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Science with a Human Face UNDERCURRENTS has been started by some people who believe that radical views on scientiﬁc and technological subjects need a medium in which they can be aired. Science, we feel, has largely abandoned its original 'quest for truth' --- if the phrase sounds naive today, it is a measure of that abandonment. Nowadays, a signiﬁcantly new scientiﬁc theory has to ﬁght against a massive weight of bureaucratic orthodoxy and entrenched academic reputations if it even to be given a hearing. And scientiﬁc theories are only listened to if they emanate from 'senior academics' or 'respected researchers', men who, almost by deﬁnition, have cast their minds in an orthodox mould. Technology, too, while still masquerading as mankind's great emancipator, is increasingly becoming the instrument of our enslavement. Though it continues to be regarded as simply the application of scientiﬁc rationalism to the satisfaction of human needs, technology in practice is the means whereby the unjust economy and power structure of our industrial civilisation is kept intact and entrenched. Technology no longer concerns itself with the satisfaction of individual human needs, but with the churning-out of cheaper and ever-moresophisticated products which the masses can be persuaded they need, brainwashed as they are by the propaganda of advertising and the mass media. Keeping the wheels of industry turning in this way produces an ever-increasing national and international 'cake', extra slices of which can be thrown occasionally to the poor in case they become too discontented, provided of course that the overall distribution of wealth stays the same (the top one-ﬁfth of Britain's population still controls three-quarters of the individual wealth of the country). More fundamentally, the supremacy in our civilisation of the scientiﬁc world view has come under heavy ﬁre in recent years. Critics like Theodore Roszak have led assaults on the 'myth of objective consciousness' and have charged that the scientist. whose "habitual mode of contact with the world is a cool curiosity untouched by love, tenderness or passionate wonder", has arrogated to himself an excessively dominant say in the way the world is run and viewed by its inhabitants. The scientist has been pilloried, too, by such bodies as the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science, for remaining too aloof from the uses to which scientiﬁc knowledge can be, and is being, put. And as pollution,
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industrialisation, standardisation, the depletion of natural resources, and the other concomitants of the industrial way of life begin to bite increasingly into people's awareness, the man in the street is beginning to wonder if the technological game is worth the environmental' candle. Nobody says much about the 'white-hot technological revolution any more. But do science and technology intrinsically contain the seeds of humanity's undoing? Must we believe that science has irrevocably fallen from its position as the expression of one of man's highest drives the urge to understand the world and our own place in it? And must technology remain no more than man's self-issued license to rape nature, rather than a means whereby we can live in sympathy and harmony with the natural world, understanding its laws and using them cooperatively for the simultaneous advantage of human beings and of the ecosphere? Undercurrents believes it is possible to evolve a 'sadder but a wiser' science, a science that is aware of its limitations as well as its strengths, which will search the hitherto ignored areas of human experience for clues to a more meaningful and relevant synthesis than is dreamt of in our present philosophies. We also believe that technology can be reoriented to serve not economies and governments but individual human beings -- to provide small-scale sources of basics like energy, food, shelter, clothing and tools; to provide unfettered communications between the smaller, more human communities that our world must create if it is to avoid overpopulation, alienation, violence and all the attendant evils of the mass society; and less importantly perhaps to provide simple data processing and automation facilities in a way that genuinely relieves human beings of boredom and drudgery without enslaving them to machines or to their owners. Not that Undercurrents believes that decentralisation should -- or could .. be carried to extremes. It is unnecessary and undesirable for humanity to regress into a disconnected series of isolated cultures. The cross fertilisation of ideas and genes that has been so vital to the evolution of our race should continue in a decentralised society ,as is perfectly feasible given intelligent use of modern techniques of transportation and communication. In Undercurrents itself we have tried to implement the notions of variety and decentralisation, that we advocate in wider spheres. The polythene bag format is no accident. It permits an extreme ﬂexibility of format, as we hope the contents show. Many of the items in this issue have been produced by individuals working in relative isolation; and we'd like to see this trend continue and develop. If you've got something to say, within the general context of the Undercurrents editorial line, you can do one of several things. You can send us an article or news item in the normal way -- and we really want to hear from you. Or you can typeset it yourself, paste it up and send it to us -- which cuts our costs and
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ensures that what you want to say is said your way; or you can send us 1,000 prints of your piece (our circulation is only 1,000 copies at present) as the editor of Resurgence' has done for us in this issue . (Though be sure to check with us before sending pasteups or prints: we'll try to include as much as we can, but we may not have room for them) In this ﬁrst issue of Undercurrents we've broken new ground in a large number of ways. Not all the experiments will be successful: in particular, the print quality isn't all we'd hoped for, mainly because we're printing most of the material ourselves and we're still learning. Undercurrents, incidentally, would cost us at least three times as much if it were printed professionally. You pays your money and you takes your choice. This ﬁrst edition is unlikely to set the world on ﬁre. But it's better, they say, to light a candle than to curse the darkness. GB [UC01: 1973] Please Do Not Ask For Credit In Undercurrents No. 1, Anna Bowman put the glorious golden reviews section together, while "Eddies" was (were?) whipped up by Ant Stoll, who handled the publicity and did numerous us other odd things, as did Norman Beddington. The administrative genius of Mike Hutchinson kept us out of debt, we hope, and out of court, we hope even more. John Cima, footballer and part-time Leonardo Da Vinci, did the cover and the poster and the lovely pictures and lots of other things, while the indefatigable Pat Coyne amazed us all by agreeing to do most of the printing for no apparent reason (madness, we fear). David Gardiner, poet philosopher and gentleman, tried to turn us all into anarchists -- or was it syndicalists? And maybe he succeeded. AII the good typesetting was done by the ever meticulous Maria-Zena Leitao, and all the bad setting was done by the rest of us. A number of editorial circulations were boosted by Linda Lee and Mary Boyd, who hope to do the same for Undercurrents when it goes on sale. The whole project would have been impossible without our fairy godmother from Peckham, Ann Ward, and her manic Multilith. But the blame for it all lies with Godfrey Boyle, who dreamt it up, and who coordinated things (or tried to), and who sometimes wishes he hadn't bothered.
Undercurrents, the magazine of alternative science and technology, is published and printed quarterly by the Undercurrents Syndicate, 34 Cholmley Gardens, London, England. Price per copy, 25p (60 cents); annual subscription (surface mail £1.20 ($3.00) All original Undercurrents material may be freely reproduced without permission, provided that acknowledgment to Undercurrents is made. Undercurrents staff are unpaid and the magazine is produced at cost, using voluntary helpers.
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