As a core class last year, I took an architecture class that I hated. The only information I retained other than the staggering cost of all architecture supplies was the concept of feedback loops. Harari would argue that science, empire and capitalism make up large segments of humanities largest reinforcing feedback loops. This loop is defined by systemsthinking.org as, “one in which an action produces a result which influences more of the same action thus resulting in growth or decline.” Harari claimed that the history of the worldwide economy can be defined by one word: growth. This then he gives many, many, many examples of how empires driven by capitalism encourage scientific discovery, and how in turn our scientific discoveries have led to a new faith in science. The best example being the transition from people turning to Priests to scientists to solve the big questions in life. And eventually science turning to a government with a religious preference to fund its research.
Harari argues that humanity began to believe in progress when the acceptance of collective ignorance and faith in science as a problem solver were, “Married together.” One major point he brings up is that loaning money and a market for investment became prominent when people started to believe that the future would probably be better than the present. I buy the authors argument that our modern obsession with progress has served to further intertwine the linkage of all our key vocab words. Colonial Britain didn’t send scientists to document everything they discovered in India out of pure scientific curiosity. They spent money to eventually make money based on the knowledge they gained. Progress in a strict capitalists’ eyes would be a ‘knowledge is power’ argument that if the knowledge cannot be used – in this case to make money—then it isn’t ‘truth’ worth knowing.