of great signifi- cance for developing countries to progress in science and technology and solve their economic and social problems. Human values, the embodiment or possession of which is believed to bring progress in science and technology in a society and happiness to people, are listed in the following paragraphs. The author would like to begin with the supposition that we are born to be happy, and securing true happiness should be the goal of all of our activities. Progress in sci- ence and technology should be considered simply a means to reach this goal and not the goal itself. On top of the list of human values is unconditional love and service, rendered to people irrespective of their race, religion, or nationality. These qualities of love and service may be considered as the two wings of a bird, attempting to ascend spiritually, and to secure true peace of mind and happiness. All events in our lives can be considered opportunities to cultivate human values. Progress in science and technology can be viewed as one of the most effective means of rendering unconditional service. The progress in science and technology in the past 100 years has brought a better health care, higher life span, mass and higher education, a higher standard of living, and more comfort and conveniences in life. This progress has not been without costs; costs of more environmental pollution, of faster depletion of natural resources, and of a wider gap be- 35

OCR for page 35
36 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS tween people and nations enjoying conveniences and those that do not. The misuse of scientific knowledge has inflicted pain on both the environ- ment and people. To heal these pains, concerned scientists throughout the world have started looking at the ethics in the use of scientific knowl- edge and technology, trying to balance scientific progress without caus- ing environmental and social damages. WHY SCIENCE AND ETHICS? We are born with inquisitive minds and enjoy learning about our- selves and our surroundings. We are also born with certain needs and a desire to be physically comfortable. But more than the physical comfort, we thrive to have peace of mind and happiness. But, can science and technology alone bring us happiness? It is this writer’s belief that it is only through the ethical use of scientific knowledge that we can secure happi- ness. Let me elaborate more on this. We need advances in science and technology in order to eradicate hunger, malnutrition, diseases, ignorance, homelessness, and other hu- man miseries throughout the world. At the same time, we need to pos- sess human values in order to perform this task, or render this service, with love, and without any expectations. We should do it only as a duty and as a means of expressing our gratitude to the Universe for all that we have. It is through the combination of science and ethics that we can secure happiness. With this attitude, the scientifically advanced nations would take pride in their healing abilities, and not in their killing powers. THE ROLE OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS IN SOLVING PRESENT NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PROBLEMS While enjoying a higher standard of living and a high degree of mate- rial and physical comfort and conveniences, the industrialized and wealthy countries are suffering from a great number of social problems to the extent that the majority of their people are not truly happy. Develop- ing or poorer countries have their own social and economic problems. These nations are clamoring to advance in science and technology in or- der to solve their economic problems. While it is necessary to do so, we have to realize that science alone cannot solve the present problems and cannot eradicate human miseries; science together with ethics can. In- stead of investing time and efforts to just advance in science and technol- ogy, we now need to shift our attention and resource allocations more toward cultivating human values and placing more emphasize on ethics. This is of paramount importance, both in the developed and developing countries. While science and technology can bring us conveniences and

OCR for page 35
37 APPENDIX D material and physical comfort, it is the possession and the embodiment of human values that can bring us true and sustainable happiness. After all, we are born to be happy, and this can only be accomplished by possession of human and moral values, and not necessarily through wealth, fame, and power. The developed countries should invest in cultivating human values in order to eradicate their social problems and simply be happy. And, the developing countries should emphasize moral and human values in order to advance in science and technology to attain a higher standard of living and at the same time reach a higher degree of happiness. After all, in many developing countries what is lacking is not just the scientific know-how, but more importantly, the possession of human values. CONDITIONS FOR PROGRESS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY The conditions prevailing in a society and the human values that are the embodiment of the people and that will bring about progress in sci- ence and technology are: 1. Freedom 2. Justice 3. Security 4. Order 5. Righteousness 6. True desire of the society to progress in science and technology 7. The belief and the self-confidence of the society that it can progress and reach its goals 8. Willingness to work hard to accomplish what is desired, but with: a. sincerity, integrity, and honesty at work and in relations with other people b. diligence, devotion, courage, tolerance, dedication, persis- tence, and enthusiasm c. hope, optimism, love for people, well-wishfullness, patience, and willingness to serve unconditionally d. respect for law and order and other people’s rights e. belief in science and the scientific approach to deal with prob- lems f. respect and reverence for nature, and conservation of natural resources.1 1 Bahadori, Mehdi, N. Love to Be Happy—Secrets Toward Sustainable Joy, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Inc. Nevada City, CA, 1994. Bahadori, Mehdi, N. Ama para ser Feliz, El Secreto de la Alegria de Vivir, EDAF/Nueva Era, Madrid, Spain, 1995.

