Soddy, Frederick – Soddy's role as prophet - 05 Economy and conservation will replace development and ‘progress’
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Frederick Soddy: The Scientist as Prophet – Professor Mansel Davies [May 1991]
The social responsibilities of science and scientists
The second area in which Soddy was more than a generation ahead of his time was that of the social responsibilities of the scientist. Of course there are still different opinions on this question. What can be claimed without hesitation is that Soddy expressed views almost universally voiced in the later, post-Hiroshima, years. No doubt cynicism and personal advancement, even financial rewards, in the last quarter of this century [1900s], have tended to become the accepted norms. Maybe this provides all the more reason for giving ear to Soddy's higher expectations.
In a more enlightened age they will certainly again come to the fore. Here one might see Soddy in the role of an Old Testament Prophet. Thus in 1912:
The proverb counselling the cobbler to stick to his last is a good one: but since the province of physical science is the universe and all that moves therein, its right to be heard first, in order of presentation of the subject only, cannot be withstood... but none of the truths outside of physical science can help in the solution of physical problems.
The world is great enough and rich enough to supply human aspirations and ambitions beyond all present dreams. But the human intellect must keep pace in its development with the expanding vision of material abundance.
Its (i.e. science's) functions in the future will be not the spending to good purpose of what has been provided [by nature], but the provision of what is being spent.
Thoughts of economy and conservation will inevitably replace those of development and progress, and the hopes of the race will centre on the future of science ... Modern science, however, and its synonym modern civilization, creates nothing except knowledge.