Exponential Progress

Looking at the relationship between science, empire and capitalism described in Harari’s text, it seems to me that he brings them all together with Francis Bacon’s saying, “knowledge is power.” As science came along, more people had access to certain instruments or technologies. When progress was accepted, more people began to develop technologies, people who were uneducated but maybe were experienced in a certain trade realized there was opportunity and took advantage. These technologies quickly gave the upper hand to the civilization they were being developed in, which happened to be mostly the European empire. From here, people realized that if they wanted to start researching or developing in an area unexplored (be it geographical or idealogical) they just had to find the right investor, “most scientific studies are funded because someone believes they can help attain some political, economic or religious goal,” (Harari 272). This idea that anything was possible with the right subsidies and the idea that “knowledge is power” partially kicked off the capitalistic reign of the European empire. Looking at Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s encounter with a local native, it became clear that the “empire” would do anything necessary to gain political and fiscal power. The idea that this native villager was concerned the moon was going to be taken over and push out their spirits demonstrated just how driven everyone was to be in control.

I think Harari had a great point when talking about “progress.” Without the belief in progress, everything stays as it is. That is not necessarily a bad thing but progressing or pushing through boundaries is what drives most people today. This is not limited to science and technology either. I would be interested to here how Harari would back up the claim that people thought the world was totally stagnant or deteriorating.

One thought on “Exponential Progress”

  1. I don’t think you have to believe in progress for it to happen, it will take place no matter what. Progress has been happening since the beginning of time and will continue in some form or another till the world hits a tipping point. I would consider evolution as natural progress. There are many different types of progress that occurs in the world. It’s up to us to determine when the progress turns into societal germ.

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