Money will buy you knowledge

Harari states that there is quite a significant link between science, empire and capitalism, significant that the technology in science that we have today wouldn’t be here without the political and empirical drive of nations as we know them. The link is quite direct and obvious to me, and not news brought by Harari. Sapiens says that the faith by empirical government wasn’t misguided or blind, it was proved time and time again that investing in science would be well worth it(Harari, P.278) . This promoted the allocation of large sums of government funds to be dedicated to scientific research and continue the proof cycle. Do you ever wonder why we have in history put more funding towards certain fields of science? It isn’t because all science shouldn’t be created equal, it is because of funding. Governments fund certain projects not because it interests them somehow, but because they think it will help them reach some sort of goal to make them more powerful. We studied nuclear energy because we suspected that it would help us make powerful war weapons we could utilize to our benefit and to make us more powerful. Why not child psychology, says Harari? Because child psychology will likely not advance us any further in our conquest for power. What about the space race? A scientific advancement unthinkable to mankind  driven by a political climate of hostility and bread in competition.

Although I didn’t find the first part of the reading to be an original idea or insightful, the part about progress and ignorance did strike me as interesting. Harari goes on to talk about how the scientific revolution wasn’t a revolution of science, it was a revolution of ignorance. Before the scientific revolution we thought we may have known it all. Religion clouded our thought process, and by thinking there was an almighty God that knew it all, we would never be able to know more or equivalent to him. The scientific revolution was a time where we started to look for answers to all of our questions, and the messiahs of the globe didn’t seem to have any of them. By realizing we were ignorant creatures, full of questions without answers we were able to move on and start looking for those answers quantitatively through science and math. If there is a thought that we know everything, or someone does then what is there to be searching for? After accepting our ignorance and how little we truly knew at the time, it was liberating and allowed for further exploration of the natural world. I think Harari’s argument is solid, I think he’s right. There was an explosion of questions that simply didn’t have answers. The people wanted answers. But the recognition of our own ignorance and accepting that there was so much unknown to us allowed us a place to start and a direction in which to point our pondering.