Lessons from the Thai Rescue

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Twelve young boys, who had been trapped in underwater caves, about two weeks ago, in Thailand, have been rather miraculously saved. All including the coach survived the grueling ordeal. The moment that the boys and their coach were found in these underwater caves, it was generally believed that saving them was a hopeless cause. But, the Almighty had different plans : He had life in store for these youngsters. The whole saga can also be described as a triumph of human determination comingled with feats of science and technology. The clear implication is that science and technology , if used for salubrious ends , can constitute a means for not only improving the lot of humankind but also saving lives. This might sound like a cliché but , it has been observed that when science and technology is monopolized by the state, it usually ends up merely, or largely, serving the interests and ends of the state, which can include war, among other things. Consider the knowledge and discover of the atomic sciences. While stupendous advances have been made in the field of physics, astrophysics and so on, and some of the consequences has been beneficial for mankind, the same knowledge also led to the development of nuclear weapons, a clear and present danger to humankind. In an eloquent example of the destructive potential of science, the United States, to tilt the balance of forces in war, dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Japan, killing hundreds of thousands. ( The dangers of nuclear war still exist and a full fledged nuclear cannot be ruled out). But, as the Thai rescue so eloquently demonstrates, science along with human determination, ingenuity , ethics and a sense of moral duty towards humankind, can do wonders and thereby can be a positive force for the amelioration of the human condition. But, science can and should be only as a means to and for the welfare of humankind. (From a larger perspective, with its cause and effect technique, can also bring one nearer to the Creator). All these constitute lessons from the nature of the Thai children saga and its resolution thereof. Science, when the state monopolizes it, and employs it merely for its own ends, becomes a mere instrumentality with potentially deleterious consequences. Let then the Thai rescue concentrate minds and crystallize a condition where it becomes a boon and not a bane for humankind.