This article would be more an exploration of my ideas and less of a concrete, theme oriented writing. The basic problems cropped up in a number of Science/industry/government meetings which were held over the past couple of years, showing the healthy and unhealthy relationships that can exist between the spheres. It is not aiming to be a checklist, or a set of do-this and do-that and all will be fine with the world… but rather trying to tease out, in whatever way possible, where the real focus must be. What it takes as a background is an idea of the Threefold Society put forward via Anthroposophy, where the thinking, feeling and willing spheres are independent, in the form of spiritual, judicial and economic systems. Ok, here goes… tracing out the threads.
First off, the question is of the relationship of these spheres to themselves, as a coherent whole.
THE SCIENTIFIC AND SPIRITUAL SPHERE - LIBERTÉ
When a scientist publishes his results, the main issue is actually the TRUST that scientists have in one another. The second issue is that of impatience… where one hurries to publish half-baked results while the other takes his time to polish his thoughts and conclusions before putting it out in the public. Now, no one can create a law to encourage trustworthy behavior and impatient publishing, but what one CAN do is educate them with the laws already existing in the spiritual world, which, of necessity, will show the futility of all short-cut approaches in science. Establishing the trust and sufficient caution in coming to the conclusions, these are by products of a moral education, and also of a periodic association of the scientists in some form, e.g. in the rituals. If a sufficient number of scientists come together periodically to align themselves with the cosmos via a festival, and re-affirm their dedication, it would go a long way in bringing about the right relationship between them.
Now, as regards to the idea of a peer-reviewed journal. That whole rating system is utterly counter-productive, particularly to creativity. First of all, having peers reviewing your material means that it is a democracy, (shall address this again) and also that an enormous amount of time and effort is spent nitpicking, rather than giving it out to the public for the public to decide. The only meaningful corrective to publications that appears to be feasible is the principle of “By their fruits ye shall know them…” which means the identification of the fruits should be given priority over the decision of whether or not to show those fruits, which is fruitless. It is due to this faulty idea of giving ratings to journals and ratings to scientists based on that, that has contributed to their being a lot of citations and papers and articles and little originality or creativity in the scientific literature of the past century.
No, instead, the field of publication is evened out, where ANYONE can publish their results on a common platform. Today’s age has the internet, and a quick look at the situation shows that a lot of the creative ideas are gaining ground mainly due to its presence, as it serves as a common platform without a peer-review. It can be argued that a lot of trash claims and inaccurate results will be thrown up by this process… but keep in mind that the real deal is always identified, as a matter of course. It is similar to the freedom of religion, yes, naturally you will have a lot more tiny cults forming, but inevitably a true spiritual person will produce effects that benefit humanity, and that is essential. This system is a living system, and it shall re-organize itself in the way we direct it. Liberty in the case of the scientist is simply the liberty of communicating his ideas to the world, and the scientific world acknowledging this liberty.
Additionally, the system of giving Prizes to the scientists is quite thoroughly counterproductive, or about as productive as trying to go backward in an effort to go forward. Prizes provide an incentive to the egoism, and when they are encouraged, hyped up, and promoted, one grows a tremendous amount of egoism in the community, and the results of that are to inevitably bring politicking into science. Nobel Prizes and the like, add nothing of scientific value to the ideas, and simply transpose an economic function, that of seeking profit, into this sphere. So, if recognition is indeed to be assigned, it will be assigned by the results of the research… and the wholehearted appreciation from the public, born of a real use of one’s ideas, is a far more healthy satisfaction to encourage than the one resulting by bagging a prize.
To summarize, science’s relation to itself ought to be one of equal opportunity… to a level that a productive scientist can refer even to a shoddy paper in a different language as a support for his research, as long as the material is fruitful, without inviting ridicule from his fellows.
THE SPHERE OF RIGHTS, GOVERNMENT- EGALITÉ
The way the sphere of rights influences the system is predominantly via the issue of intellectual property rights. Pulling that apart, first of all, products of the intellect are not property… they cannot be stolen. Once given, they cannot be taken back, at all. A lot of furor is created nowadays in social networks over the fact that something posted cannot be deleted… but that is merely a reflection of the true state of affairs, that an idea, once formulated and expressed, is a gift to the world as a whole. All attempts to create an idea-property are a straightforward denial of reality. Now, something of the idea does become a property, if it is an invention, and as such can be stolen… however, that would be similar to the laws against theft. An invention is an idea incorporated, but the ideal part of it is not a property, only the physical part of it is.
The crux of the issue lies in the laws of patents, which has seen a tremendous tug of war in our history. Patents are to the scientist what candy is for the child, an incentive to create something, or do something. While the creations and actions are very much appreciable, must we continue to think that a mature being works only for such incentives? The predominant factor is due to the monetary compensation that it entails, and the second one is the recognition that comes with it, both of which are out of the sphere of rights. There are, after all, no rights to demand money or recognition, except to the level of sustaining the human person. In fact, the right to copy exists, as a fundamental right. It is only when that right is acknowledged that a general appreciation for originals will be cultivated.
The rights sphere is inherently self governed, and works as a balance… with the underlying theme that anything that threatens the individuality of a person has to go. One government servant’s attitude to another is mainly to make sure that the two laws which they are both upholding are mutually consistent, and compatible with the other two spheres.
THE SPHERE OF ECONOMICS, INDUSTRY – FRATERNITÉ
This most-powerful sphere of today has a role of identifying suitable business ventures, and providing the necessary money for them, and also to keep its nose out of the formulation of laws or scientific research. In dealing with the production and distribution of goods, the main issue is that of mutual competition. This is where a good analogy with the farmer can be made… a certain amount of food has to enter the body, mainly for its sustenance, and yet, a farmer can grow his crops based on quite different considerations than the needs of his own body. If the two coincide, then he offers up to the world what he himself does not consume. This would be right attitude of the economic bodies, or companies… the profit motive for them is similar to growing food for internal consumption, however, a majority of the food/profit is actually for the outer world, in order to direct to the place it is needed to go.
