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Developments in Science and Christian Leadership

Prof. Dr. Job Kozhamthadam, SJ Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune

I. Who is a leader? 1. One who can facilitate moving the ideal into the real What remains ideal and unattainable is shown to be practical and attainable. 2. One who can carry a group forward to a higher and greater level. 3. One who can read the signs of the times, and respond to them effectively and efficiently. 4. One with a creative vision and effective mission.

5. One who can motivate the group by his/her personal charism, with the width of knowledge and depth of insights. 6. One who is capable of challenging the followers to bring out the best out of them. 7. One who can inspire confidence in every one of the followers to become a winner. 8. One who can be an agent of unity in diversity.

Thus the keywords of leadership are:

Inspiration, Unity in Diversity, Success, and Progress

II. Science and Leadership


1. Nature is the masterpiece of the Creator. 2. Nature is the best teacher. 3. Science is the best student of Nature. 4. Science is an attempt to learn the hidden wisdom of Nature. 5. Science perhaps is the most successful venture of humans.

6. Science has been immensely successful because it has been the best student of the best teacher. 7. A leader should go for the best knowledge to instruct and inspire the followers most effectively and efficiently. 8. Hence it will be most helpful for any leader to explore and find out how science has achieved its phenomenal success.

III. Some Secrets of the Success of Science As we have seen, science has been eminently successful. It is a paradigm of unity in diversity the many laws and theories of science attempt to give us a unified, holistic view of Nature. Science has been an inspirer of great confidence. Thus many things we look for in an effective leader are found in science. Hence it is well worth the effort for a leader to examine the secret of sciences success. I give below some aspects of this secret.

1. Logical, methodological approach science is often noted for its powerful method. 2. Emphasis on reliable process of validation usually science demands experimental validation on the basis of careful observation. 3. Open-minded approach: Open to truth from wherever and however it comes. 4. Unconditional commitment to truth: Science is ever ready to surrender before truth, however unexpected and uncomfortable the consequences.

5. Freedom from rigid traditions: No blind support to authority, however well-established or successsupported. 6.. Quest for novelty ever ready to explore new avenues and to try out new ways. 7. Readiness to take risks: Science and scientists are never shy of taking calculated risks, usually on the basis of hunches and insights. 8. The spirit of the magis never satisfied with the status quo, ever on the lookout for the better and the greater. 9. Self-critical approach: Always ready to examine the present status to see if something better can be found.

10. Readiness to accept mistakes the humble approach. E.g., Einstein: The Cosmological Constant was the greatest blunder of my life. 11. Readiness to learn from mistakes. 12. Self-correcting approach: Effective checks and balances are often built into the scientific system. 13. Yearning for perfection: Relentless quest for greater accuracy, better certainty, greater objectivity. 14. Emphasis on impartial, objective approach: Rejection of all forms of favoritism.

IV. Leadership and Worldview


1. A leader is a product of his/her times and milieu. 2. A leader is called upon to lead others who are also products of their times and milieu. 3. Hence accurate and reliable knowledge of the times and milieu is a necessary prerequisite for effective leadership.

4. The worldview of the times and milieu plays a key role in shaping the essential features of that milieu. 5. It is difficult to define accurately what a worldview is, but the science of the day, particularly the cosmology, provides a substantial segment of the worldview. 6. Hence scientific worldview and leadership are intimately interlinked.

V. Different Scientific Worldviews and Their Leadership Profiles


The history of science presents three dominant worldviews: -Rationalistic-absolutist worldview of Plato & Aristotle -Materialistic-absolutist worldview of Newton and the Mechanical Philosophy of Nature -Realistic-indeterminate worldview of contemporary science

A. Rationalistic-Absolutist Worldview of Plato and Aristotle


This worldview arose from the extraordinary intellectual acumen and perspicacious insights of Plato and Aristotle.

1. Some of its principal features


a. It was a static, finite universe with definite boundaries. Within the boundaries some changes could take place, but the whole universe itself remained static.

b. The different items in the universe came as finished products. c. The initial universe, as created by God, was the best, if not perfect, one. d. Aristotles universe was made up of a system of spheres of solid, crystalline substance. e. The earth was the centre of the universe (geocentrism) f. A sharp division was made between the terrestrial and the celestial

Thus this gave a neat, orderly, systematic universe with clear principles, and where every thing had its natural place and specific purpose.

g. The celestial was far superior to the terrestrial. In fact, the celestial was the real world. The terrestrial was the inferior/shadow world. h. Immutability was a mark of all superior and important items: Every being had its fixed essential nature (e.g., human nature was fixed). i. Change was a mark of imperfection and inferiority. j. Every thing had its fixed natural place and its purpose or goal. E.g, sex was only for procreation. k. Absoluteness of principles. There were certain principles which were absolute and non-negotiable. E.g., The earth was stationary and did not move.

2. Some Key Aspects of this Worldview


a. Static, unchanging, clearly defined, and definite universe. b. Well-planned and readymade universe, everything having its predetermined natural place. c. Change or deviation from the predetermined order was deemed a defect and a mark of inferiority. d. Precedence of the ideal over the experiential/observable (real)

e. Absolute principles exist, which are knowable by humans. f. Experience or counterexamples cannot overrule principles. g. Everything important has been already given. h. New knowledge not emphasized i. Clear, definite answers based on principles exist j. Chance and risk-taking highly discouraged. k. Creativity, novelty discouraged.

3. A Leader in this world


a. Believes in absolute principles and claims absolute power. b. Makes sure that no serious change takes place his/her function is to preserve the status quo. c. Decisions are taken on the basis of firm, immutable principles. d. Creativity and novelty are not important values. e. Authority and tradition are given very high regard. f. Taking chances and risks is highly discouraged.

