While critiquing a book on Jugaad innovation, where authors were citing an example of a grassroots innovation called MittiCool, which means a home made Fridge, I was stuck by a powerful vibe about the differences between a man’s approach to understand Science and Religion. And, this blog is a meta-physical perspective to understand the differences between Science and Religion with the above innovation acting as a catalyst.
About the innovation (see the graphic): MittiCool is a home made innovation, which is a makeshift innovation to address the refrigeration needs of rural domestic households who are challenged with inconsistent supply of electricity and affordability of a main stream Fridge (Refrigerator).
Scientific principle involved in the working of a Fridge: Latent heat of Vaporization. When a liquid evaporates, it takes out heat from the container.
Understanding Science from a metaphysical perspective, let me use the Buddhist terminology of two truths viz., Absolute and Relative.
If we see the above scientific principle, which is universally applicable, as Absolute, then, an Engineer/ a Technologist interpretation of this absolute truth could be different from an Artisan’s (MittiCool innovator who is a Potter) interpretation of the same absolute truth. In Buddhist terminology, we call this interpretation, relative truth.
For example, the relative truth as perceived/ interpreted by an Engineer/ a Technologist is using the means of Mathematical equations that help him estimate the amount of heat stored in the system and thereby, arrive at the quantity of work to be done to remove this heat.
And, to realize his own version of truth (which we are calling relative truth), an Engineer discovers a process to remove the estimated quantity of heat by material innovations like a Compressor, a Refrigerant, an Evaporator and integrates them to build our modern day Fridge.
Similarly, the relative truth as perceived/ interpreted by an Artisan is to use the raw material (earth and clay) to build what resembles our modern day Fridge (see graphic). Possibly with a coarse understanding of the above absolute truth, he comes to a point where he is able to meet his needs.
Now, a metaphysical question that we are asking is: Given the fact that the needs of the Artisan are being met with his own interpretation of the absolute truth and likewise of an Engineer/ Technologist (possibly meeting his needs several times over than actually required), is there a way to foster an understanding between the Engineer and the Artisan to enable them to see that their relative truth is essentially derived from the one and only one absolute truth? And, thereby, arrive at one version of Fridge that is universally acceptable?
What kind of tools do we need to foster such an understanding of the one and only one absolute truth – a fact of Science that is universal?
Extrapolating the above question in the context of turbulence in our world mired by Religious conflicts, can such a tool foster understanding across various religions/ cults that propagate their own versions of relative truth?
In Science, we find the absolute truth through a systematic study of nature and prove the findings of our study to be universal. The study itself is an iterative process of questioning, learning and unlearning relative truths until a universally applicable absolute truth is found. And, we interpret this absolute truth using various innovative means like Engineering/ Technology, Artisan work and others.
But, in Religion, with centuries of propaganda by prophets and gurus, we approach absolute truth through the unquestioned relative truths as propagated by the respective prophets and gurus.
And, is there a tool that we can use to foster a kind of scientific temperament amongst the religious followers in questioning the unquestioned relative truths propagated by religious prophets and gurus?
Can a Learning mind be this tool that can scientifically study the various relative truths and finally understand the one and only one absolute truth?
And, what does it take to foster such a Learning mind? A journey along the path of Innovation or Creation?
Finally, is it easy to build a harmonious society based on scientific knowledge, instead of on unquestioned religious thought introjected into the society by various prophets or gurus?