The mom of science and expertise


If this planet of ours referred to as earth had no human phrases being spoken on it proper now, what sort of planet wouldn’t it be? Or, if we rewind the clock to the distant beginnings when there have been but no human phrases being spoken upon its face, what sort of planet was it? Or, moreover, if we fast-forward to a future millennium when there may be no human phrases nonetheless being spoken upon its face, what modified planet will earth have develop into? 

With due humility, I recall that the mom of science and expertise was duly named – as language – by means of answering the above questions in my inaugural lecture, entitled ‘A Wordless World’, 40 years in the past, i.e. in 1982, following my appointment by Makerere College to the place of professor of Literature. 

It was and nonetheless is the apply that inside one 12 months of being appointed to the chair of a tutorial division, the related professor needed to ship his/her inaugural lecture on a topic of mental {and professional} curiosity concerning which the professor takes a specific stand and rigorously defends it. In different phrases, it’s a public pronouncement on what a specific professor particularly professes about his/her particular tutorial engagement.

As a place to begin, I imaginatively recreated the prehistoric state of affairs the place authentic man initially invented or developed human speech; and having executed that, he used language to itemise and identify his world – and in so doing he established mastery over it and have become its governor. Superseding the usage of gestures, verbal communication consequently grew to become the mom of all facets of human improvement – from the invention of fireplace, to the invention of the wheel, to the advanced achievements of recent science and expertise.  

With particular deal with Uganda, I identified to my viewers that inside the very first decade of our county’s acquisition of political independence, there had already emerged ill-informed and crude voices advocating for giving precedence to “tractor drivers over Shakespeare” within the all-important matter of nationwide planning and improvement.

The “tractor drivers over Shakespeare” notion was articulated by an actual and recognized official within the ministry of Schooling which was on the time headed by Dr JS Luyimbazi-Zake. “Tractor drivers” was shorthand for hands-on and machine-assisted pursuits, whereas “Shakespeare” stood for the humanities and humanities and foreignness.  
Fifty years on, the presumed superiority of science over the humanities is being pushed by none apart from the best single voice within the land, to the impact that one science trainer is nearly nearly as good as 10 arts lecturers, and that their respective remunerations ought to mirror this equation. A science-based economic system certainly! 

Again to 40 years in the past: the purpose was made in my inaugural lecture that simply as there’s science and utilized science or expertise, so is there language and utilized language. When language is utilized creatively or imaginatively to specific greater than commonplace fact, the result’s certainly what literature is. However literature doesn’t stand alone in expressing human values of the spirit that don’t want science laboratory experiments to vindicate their fact. It’s a sister self-discipline inside the mental {and professional} pursuits referred to as arts and humanities.

The opposite level was that possibly the world was attending to a stage when phrases should stop being the usual mode of human communication. That possibly we had been residing on the verge of a post-verbal age within the historical past of the world, when man should come of age and get on to digitalised, codified, and wordless types of communication. 

The worst different to the above state of affairs could be that man, having grown deaf to the inventive, redemptive phrase of poet and prophet – will (in a phrase by the poet Dennis Brutus) blow up this earth in “one incandescent flash”…

And whereas at first was the phrase, and the phrase was with man; if ultimately there was no phrase, and no phrase was with no man – what a silent, wordless world that might be!

.Prof Timothy Wangusa is a poet and novelist.



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