Meritocracy of Science and Culture?

August 14, 2010

Qusthan Abqary

Many Indonesian intellectuals who were born in the midst of 20th century and backward, in certain sense, agree that culture could not be separated with the (social) science(s). Notonegoro, Soedjatmoko, Daoed Joesoef, Kahrudin Yunus, Hidayat Nataatmadja, Mubyarto, Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana are some social scientists who seriously develop their intellectual work hand in hand with the cultural issues. Yet we almost never hear if there are any Indonesian natural scientists that did the same things, apart from their personal activity in art or literature.

Habibie might be one, if not the only one, Indonesian natural scientist that write poem. Undoubtedly, our natural scientists might be just tending to produce technology with the sense of Indonesia without the consciousness of the basic need to the grand strategy of culture. The so-called functional phase of culture does not more superior than either the mystical or ontological phase of culture. But then, how to develop and then manage this grand strategy of culture? Both social and natural scientists should meet and discuss this issue with budayawan (humanists/artists). They have to reflect their own field work hand by hand with their counterparts. One interesting question could be raise such as: to what extent your own field works could be shared, connected, and developed altogether with the other?

Every single product of science and technology would bring its components of arts and culture. It might be caused by the products of science and technology which are not free of value-laden like the science or technology itself. Moreover, technology might be best described as the combination of product of science with the touch of art. For instance, Nokia N5000 would be the favorite mobile of Finns even thought it would not be the same for Indonesians.  In fact, Indonesians would prefer to use more and more sophisticated technology and beautiful shape of their mobile than just the function of it.

The passion for beautiful shape might be base on the fact that Indonesians are surrounded by the beautiful environment while the passion for more and more complicated embedded technology in mobile phone might be just for the sake of banal prestige.

Habibie’s jargon for IPTEK and IMTAK are not enough for our nation. Our nation needs IPTEK, IMTAK, and CULTURE. IPTEK and IMTAK would be slipped to the so-called fascism of science or even scientism without the contribution of culture.

Tentang Penulis

Qusthan Abqary - I am a lecturer and teach some subjects such as Ethics and Social Awareness, Corporate Governance and Ethics, Business Ethics, Critical and Creative Thinking and others. My research interests are political philosophy, ethics, peace, and war.

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