B. Materialistic-Absolutist Worldview
1. Newtons View
a. The universe is rational. It operates on certain and unchanging laws of nature. b. Every event in the universe takes place according to the Laws of Nature and for a reason. c. Every event in the universe should have a rational explanation. d. Science can give us the best explanation. We should use science to its maximum to explain phenomena of nature. e. There are phenomena that cannot be explained by science alone. E.g., gravitation. In such cases God should be called in to explain them.

2. Mechanical Philosophy of Nature


a. The universe is a huge, gigantic machine. b. All phenomena of our experience can be explained adequately mechanistically, i.e., in terms of the laws, principles and methods of the Science of Mechanics. c. The human body is a highly developed machine. d. Animals and other living beings are all complex machines. e. Hence all these can be explained mechanistically, in terms of matter, motion and interaction among material bodies.

f. Scientific knowledge is characterized by mathematical properties. -Exact, -Objective -Certain -Predictable -Determinate g. Chance has no place in Nature. Nothing takes place by chance. h. Novelty and new discoveries are allowed. But they have to be in agreement with other established laws and principles.

3. A Leader in this World


a. Can claim absolute power. b. Subscribes to strict laws and principles, and expects performance in accordance with them. . c. Looks for exactness and perfection. d. Looks for certainty. e. Looks for regularity f. Does not believe in taking chances and risks.

C. The Realist-Indeterminate Worldview of Contemporary Science


The most dominant scientific worldview is the evolutionary worldview which takes evolution as a scientific fact. 1. Some characteristics a. Dynamic: It is dynamic and changing. Not only can the individual items in the universe undergo changes, but also the universe as a whole changes.

a. All-Pervasive: Evolution is all pervasive. The physical universe arose as a result of the evolutionary process (the Big Bang Theory of Lemaitre), the biological universe came as a result of the evolutionary process (Darwin, Lamarck, etc.), the spiritual, conscious world of living beings came as a result of evolution (Teilhard de Chardin). c. Change is fundamental, and this is not a mark of any inferiority, but rather a path to betterment and greater perfection.

d. The different items in the universe did not come as finished products, but appeared in the course of a gradual, progressive process. e. The universe is not perfect, but perfectible, and the process of perfecting is going on. f. Unified view: no terrestrial-terrestrial distinction. Even the distinction between non-living, living, thinking beings is reduced to one of degree rather than kind. g. Forward-looking perspective: The completion or fullness of the cosmos is something to be achieved in the future. Progress achieved by going forward. According to Teilhard, the forward march is towards the Omega-Point, who

h. Definiteness and exactness with regard to the universe are unattainable. Nature is intrinsically indefinite and indeterminate (Quantum Theory). The fundamental items that were considered to be absolute (space, time, etc., ) are not absolute, but relative (Relativity Theory). i. In the world of knowledge we can get only high probability, not certainty (Uncertainty Principle and the Complementariy Principle in Quantum Mechanics) j. Chance is fundamental to this universe (Evolution and Quantum Theory).

2. Some Emerging Trends in Contemporary Scientific World


a. Formation of a Global Village b. Unity among the different beings in the universe through common origin and heritage c. Unity in diversity d. Interdisciplinary, collaborative approach as the path to success e. Interconnectedness of the different sections and items of the universe all are webbed together.

f. Change seen as fundamental necessary for progress g. Change and stability can coexist and collaborate.

3. A Leader in This World


a. The universe is imperfect and incomplete. Hence imperfection is an integral part of this world A leader is understanding and tolerant. b. The world is perfectible. Human effort is crucial in this process of perfecting. Hence human effort/work is something positive A leader ready to give his/her best in the process of perfecting, and elicits others to give their best.

c. The world is constantly changing change is an integral part of progress A leader is open to change remains open-minded. d. The world is indefinite and indeterminate, uncertain and unpredictable A leader is ready to cope with an uncertain and unpredictable situation e. The world is intimately interlinked anything happening in one part affects every other part every item is important A leader believes that every one counts, cares for everyone.

f. Interdisciplinary approach becoming the path to success A leader emphasizes team spirit, elicits collaboration and cooperation. g. This world rejects the various forms of absolutism A leader refrains from claiming absolute power.

VI. Conclusion
Nature is the best teacher, and science is her best student. In this paper science has been sharing with us some of the treasured secrets of Nature it has learned. We have seen that the worldview of science has been changing and evolving, and along with it the profile of a leader also has been undergoing significant change. For instance, Mechanical Philosophy of Nature looked upon the universe and even humans as machines. Influenced by this worldview a leader of this age could hope to attain perfect knowledge, and assessed other humans purely in terms of efficiency and performance, paying scant attention to various vital human aspects. On the other hand, for contemporary science ours is an imperfect world, inhabited by imperfect humans, governed by laws about which no one can have perfect knowledge. A leader in this world can claim no perfection, and has to be realistic and considerate with regard to the demands put on other humans.

It seems to me that the transition from MPN to our contemporary times has a parallel in the world of management. In the past IQ used to be the primary criterion for a successful manager. However, in recent times EQ has been considered as equally important. In fact, today the consensus is that a successful manager or leader is one with a harmonious blending of IQ and EQ. The profile of a leader emerging from contemporary worldview of science seems to share this perspective.

A leader today is one who can harmoniously integrate the rational with the emotional, valid reasons of the head with genuine sentiments of the heart. A leader should remain open to change, without becoming a slave to fleeting fads and fashions; a leader should be willing to take calculated risks, without giving to thoughtless adventurism. A leader should demand responsibility and performance, without neglecting concern and compassion. Such a leader can bring the best out of every member; such a leader can make everyone a winner; such a leader can take the community to higher and greater heights.