The President's Page: Science in the age of aquarius


  • Frank Press


Welcome to the age of Aquarius—an era of consciousness, idealism, good will, compassion, sensitivity, self expression, and—in the words of the song from Hair—harmony and understanding. Goodbye to the Piscean age, in which we learned to enjoy materialism too much, neglected the soul, and ended up mechanized, computerized, sanitized—yet polluted, brutalized, alienated, and lonely.

Now harmony and understanding are long overdue. Doing one's own thing in the context of communal togetherness is a good substitute for alienation. Unfortunately, the age of Aquarius also manifests a heavy dose of irrationality and anti-intellectualism. Here I do not allude to the extremist avatars of the new era who threaten to bomb university computing centers and corporate headquarters. The universal opprobrium that has been thrown at these misfits is evidence that they will never be a force in this country. I am more concerned with the view held by humanists, artists, environmentalists, and even some scientists that associates many of the negative aspects of society with scientific and technological progress.