A few days ago, I was sitting with a group of doctors and scientists discussing the legal procedures required to allow Ayurvedic medicines to enter the healthcare market.
For a layman like myself, this offered a great insight into what serious scientists (pure and applied) think about the legal aspect of their field, i.e. intellectual property rights (IPR).
Since I love being devil’s advocate, I asked them whether the idea of IPRs (which currently occupies the center stage in most current scientific research) served science or business, and the answers that emerged made me feel something very uncomfortable.
Humanity no longer does science.
We now confuse modern business with science.
The first quality of science that we had inherited as a social species was looking far ahead while standing over the shoulders of giants. So real science is always about cooperation and inclusion.
But if we look at the whole edifice of modern science which is regulated as never before in the history of mankind, we can clearly see that modern science thrives on secrecy and exclusion, and the The horror called DPI that we have institutionalized for this purpose is turning intellectual ideas into another kind of property.
We are already wasting a wonderful planet by spreading the scourge of property (and with companies selling land on the Moon and Mars, there is no doubt that we would soon be reaching the stars to spread this cancer if we did. can).
With DPI, we’ve taken our evil obsession with owning (in most cases what we don’t need) to a whole different level, and this mental illness is probably not as mild as we think it is.
Science teaches us that it is a process of being right and wrong at the same time thanks to the original universe we live in where if we solve a problem, the shape-changing monster of the reality we live in will create it. another.
So an antibiotic that today will offer a miraculous cure to a cute little infant (sorry puppy because it will hit more emotional cords) will also lead to the evolution of a drug-resistant pathogen that could kill a million people. ‘children after a hundred years.
If we apply natural justice, it should be the responsibility of the drug company that invented / discovered the antibiotic to make up for the million deaths it will cause in the future, if it is the “owner” of the drug. antibiotic; but, if we look at the way modern IPRs are constituted, it is like all other statutory institutions i.e. an authority designed to help businesses benefit NOW as it is designed to ignore the cited quality above of each “solution” found in this universe.
IPR is about creating an exclusion in the name of allowing a scientist to profit from his intellectual effort. But the real problem is that this idea rests on a basis which itself is detrimental to the well-being not of our species but also of the planet itself.
The future of the human species depends on a simple choice, namely, would humans be able to shake off our obsession with owning or not.
If we want to “own” this planet / universe / reality, we will be fighting the most basic force that we call nature that owns it now and She does not seem eager to share what she has.
Historically we have used science to understand nature so that we can coexist with it, but lately we have moved the goal post and now science is a business process to control nature so that we can own it.
This may sound like an unrealistic rant in a world where science is now the power that offers control and it has been conclusively proven to be extremely ‘rewarding’, but I strongly think there is still a sense my rant.
My hope for an alternative rests on a strange quality that I saw in Men and Women of Science.
For some inexplicable reason, science seems to be a natural gift given to some chosen ones. They do science aimlessly. They do it because they have to. And these people exist, even today when we see this sacrosanct human idea being violated by the forces of commerce every minute.
What we need is an alternative system, a second Asimov foundation that allows an underground community of such scientists to exist, to exist beyond the collapse that we will inevitably go to. provoke because of our obsession with property.
On the other side, there may be a new world waiting for those who just want to live enjoying the quest for understanding the universe and not owning it.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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