stats
http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate?tf=tgam/search/tgam/SearchFullStory.html&cf=tgam/search/tgam/SearchFullStory.cfg&configFileLoc=tgam/config&encoded_keywords=nobel&option=&start_row=8&current_row=8&start_row_offset1=&num_rows=1&search_results_start=1
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


workopolis.com
workopolis.com

Search

space
  This site         Tips
space
  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It
space

Breaking News

  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Download The Globe


Print Edition

  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists


  Headline Index

 Other Sections

  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Forums

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels


 Leisure

  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Horoscopes

  TV Listings/News


 Specials & Series

  All Reports...

  War on Terror

space

Services
  Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's
 available on the site

space
  Web Advertisers
 An index of our
 advertisers

space

 Newspaper

  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions


 Web Site

  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

space
    

Search Results
for: nobel
Document No. 8 of 78

Stupidity is the enemy; idealism is our only hope
space
Canadian laureate JOHN POLANYI tells why he and his colleagues have issued their challenge
space
By JOHN POLANYI
  
  
Email this article Print this article
Friday, December 7, 2001  Print Edition, Page A21

Nobel Prize winners are presumed to be intelligent. But why pay attention to the views of the 100 who have supported the statement above, issued to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize? Because one's perception of truth comes not from intelligence but from a sense of values. Scholarship embodies values: This was evident to Alfred Nobel, the Swedish tycoon and explosives manufacturer. In his will, he stipulated that his prizes recognize idealisk riktning -- idealistic tendencies.

And what led to the Nobel Prize winners' statement? Not a sense of oracular wisdom but of obligation. Individuals who had shared the experience of discovery would likely be able to agree on a great deal more. Alfred Nobel was right; science engenders "idealistic tendencies."

Why? Because the pursuit of discovery is shot through with idealism. Discovery originates in the unsupported belief that the book of creation is open to being read. So deep is this idealism that many are willing to devote the best years of their lives to the quest for discovery, though the odds against success are huge.

Idealism must also triumph over the painful fact that the first to read nature's story may well be someone other than oneself. But the truth must be acknowledged whatever the hands that uncover it. Christian truth cannot be elevated over Muslim truth. Nor can accepted truth, backed by the massed armies of orthodoxy, be protected against the claims of upstart facts. One can trace the sense of "Nobel-esse oblige" to these idealistic origins.

What, then, do these 100 voices say? The opening sentence is bold enough to claim that the dominant forces shaping history are rational. This was contentious when written in early July, and appeared still more so following Sept. 11. The ferocity of that attack led Americans to believe that the attackers were insane. But it came to be recognized that the sustained terrorism has its causes and purposes.

The question is important, because what lies (to a large extent) within the realm of reason can (to a large extent) be countered by policies grounded in reason.

Of course, the statement is as much about threats from states as from non-state groups, and about threats of mass destruction as about conventional threats. The dominant setting for conflict in each case, it claims, is a world in which the rich and the poor live in full sight of one another.

If, in addition, the poor are voiceless, they may well be induced to speak through violence. Particularly so if their predicament is aggravated by the environmental carelessness of the rich.

It is a peculiar folly, under these circumstances, for the rich to seek greater riches by selling weapons to the poor. Even without this, the prosperous grow ever more vulnerable. Advanced societies are complex and fragile. They operate efficiently by being open, not guarded. Like any complex mechanism, they are, therefore, vulnerable to the wrecker's ball.

To avoid a tragic outcome, the statement says, we shall be forced to do what we should have done previously. That is to recognize abroad what we have long recognized domestically: the right of all to food, shelter, education and freedom of expression. This is a revolution in thinking that is already under way. What is lacking, in this country as elsewhere, is a sense of urgency.

A Chinese leader, asked whether the French Revolution was a success, reportedly replied that it was too soon to tell. But it's not too early to identify its origins: the willful blindness of the French ruling class of the 18th century. Possessed of wealth and power, they offered only promises to the poor.

Unless we recognize that the future of each depends on the good of all, the coming years will bring escalating conflict. One need not be a rocket scientist to see that.

But the recognition that science has thrived on change could persuade us to behave more like rocket scientists. We might even come to realize that idealism is the highest form of realism.
Nobel laureate John Polanyi, a University of Toronto chemistry professor, was involved in framing the Nobel statement above.


Return to Search Results Page
Sign up for our daily e-mail News Update!  
Email this article Print this article


7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather
space

Inside

The federal budget
Winsor: That whoosh you're hearing is the spin on today's budget

Foot: Turn up the economic heat

Fagan: Here's a wish list for this federal budget, or the next one




space
War on Terror


On the ground: Go to our War on Terror special section for details




space

Globe Poll


space
What is your spending strategy for this holiday season?
Establish strict spending limits 
More homemade gifts 
Buying fewer gifts this year 
I've adopted a free-spending strategy 
space

space




space

What's New



R.O.B. Magazine Top 1000


The Stratford and Shaw Festivals
Profiles and reviews by the Globe's Theatre Critic Kate Taylor.

Appointment Notices
Post your company's new appointments on globeandmail.com.

Make us your home page



space

Morning Smile



The car phone rang. He answered it. It was his wife, "Honey, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on the freeway." He replies, "Hell, it's not just one, there are hundreds of them."
Arnie Lind, Regina.




space

Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

Copyright 2001 Globe Interactive, a division of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page