The Intellectual Unity of Science
If we wish to secure the future, we must courageously promote science in the here and now. Of course, this immediately raises the question of which science is meant.
No one would challenge the fact that the traditional methods of research in the natural sciences, which were successfully followed in the course of the 19th century in particular, have brought about great insights and rich benefits.
But equally incontestable is the fact that science does not only deliver results with which people connect positive, pleasant sentiments. Quite the contrary – for many, what is planned and realised in physics, chemistry, biology and recently in medicine appears uncanny. The gap between the desired and the dammed, the understood and the incomprehensible and the beneficial and the threatening within science is becoming wider. The human race’s ancient longing for an intellectual unity of knowledge and progress in harmony remains unfulfilled.
This unity, which is so important for mankind, is not a question of a stable state of affairs to be reached, but of unity in the form of dialogue which would take place between people within the sciences as a dynamic, creative process.
The difficulties we have with science today have not come about because science has discovered more facts than any one mind is able to retain. Far more, the problem lies in the point that science – even for the scientists – has stopped being principally united, and thus an object of contemplation. Today we have forgotten how to “understand Nature as en entirety which is moved and animated by inner forces” as Alexander von Humboldt still expressed himself, and the question is - how can we regain this ability.
Chair: Lilo Berg (Berliner Zeitung)