Rational Optimism

What do we learn through science and reason? Facts, technological advance, better quality of life, the termination of fear and mystery etc. What do we learn through the arts and humanities? We learn about the human condition. Both are necessary to wholesome life.

Knowledge, specifically knowledge in action, has provided us with the civilization we have today. The incremental gains of understanding through reason, debate, curiosity, and humility has given us so much which we take for granted. There was a time only a few hundred years ago when 90% of the population was in abject poverty, there was no electricity to keep us warm, no vehicles to allow us to travel, no satellites which allow us to communicate, no internet to explore culture and knowledge, no sewage system, no hospitals, no sporting venues, no television, there was simply us. Now, we have all these things, we have more leisure time, we have more time to spend with family and friends, in the span of history we are living in relative heaven.

That’s not to say we are finished, far from it, but it is to say we are not on the decline, not in the slightest. There is a need for the spread of rational optimism in our culture, especially the universities. The other day, as my professor stood in the architectural masterpiece, warmed by the heating system, illuminated by the electricity, zipping through slides on the projector, he told us that technology always seems to end up as the enemy and reason always seems to turn out unreasonable… The irony is notable.

There are people who have saved millions of lives using the scientific method and nobody knows their names. I’m hoping I can study these people and share their stories with you. For the sake of everybody we ought to know why we have the luxuries we have, lest we slip back into ignorance.

Hustle it up!

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