OCR for page 35
38 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS It is interesting to note that the more a person and a nation possess the above human values, the easier life becomes for them, the more natural resources become abundant for them, and the easier nature’s secrets are revealed to them. This is the way the Universe operates. A VISION OF THE WORLD WHERE ETHICS PREVAIL. With the ethical use of scientific knowledge by all people and all na- tions, we can visualize living ultimately in a world with the following features:2,3 1. There is a complete lack of crime and violence. 2. There are no weapons or ammunition of any kind, and no military forces. 3. No borders separate countries from each other. 4. The population has complete freedom to move about from one place to another without any fear or restriction. 5. Science and technology are at their highest state of development throughout the planet, but are still being advanced for the well-being of humankind and Earth. 6. Desirable goods are abundant and plentiful. 7. Greed to have and acquire more than is needed, or more than oth- ers have, is notably lacking. 8. People everywhere have modest living standards and are consci- entious not to waste anything. 9. Nothing is wasted, and everything is reused or recycled. 10. People need to work only 20 to 25 hours a week. 11. People spend their time outside work pursuing art, music, cul- tural events, and spiritual disciplines or studies. 12. People volunteer considerable time and effort in giving love to one another, particularly to children and the elderly. 13. People take time to enjoy nature, trees, flowers, birds, and life in general. 14. The environment is pure and clean. Is it at all possible that some day this vision will come true? Is it pos- sible for humankind to drop all its arrogance and finally realize who we 2 Ibid. 3 Bahadori, Mehdi, N. The University of Life, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Inc, Nevada City, CA, First Edition, 1988, Second Edition, 1993. Bahadori, Mehdi, N. La Universidad de la Vida, Errepar S. A., Buenos Aires, Argentina 1997.

OCR for page 35
39 APPENDIX D truly are, to live in peace and harmony with one another and with nature? Is it possible that our planet, so badly wounded by the abuses of human- kind, can some day be healed and restored to its original purity and beauty? Is it possible that some day humanity will drop its caste systems and all its ideas of separateness and the superiority of one race, religion, natu- ral origin, or place of birth and residence over the others? Is it possible that some day the only victors that prevail in the world will be peace, harmony, love, respect, and reverence toward nature and all living beings on Earth? What will it take to make this vision come true? The answers depend on our attitude in life and on how we use our scientific knowledge. They also depend on the method through which we try to secure happiness. THE ROLE OF HUMAN VALUES TO SECURE HAPPINESS We are born to be happy, and it is our right to pursue happiness. Scientific and technological progress and accomplishments are just means to reach this end, and not the goals. It is interesting to note that nearly all of our efforts are to gain more happiness. But a great number of people tend to seek this important qual- ity of life through wealth, fame, and power. We know that while these may bring more comfort and conveniences, they may not necessarily bring any happiness. If these do not bring happiness, what factors could? The author can answer this question through presenting an equation called The Happiness Equation.4 This equation is H = J – F – E, (1) where H represents happiness, J all the values (such as all the human values mentioned above) which directly contribute to happiness, F the physical misery elements (such as pain, hunger, or malnutrition) which detract from happiness, and E the emotional miseries, the embodiment or possession of which detracts from happiness.5 It is worth mentioning that the progress made in the past 100 years in science and technology has helped to reduce the physical misery elements included in F, thus contributing to people’s happiness. Now there is a 4 Bahadori, Mehdi, N. Love to Be Happy—Secrets Toward Sustainable Joy, Blue Dolphin Publishing, Inc, Nevada City, CA, 1994. Bahadori, Mehdi, N. Ama para ser Feliz, El Secreto de la Alegria de Vivir, EDAF/Nueva Era, Madrid, Spain, 1995. 5 Ibid.