And THAT, is the crucial need for an economic body, to have people in it who know not only what the markets are at a specific point in time, but how the market is showing the results of the spiritual sphere and the life of rights. It is most important for an economist, even when dealing within his own sphere, today to be aware of the other two spheres and their interconnection to his own. Without this, it would be impossible to obtain any bearing on the issue of competition. Competition is a result of the failure of the economic system to sustain the basic needs of a human being, and also a failure of the spiritual stream in identifying the uniqueness of the individuals and their collaborative groups. This lack of recognition leads to competition, where people believe that one’s loss is another’s gain.
And now, to connect these three systems together in thought… the scientific sphere is related to the governmental sphere mainly to protect the right of every scientist to publish or not to publish his/her results, without coercion. Now, the scientist in question, once having decided to share the idea, disavows all ownership, and responsibility of usage of any products that result from his/her idea. In other words, no scientist can be held responsible for the mismanagement of the given idea, but only that any harmful effect of the idea is outlined to the best of one’s ability.
When the scientist is interacting with the law, he does so solely as any other citizen of the respective governing body. There are no additional rights, save for those that have to do with a waiving of certain hazardous material laws which every individual scientist has to decide for oneself. This component is necessary because of the unknown factor which enters into any fresh investigation, whence the normal laws of safety and restrictions cannot be applied. There can be no licenses on use of inventions until they have undergone use for a certain period of time that is decided by a body of scientists, and this is the only area where democracy can fit into the scientific pursuits. All forms of voting and democracy on any item of scientific merit will lead a clogging of the creativity in the long run, so it is best that they are removed as completely as possible from the whole cycle of creation, publication, and rebuttals.
So, we have on the one hand, the reach of the government into the Spiritual Sphere as far as the maintaining of basic human rights, and making a few special exemptions in the case of unknown research. The unhealthy side of this is where research is tied up with bureaucratic paperwork, requiring numerous permissions from the side of the government to operate a research institute, or it prefers one section of research over the other in this licensing. Any and all forms of peer-review in the case of scientific publications will in the long run grow something poisonous, and provide little of true benefit, just as one cannot create a law of nature by vote. The two systems, in this way, are incompatible.
The interaction of scientists and industrialists or entrepreneurs, on the other hand, must be one of free exchange both ways. For a start, spiritual institutions are best funded by donations from any economic agent, and correspondingly, the economic body benefits from the free transfer of ideas from the scientific body. It would be up to the scientists to use the money provided to them in a healthy fashion, just as it would be up to the businessmen to manufacture and develop the products suggested by the scientists and obtain the corresponding profits. The same relationship currently exists in its corrupt form, where due to mutual mistrust both the scientific and the economic spheres place demands on one another… with the scientific side competing for grants via claims and proposals, and the industry demanding results with the grants they provide. In this system, both sides are engaged in a deadlock, and this stifling atmosphere kills all free interest-based research and constrains the scientist to follow the money, and the industrialist to follow the tall claims. If instead the arrangement of funds is left up to the enterprise as a whole, where a group of scientists are free to keep or redistribute the money that is attributed to them by donation, and similarly the business people are free to put the products into the hands of those competent to produce and distribute them, both spheres benefit from the arrangement.
The arrangement of funds for scientific and educational activities being given up as a matter of personal liberty, the mutual constraints are gone. The two spheres are interconnected with the question of personal rights, as they have to do with the rights of the individuals in each sphere. The right to donate, and the right to provide the scientific ideas, cannot be subject to coercion in any form.
As the relationship of the economic sphere to the rights sphere is mainly with regard to those functions of the economic body for the good of the whole system, for example, the areas which are currently designated as public sector enterprises and supported by the government. Handing things over to the private companies is a start, however their might be situations where companies cannot utilize the profit motive for the functioning of those systems. Here is where the re-distribution of the profits of certain companies would go, to prop up the transport system, for example, and the logistics for public service. It is solely in these areas that there could be the entrance of NGO’s, which work for the benefit of the community alone, and are supervised by the economic body. The rights of a businessman to borrow money, set up an enterprise, buy land and resources, and to further sell it shall be protected throughout.
An unhealthy relationship between the life of rights and that of economists is that where the laws are made to the fancy of the economists, to support the profit motive of one or more companies via lobbying. If that economic organization itself is having a function of distribution instead of accumulation, then the two can be led independently, with economic decisions playing little role in the life of a citizen. Similarly, the creation of laws, as far as they deal with the human individual, would not suppress formation of new businesses with an endless list of permits and paperwork… the laws do not change unless they are reformed as a whole, and generating laws to provide licenses and permits at a corporation level is destructive. When the two systems are entangled, the economic aims of profiteering infect the lives of public servants, in the form of corruption, and the artificial increase of the market is affected by the lobbying.
So to summarize,
Spiritual <--> Rights
Healthy: Right to publish and pursue research, Reform of laws as spirituality grows
Unhealthy: Restrictions on research and publishing, Science warped to support unjust laws
Spiritual <--> Economic
Healthy: Free donations, free ideas, both ways.
Unhealthy: Money provided for results alone, Results claimed for money alone.
Economic <--> Rights
Healthy: Sustenance of every human being, Right to create and operate businesses.
Unhealthy: Corruption of lawmakers, denial of licenses, support of injurious practices due to 4 year cycles.