Harari claims that science, empire and capitalism are linked because of the want or need for humans to explore and conquer. These three variables helped build on each other in order to achieve the end goal- of conquering. Science is funded by politicians and policy makers in order to support or refute claims made in their campaigns. In exploration campaigns, the government has the ability to pay different scientists. Scientific discovery is made, sometimes on accident, based on this funding. A prime example of this is depicted by Harari’s explanation of how scurvy was “cured”. It started with the question of how far away the sun actually was. It was hypothesized that simple trigonometry could aid in defining this distance, and expeditions were sent to different corners of the world in 1769. The Royal Society decided to send one of their astronomers to Tahiti, and then asked themselves why spend the money on just one person, and ended up sending a whole team of scientists to the islands. One of the accidental scientific discoveries of this expedition was medical, when Captain James Cook took it upon himself to listen to a scientific claim about the benefits of eating citrus fruit and vegetables on expeditions like this, and brought some along this trip, and didn’t lose a single sailor. A more recent example of this link and the want to conquer was the invention of the first atomic bomb.
I was intrigued by Harari’s argument that human progress and the Scientific Revolution only happened when humans were able to recognize that they were ignorant in some ways of the world. I think everyone in this class holds bias to this-because we are college students with (hopefully) a thirst for knowledge. It took the change of power, from god-anointed kings to elected individuals- from funding priests to scientists- from being content with not knowing to conquering new lands and racing to the moon, to get where we are. Harari didn’t clarify what came first, probably because these changes somehow started to occur at the same time and inevitably fed off and grew from one another. It is interesting to look at today’s society through this lens of these linked variables. To what extent could and should these things be linked?