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Far away in the heavenly abode of the Great God Indra, the protector and nurturer of life, there is a wonderful net which stretches out indefinitely in all directions, in accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities.
From the beginning of the XVII century the philosophical and scientific mindsets and ideals of the west followed the principles of reductionism which was brought to light by Rene Descartes. In his book “The Passions of the Soul” (“Les passions de l’âme", 1649) Descartes claims that: “…the body of a living man differs from the body of a dead man in just the same way that a watch or other automaton <…> when it is wound up and contains within itself the physical source of the movements for which it is designed, <…> differs from the same watch or machine when it is broken and the source of its movement has stopped working” (Part I; 6). In the place known as the world there are no possibilities of metaphysical reasoning, that is to say a complicated system is able to be divided up into smaller, simpler pieces which can be analyzed in full detail and the sum of all these elements makes up the entire system.
The scientific mind is always attempting to dive deeper into the reasons behind the relationships which penetrate natural order and social structure. These kinds of ideals began to develop in the middle of the XX century, for example through the catastrophe theory in mathematics and the theory of dissipative structures in thermodynamics it becomes obvious that the linear, mechanistic approach appears to be unsatisfactory when the system becomes too complex. More often than not, such structures possess new characteristics which are not inherent in their singular elements. The appearance of these “extra”, so-called “emergent”, characteristics suggests that the system can not be reduced to the simple sum of its parts and indicates the existence of synergic effect, or as it was simply put long ago by Aristotle in his “Metaphysics”: “The whole is larger than the sum of its parts”.
The idea that everything is connected and intertwined in nature has become commonplace. If we consider our planet a network of interacting components then it’s not hard to see that, for example, there is a link between the air temperature in the Himalayan Plateau and the gathering of a large amount of manta rays in the Maldivian bays in June – September. The warm air rising above the land creates an area of low atmospheric pressure which causes the air above the Indian Ocean to move and creates the stable, seasonal wind directed in-land which is known as the “monsoon”. The monsoon in turn creates is an influx of oceanic water reach with plankton, towards the Maldivian shores where manta rays, for which plankton is a staple food, wait for the seasonal feast. This example is only one microscopic link in an endless network of connections which is the material world. One can untangle these chains of causes and consequences in any direction and examine them from the different angles neglecting the parameters irrelevant from the viewpoint of a particular scientific field. What remains important is that every observable process or phenomena does not exist in isolation but correlates with numerous other processes generating something worth more than the trivial sum of elements. Truth which has become a truism is still the truth.
Understanding this fact inevitably brings us to the necessity to reflect about the responsibility of scientists in a modern world. It goes without saying that this problem has been here since a long time ago, and that any new discovery can be as beneficial to humanity as it can be damaging. The audacity and curiosity of science has always been that engine that pushes humanity from one solved mystery forward into the unknown. However the specifics of the current moment lay in an unpredictability of the scale of the possible effects of our recent discoveries. In the documentary on the history of the Manhattan project “The Day After Trinity” Freeman Dyson, one of the creators of quantum electrodynamics, states: “…this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.” Unfortunately the technological and scientific progress is a few steps ahead of the moral development of society and to anyone who realizes the complexity and diversity of this world the most difficult question arises: Is humanity ready for my discovery?
The modern world stands at the path of yet another change in techno-economical paradigm, a new technological system is emerging, the core of which consists of bio- and nanotechnologies, genetic engineering, photonics, robotics and thermonuclear energy. In the guidelines of this model, further developments will receive a flexible automation of production; there will be improvements upon the process of formation of global information networks and integrated high-speed transport systems; there will be more usage of green and renewable energy sources. The advantageous factors of the new (sixth) system should be a steep drop in the expenditure of materials and energy in production, as well as a possibility of the creation of construction materials with predetermined characteristics. According to the prognosis, at the current rate of development, a new paradigm will be established in the developed countries by the 2020; recently in these countries, a part of the productive forces, which conform to the sixth system, makes up around 5%.
The transformation of the production infrastructure is impossible without the targeted large-scale promotion of innovations and the dynamic realization of scientific achievements. The deciding role in the process of the formation of the techno-economical paradigm belongs to the new technologies, which are created on the base of fundamental scientific research. It is important to understand that the process of implementation of innovational knowledge possesses a complex character: the knowledge, gained from the fundamental sciences geared towards perspectives. On the basis of this new knowledge, groundbreaking technologies will be developed in the near future, the application of which, will in turn, bring about the creation of a new product. In order to make this system function properly working mechanisms of interactions between all of the parties involved must exist. The Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, doctor of economical sciences Ivanov, has stated that: “The dualism of innovational development stems from this model: the current standing of the fundamental sciences determine the condition of the business in the long-term perspectives – the present state of the business decides on the perspectives of the development of fundamental sciences”.
The choice of primary directions of scientific research becomes the deciding factor of governmental politics for the creation of the conditions for the transition of economics in the sixth technological system. The adoption of long-term programs, such as the “Strategy – 2020” and “Strategy of innovational development”, determine the priorities of the investments and presents a possibility for a business to take part in the solution of specific issues. However, taking into account the Russian specifics, it is important to note that the main potential for the realization of the innovational strategy is located in the governmental sector of sciences. In Russia more than 70% of the scientific-technological base is part of the governmental property and the public sector appears to be the main source of innovation.
It is exactly for this reason that for Russia to enter into the new system, there have to be some important cardinal changes in the forms and methods of control, organization and financing of sciences. Unfortunately, the currently existing administration structure does not allow for an effective application of synergy between academic and applied sciences, as it was noted by academician Kablov, a member of the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation: “The connection between the basic and applied research is already torn on the level of the creation of financial plans.” According to the scientist there is a necessity to rebuild the structure of the entire innovational sphere as well as a radical modernization of management, which is only possible if the science will gain a status of independent branch of economic.
The problems within the organization of scientific process, lie in the basis of the slow development of the fundamental sciences in Russia. The Minister for Education and Science Livanov thinks that “contrary to popular belief, the deficit of resources is not the main obstacle in the growth of our science. In the case of government investments, in both the absolute and percentile meaning, we are in the top five countries of the world, but we haven’t created a structure for the effective implementation of the scientific processes and due to that we have this anomalous situation”.
The deciding condition of whether Russia can enter the sixth technological system is the level of development of innovation – the base element of the new paradigm. The understanding of the primary importance of the fundamental research as the basis for innovational development presents a chance to grade the importance and place of academic science in the modern world.