Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 4 April 14, 1943
Lend-Lease in Ideas
Lend-Lease in Ideas
One of the most striking characteristics of the development of science in me last twenty odd years has been the growing awareness among scientists themselves of what the verbaily daring call interdisciplinary co-operation. This is a rather barbarous phrase to indicate the fact that the older academically defined delineation of knowledge into scientific subjects or university departments is now more of a hindrance to understanding knowledge and teaching than it is a help. Perhaps the phiase also indicates something of a revolt against the dangers of ever-increasing specialization. At any rate, it does mean, from the more positive angle, that today research and teaching in any one subject are being cross-fertilized by new insights and points of view borrowed from or suggested by other workers in other related fields —a sort of lend-lease in the field of ideas, if you will. Thus medicine is becoming more psychology conscious and a new field of study, that of Psychosomatic medicine, is holding out ever-increasing possibilities for the understanding of disease symptoms, in a similar fashion, sociology is drawing more and more on the hunches of social psychologists, psychiatrists and anthropologists for both the raw materials and the concepts with which and from which a more powerful science of human relations may one day be built.
At long last something or this interdisciplinary co-operation is becoming apparent in New Zealand. Even here in Wellington, to be exact. Under the sheltering and elastic wing of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Wellington Branch, there has been born a Social Science Section. This section now takes its place alongside the older, more respectable sections devoted to the study of astronomy and biology, geology and technology.
Interest and Trepidation.
There are some of us who watch the birth of this new action with large amounts of interest mixed with pretty big chunks of trepidation— interest in the possibilities of getting together and discussing new ideas and insights which are new to us but common-places perhaps in advanced research in other fields—trepidation when we wonder whether there are enough people here in Wellington to help the infant grow to useful childhood. Of one thing, however, we are sure: that a good many physical scientists are now realising that much of the mess the world is in today is the result of a failure to think in terms of human problems, scientifically analysed. And that as a consequence of this, the world is going to get in a still worse mess if the help of social scientists is not asked when next we have an opportunity of settling the peace of the world. If the new infant social science section can do anything in the way of making people more socially and scientifically conscious it will have served its purpose well enough.
For those who might be interested in attending the section meetings (and they are of course free to all) please note that the meetings are to be held on the second Tuesday of each month from May onwards in one of the Biology Block class rooms. The notice board will give further particulars in due course.
The mosquito knows full well,
small as he is.
he's a beast of prey.
But after all
he only takes his bellyful,
he doesn't put my blood in the bank.
D. H. Lawrence.