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June 21, 2012

The Human Tolerance for Evil

Modern humans have acquired an enormous amount of reliable information since Empirical Science began roughly five centuries ago with the brilliant work of two men: Galileo in Italy and Isaac Newton in England. However, what we don’t know is what the course of human history might have been had neither one survived the hazards of childhood. In other words, was science inevitable?

The remarkable acceleration of learning that followed is a matter of record; although opinions on the precise chronological boundaries of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution that followed may differ considerably, what can be appreciated is the accelerating rate at which new technologies have impacted our species and its planetary environment. Deep water navigation, more efficient weaponry, increased means of production, and gains in knowledge by the various physical and biological sciences have led to population growth, greater life expectancy, and an abundance of food and consumer goods. Unfortunately, what hasn't changed is an enduring human tendency: that of the more fortunate to use whatever means are available to exploit their less fortunate fellows

Thus the benefits of science and technology have been unevenly distributed from the outset. From our current vantage point, a convenient starting place for recognition of that situation and the discontent it produces may be early Nineteenth Century London which brought together two well known people of European heritage who chronicled the evils of inequality and whose writings can be studied: Karl Marx and Charles Dickens.

Neither man was a paragon in his personal life, but both were obsessed by injustice and railed against it. Ironically, Victorian London, where they wrote was also the capital of the first truly global empire, the breakup of which would generate a two stage "World War," the aftermath of which still divides the planet, both politically and ideologically.

Indeed, the human paradox, which has become more pressing with each passing year, was eloquently stated in a question asked by an unfortunate victim who died earlier this week.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 21, 2012 04:19 PM