Archives for posts with tag: Giordano Bruno

Most steps ‘forward’ had been made at the expense of those daring to put one foot in front of the other.
Fernao de Magalhaes and Marie Sklodowska Curie had been but two of the examples.

But what kind of ‘moving forward’ is to find yourself shackled en route to a plantation in the ‘Brave New World’?
Or nuked?

That’s the whole point.
How do you balance the urge to explore with the need to survive?

What convinced Fernao de Magalhaes – and his men, that it was a good thing – for them, at least, to climb aboard those primitive ships and attempt to reach the Indies by sailing towards the ‘wrong’ direction?
What made Marie Sklodowska Curie – and other scientists, overcome barriers previously considered insurmountable in their quest for knowledge? Putting themselves, and us, in great danger?

What made Giordano Bruno cling to his belief?

What made him so sure he was doing ‘the right thing’ when he “finally declared that he had nothing to retract and that he did not even know what he was expected to retract.”?

Fast forward to the XXI-st century.
Following in the steps of de Magalhaes, Bruno and Curie, we’ve explored almost all corners of the Earth, peered into the womb of the Universe, named the entire table of Mendeleev, and reached the present state of civilization.
In doing so, we’ve changed the composition of the atmosphere we breathe, polluted the water we drink, exhausted the soil which grows our food and, the worst, have soured whatever mutual understanding ever existed among ourselves.

After some 75 years of relative peace we’ve become more callous than ever.
Judging by what’s being said on TV, shared on social media… and, most importantly, by how we react when our fellow human beings are in danger. Or in need…

We refuse to wear a mask – because it doesn’t offer perfect protection and it has been mandated by the government.
We refuse to give up fossil fuel – because ‘it has not yet been scientifically proven beyond any reasonable doubt that all the global warming has been produced by us’.
We refuse to pay taxes – because they are ‘theft sanctioned by the government.’

All these in the name of ‘defending our God sanctioned liberty’…

We steal much of the help we send to those in need.
We pay those who work for us as little as we can, regardless of the consequences. And we declare, nonchalantly, that ‘greed is good’.
We continue to notice the skin color of those we interact with. And to pass judgement on them starting from this ‘piece of information’.
We continue to consider that women should ‘behave properly’ and ‘mind their own business’.

We allow ‘spin doctors’ into our minds. We welcome them, even. And let them ‘fine tune’ our biases…

How are we going to survive this huge amount of ‘progress’? That which we’ve brought upon our own heads?
When are the ‘spin doctors’ going to realize the Earth is finite? Not flat. Limited!

What are they going to do when the shit they’ve sown into our heads will finally hit the fan?
Where are they going to hide?

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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
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Science is, above all, a state of mind.
One that posits the world can be understood, one fact at a time.
Science also says that The (complete) Truth will never be fully acquired, only people tend to forget that part.

Some history, first.
Science, as an attitude, had appeared on the shores of the Medieval Mediterranean Sea. The Arabs had just discovered Ancient Greek writings about the ‘natural order of things’ while the Catholics were trying to figure out what God had in mind for the future of the mankind.

We have seen that the laws of nature depend on other laws of nature, which ultimately depend on God’s will.

Put all these together – the wish to understand God’s will, the belief that God’s will is expressed through the natural order of things and the systematic observation of nature, and, Eureka, you have ‘science’.

Which attitude had made Europe what it is today. Both the good and the bad of it.

Europeans have initiated the orderly study of everything around them.
As I said before, the initial intent wasn’t any technological improvement. Technicians and scientists were two completely different breed of people. As in ‘tinkerers’ and ‘philosophers’. Tinkering was sometimes confused with witchcraft while ‘philosophy’ was almost synonym with theology.
Well, both ‘professions’ could lead those to practiced them to a ‘funeral pyre’… whenever either of them ‘trespassed’… Many of those who are able to read are familiar with what ultimately happened to Giordano Bruno but very few of us know the fact that the ‘un-certified healers’ were seen with ‘suspicion’.

“Questioned whether she heals sick persons, answered yes Sir.
Questioned with what kind of medicines, answered by picking betony up and washing it like salad and crushing it into a mortar to get its juice and to give it to her patients for 3, 4 and 5 days, telling them that the more they drunk it, the better it was.
With these words the healer Gostanza da Libbiano, tried for witchcraft in 1594,….”
“The difference between them (healers) and physicians was the specific kind of tasks assigned to doctors: physicians, who rarely touched impurities and who regularly graduated from the university, were believed to be able to make the pain cease, whereas the healer, due to the fact that she actually touched her patients, was able both to make pain cease and to cause it”

Donatella Lippi, Witchcraft, Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe, 2012

On the face of it, ‘science’ was, and continues to be, declared to depend exclusively on facts. Regardless of those facts being the expression of God’s will or, ultimately, of a serendipitous nature.
In fact, science is about what we, ‘scientists’, have been taught to accept as facts by our teachers and peers.

Another interesting thing.
When most scientists were still believing in God, their natural arrogance was kept in check by their belief that there was somebody who knew more than them. He.
As soon as God was declared dead, all hell broke loose.

‘Practical’ sciences continue to be kept in check by … well… practice! For any engineer, biologist, chemist, physician and all other related scientists and practitioners of science  it is obvious that Karl Popper and Werner Heisenberg were, and continue to be, right. No matter how much we will ever learn, we’ll never be able to know everything. Hence, we should proceed with utmost care.
Those who practice ‘secondary degree’ sciences – sci-Po being the most obvious example, share the belief that the world can be learned but are enjoying a far longer ‘leash’. Simply because the consequences of their actions come a lot later than those experienced by the ‘practical sciences’ practitioners. Add the fact that the ‘effects’ are harder  pinpoint to one specific cause/action…
And since God has become, at most, a personal matter… he no longer exerts the taming influence it used to…
Science has become independent. It is practiced for/in its own right, not as the only available manner of ‘divining’ God’s Will.
In fact, we use science as a manner to design our future. Independently. As each of us see fit and as allowed by those around us.
Which is good. Attempting to learn before proceeding is commendable, of course.
But proceeding with the unshakeable belief that we already know everything about what lies ahead of us is… foolish. Even more so when we speed up…  with total disregard about what other people, our colleagues/peers/fellow human beings, have to say and/or feel about the whole thing. Because we momentarily can.

 

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