OCR for page 35
40 THE EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES OF SCIENCE AND ETHICS challenge for science to increase J and reduce E. But, can science and technology bring more peace of mind to us? The answer depends on how we use our scientific knowledge to bring about more happiness, not only to ourselves but also to the people throughout the world, or the ethical use of our scientific knowledge. We should use our know-how to: 1. Heal the wounds and pains that we have inflicted on people, ani- mals, and the environment in general 2. Use fewer natural resources for our needs 3. Cause no damages to people and the environment 4. Help others, without any expectations, to pursue and secure hap- piness. NATIONAL INDEX OF HAPPINESS (NIH), A CRITERIA FOR APPRAISING THE PERFORMANCE OF VARIOUS NATIONS If we could somehow quantify our happiness, for example, through using the Happiness Equation (1), we could then find out how we are doing happiness-wise every day, month, or year.6 If all the happiness values determined by the citizens of a country could be calculated, for every day, week, month, or year, a value could be determined as to how the nation as a whole has been doing, happiness- wise. We could then determine a National Index of Happiness, or NIH, every year. This index is the algebraic sum of all the positive values (showing happiness) and negative values (showing misery) of H, deter- mined by every citizen of the country every day, summed up to deter- mine the annual value, then divided by the total number of people report- ing their happiness values. This National Index of Happiness could then be plotted for various years to determine the happier times of a nation. The author strongly believes that governments should make every effort to maximize the National Index of Happiness, or NIH. This ap- proach is quite different from the present economic planning methods, which are aimed at increasing individual income and maximizing the so- called gross domestic product, or GDP. If such action is taken by govern- ments, we will see priorities shift, with more emphasis placed on the eradi- cation of hunger, malnutrition, homelessness, joblessness, and suffering due to AIDS, cancer, and other diseases. The presence of these problems in a society contributes to the negative values of H, as reported by all the people who suffer from them. Governments would surely need to place a great deal more emphasis on education—not simply to teach a vocation, as is done currently, but 6 Ibid.

OCR for page 35
41 APPENDIX D more importantly, to teach human values such as integrity, courage, hope, truth, righteousness, enthusiasm, love, peace, respect for all beings, non- violence, and the desire to serve others unconditionally. Such education is absolutely necessary in order to increase the positive values in the Hap- piness Equation and to reduce all the negative elements of happiness. I believe that the quality of life of a nation in truth depends on its National Index of Happiness, or NIH. I also believe that this is a more realistic way of comparing the quality of life of different nations than by comparing their GDP’s, or how much energy or material resources they use per person per year. As you know, it is now common to consider a nation’s GDP as the measure of its progress, standard of living, and prosperity. This is hugely flawed. For example, if in one country the crime rate is higher than in other countries, it may be that all the expenditures in manufacturing and handling of guns, protection against crime, capturing and convicting of criminals, and paying for their incarcerations add up and increase the GDP in that nation. For another country, whose crime rates are lower, with every other economic activity being equal to those of the first coun- try, this country may show a lower GDP, and may be considered less developed. The same thing is true about food and nutrition. If the people of one society are used to consuming more processed food, this consump- tion may contribute to a higher GDP when compared to another society that consumes more natural foods (assuming that everything else is the same). The presence of many chemicals used during the food processing and the absence of fiber and many other elements found in natural foods contributes to many illnesses. All the costs of food processing and health care also contribute to a higher value of GDP. CONCLUSIONS Science alone is not capable of solving all the problems that human- kind is facing today. It is only through the ethical use of scientific knowledge that we will be able to progress in science and technology, to eradicate human and environmental miseries throughout the world, and to secure true and sus- tainable happiness for people. Education in human values should be emphasized along with con- ventional education. It is also suggested that an international center be established, with branches in each country, to do research on how human values can be best cultivated in people. This center for Research In Culti- vation of Human values (or center for RICH values) can operate under the United Nations or through bilateral or multilateral agreements among nations.