Cogito et scio invicem . . .









Science for Beginners: The Why of Science

                                                            by   Marilynn Stark


Page Contents:


Essence of Thinking































































































































































     The purpose of Science for the Knowing cannot be duly fulfilled without a careful essay which will expound for those whose knowledge of science, and perhaps dedication to science as a discipline, are being formed; there are also those for whom science is not yet established in the mind as a worthwhile and useful application of intelligence and  conviction of the intelligent mind.  In the true spirit of teaching this essay will render an abstract depiction of the power and place of science to qualify itself as a useful and enlightening pastime or occupation for any who has a proclivity for scientific thinking.  There are those who might even have an untapped potential to develop a new world view from the scientific frame of reference, and of which potential for a new world view there is as of yet unawareness.  Certainly, a scientifically disposed and informed mind can develop to the point of awareness wherein an entire world view is realized through the aegis of science.

    Even though this essay may be more fundamental in its purview, still it might prove to be the most challenging one for this author; the reality and truth of science as an intelligent facility and field of thinking for me predates my memory as to its beginnings.  However, the advanced scientific mind can also become refreshed if anchored to the need to teach; indeed, the need to teach is one such connecting point which may inspire the  explication of some broader points in the hopes that more people will arrive in the scientific arena, no matter how informal or formal the seat of involvement as a result of that arrival.  

     Such a quote in my memory as, "Condensation," from third grade brings to mind how the importance of science is early brought home in the education of the school children in this country.  That single word was used to describe the frost on the window pane of the classroom one day when the teacher began the day by asking the class what the nature of the frost on the window might be, and how did it get there?  The answer of condensation surprised many in the class, since condensation is typically thought to be water in its liquid state as opposed to its frozen state.  Another scientific thought from the same teacher, who as a classroom teacher was not a teacher of science as a specialty, comes to mind: "Evaporation is a cooling process."  This statement may be rote for some at first.  That heat is expended in order for evaporation to occur, and which constitutes a cooling process for the body or matter whose heat is expended, is the why of the lesson.  This why may go over the head of one who first hears of it, and then one day the statement comes into the light of truth.  Learning science is cumulative, so that once the intellect catches on to the way to reason in science, truths become more apparent more immediately.  The teacher who gave such ten minute lessons was aware in the abstract of the nature of scientific knowledge, and how to think scientifically was the actual message whose seed she was skillfully planting in her young students' minds.  In that same classroom in my desk I kept a transparent plastic case of iron filings and a round magnet which I used voluntarily to demonstrate to my fellow students the ordering of the iron filings in the magnetic field of the magnet, and thus the magnetic properties of the metal iron.  The spirit of scientific empiricism was residing already in my mind, and by demonstrating a magnetic field to others I was honoring the classroom for the scientific mind of the teacher and her will to teach science.            

     This brief depiction of a third grade classroom further sets forth the idea that the mind for science is contagious.  A scientifically endowed mind, no matter the level of knowledge retained in that mind, bears oftentimes a practical purport for putting the knowledge to use, certainly.  The scientifically inclined mind, however, also seeks at times a validation of the reality which has been discovered and conceptually discerned through the scientific venue.  Such validation of a truth of objective science may tend to be found by sharing observations and suppositions with others; practical results of applying a concept scientifically to a given problem in everyday life, nonetheless, is an even more cogent asseveration of a supposition of scientific truth.

     Such tendency to place scientific observations and hypotheses in a communal forum in everyday experience brings up the point that not all of science is embodied in the professional arena, even though we think of science as having been developed historically as a professionally-born sector of knowledge whose practical applications then bring it steadily home to the wider society.  Rather, the fundamentals of science and many of the contributions of its earlier beginnings are used in the reasoning mind of the average person who does not hold a degree in science, who is not part of a research team which practices at the higher level of scientific undertaking.  For instance, it is now common knowledge that oxygen in the air supports the animals which breathe.  However, it was as late as 1772 when Joseph Priestley unlocked this secret of nature when he performed an experiment as follows:  Priestley placed a mouse in a bell jar of air, and found that the mouse collapsed.  He then placed a mouse in a bell jar containing a plant, as well, and the mouse thrived.  Priestley had contributed to the idea that there is some part of the air, termed "dephlogisticated air,"  which supports  the breath of animals;  from an earlier experiment he had observed empirically that dephlogisticated air also supports combustion.  He is credited to have been the first scientist to publish a discovery of oxygen. Lavoisier thereafter coined the word 'oxygen', which literally means 'that which engenders acid'.  (The Greek roots of the word oxygen are: oxys = acid and geinomai = to engender.  When oxygen was discovered it was believed that all acids contained oxygen.)  What is now common knowledge in the understanding scientifically of the air we breathe was at the time of Priestley revolutionary, and for his discoveries Priestley was to suffer rebuke.  (See:  phlogiston)

