Let’s just get this out of the way… I love capitalism, and it works. I also love this country, and all its history, which has for some reason become a statement to avoid lately. Just thought I’d share that, now back to Harari…The connection between science, empire, and my good friend capitalism, as Harari explains it, is a deeply rooted intertwining that has all sorts of levels. Harari mentions the mindset of a naval officer as compared to a scientist, highlighting that they both accept the shortcomings of their knowledge and seek to acquire more for the purposes of gaining control, whether in a “conquest of knowledge” or a “conquest of territory”(Harari, 284). In short, the empire funds the advancement of science, which is advanced for the greater good of the empire, and capitalism allows for the growth and freedom that keeps the cycle going. The examples I rather enjoyed were the ones about European voyages which were funded by empires for the purposes of mapping out or gaining new territories and with the added bonus of scientific advancement and discovery. What an interesting lens Harari offers us for viewing events like these, which I had never considered in this way before.
One of Harari’s main points which stuck out to me was the idea that our knowledge is incomplete and the need to expand what we know and further our accomplishments, whether they be science or new lands or businesses, or whatever, is a driving force behind science, empire, and capitalism alike. On a similar track to this point, progress is seen by Harari as underlying all three principles and their connection with one another. I very much agree with this because whether you feel you are making “progress” for your empire, for those whom you have conquered, or for your individual self or your cause, progress is a driving force behind the need to expand, to improve, and to invent for a greater good. According to Harari, we make progress (and can have credit) because we can trust that the future is going to get better. Personally, I think that’s just awesome.