a. The willingness to admit ignorance. Modern science is based on the Latin injunctioin ignoramus - 'we do not know'. It assumes that we don't know everything. Even more critically, it accepts that the things we think we know could be proven wrong as we gain more knowledge. No concept, idea or theory is sacred and beyond challenge.
b. The centrality of observation and mathematics. Having admitted ignorance, modern science aims to obtain new knowledge. It does so by gathering observations and then using mathematical tools to connect these observations into comprehensive theories.
c. The acquisition of new powers. Modern science is not content with creating theories. It uses these theories in order to acquire new powers, and in particular to develop new technologies.
The Scientific Revolution has not been a revolution of knowledge. It has been above all a revolution of ignorance. The great discovery that launched the Scientific Revolution was the discovery that humans do not know the answers to their most important questions.
(He goes on to discuss how the premodern religious traditions of the world all assert that we already knew everything that we needed to know, and tamped down inquiries.)
-p250-251 in Sapiens
A Brit named Cooke explored the Pacific islands three times and on his third lap he was killed by natives on a Hawaiian island. I think that was in 1799. He was trying to kidnap the king, who was clueless. Empire builders like to start by kidnapping the king. I just finished reading Sapiens by Harari and he speaks of the progress of empires around the world. The Aztecs and then the Incas were enslaved by small bands of Europeans who landed and said "We come in peace. Take us to your ruler." They were taken to the rulers and promptly captured them, stole their wealth and enslaved their people. If we are to take any lessons from this, it might be to immediately slaughter any godlike strangers that show up asking for our leaders.
than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods
who don't know what they want?
--Harari in Sapiens, the very last sentence
by John O'Donohue
Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.
In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.
That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.
That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.
When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.
That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.
When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.
When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.
When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.
As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.
And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The color and stillness
Of a found word.
-- from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, by John O'Donohue
I've come to a bit of am impasse with my medical practice, writings, even studies. I'm losing interest. It seems so fruitless. I learn all this stuff and then nobody cares what I have to teach them. If they want it they think it should be free like what they get from wikipedia. Dr Google will be the death of me.
The more I read and study I am affronted by the tendency of humans to believe. We want to believe. We look for excuses to believe. It saves us a whole lot of trouble just to believe in something, that way we can ignore all evidence to the contrary and enshrine every tidbit that supports our belief, and voila, the world is meaningful and live is worth living. Just because we were believers.
Atheists and agnostics really have a hard row to how. How do you create meaning in life, how do you form a community or tribe, without a belief-based grouping? Can there be such a thing? I have seen skepticism elevated to dogma. Anything can be dogma. If you think you are not dogmatic, look again. Everyone is a hypocrite.
--Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad in The Guru Papers; Masks of Authoritarian Power, 1993, p229.
and whatever may be our wishes,
or the dictates of our passion,
they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
The great lesson
is that the sacred is in the ordinary,
that it is to be found in one's daily life,
in one's neighbors, friends, and family,
in one's backyard.
~ Abraham Maslow
Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
— Rumi, “Bewilderment”