     Think of this: there was a time when the cause of an infection was an unknown.  In the  seventeenth century a Dutch scientist, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, discovered bacteria using a simple microscope which could magnify up to two hundred times.  With the advent of the microscope the mystery of life itself had arrived at the empirical view of man.  Finally, then, biology and chemistry subsequently were to unravel more of the nature of life: living beings of the four kingdoms of Animalia, Plantae, Fungae and Protista of the eukaryotes, and of the kingdoms Monera (Eubacteria) and Archaea of the prokaryotes were carefully over time classified.  Prokaryotes are marked by the residence of DNA more loosely organized than that of the eukaryote, since the prokaryotic DNA exists simply as a loop within the cell-at-large; the DNA of eukaryotes is structured within a nucleus and is under the governance of the nuclear envelope, the membrane which surrounds the nucleus.  Most prokaryotes are bacteria, and there is a theory that the first nucleus in the sense of time as time is viewed by evolutionary tracking in living cells was to have been constitutionally a bacterium.  This means that eukaryotes owe their nuclei, and even other membrane-bound organelles, incidentally, to cells that predate the presence of an intact or individuated nucleus.  In earlier biological understanding Archaebacteria  were thought to be the first bacteria, or the ancient bacteria from Greek 'archae' for ancient.


Portrait of  Leeuwenhoek

     Thus, the knowledge of science of microorganisms began with the remarkable empirical powers of van Leeuwenhoek, who did not have a higher education, and outdid others of his era who used compound microscopes as opposed to his own single-lens apparatus.  When van Leeuwenhoek applied his abilities to grind lenses and optimize lighting to his research he became the first to  view and describe bacteria and other single-celled organisms.  Even the rare beginnings of science can be thus traced to such people as van Leeuwenhoek, whose interest in science was courted on an informal basis -- van Leeuwenhoek was a tradesman.  However, when scientific discoveries are great enough, those discoveries have the uncanny power to outstep sometimes the ruling thinking of the day which might be solidified into a dogmatic acceptance, as was the case with van Leeuwenhoek.  This facet of science to make an astounding statement of truth which outdoes all existing understanding is exactly what makes science such an all-absorbing and exciting activity for everyone, regardless of the question of the formal education acquired by the one who steps into the walk of a scientific discoverer.

   The foregoing sketch shows how the science of biology, which lends the gift of the understanding of life itself, was to grow through the contributions of a man uneducated in the classical sense of education, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, who is called now the Father of Microbiology.  Other scientific discoverers of his century, such as Lavoisier and Priestley, suffered the extreme of political resistance to their breakthroughs in scientific knowledge.  Similarly,  in this contemporaneous age of science and technology there resides in many the fear of the unknown as regards the growth of technology and the advancements of science.  The direction of mankind is being grossly influenced by the power of scientific man, and the home of Mother Nature is becoming less and less visible as more and more development of our civilization claims the wilds, cuts down the forests and the rainforests, invades natural reserves in whatever manner, mines the natural resources, sends industrial pollution hence to the atmosphere, to the streams, rivers and oceans, paves the suburbs, and sends vehicular traffic across newly formed domains on land, by sea, by air, and even past the atmosphere.  The rise of the daily and now household use of computers is even shrinking the world to the vast capabilities of cyberspace, which capabilities effortlessly transcend the tethers of time and space for the growth of the global market and the exchange of information, ideas and culture of all kinds.  The place of major cities throughout the world to bring about and support a global marketplace is thus being supplanted by the emerging power of personal computers to both communicate and conduct commerce worldwide, and this prospect is daily growing.  The culture of science and its concomitant technological complements are understandably overwhelming to some individuals, who feel fearful of the possible threats to our lives, indeed, to our very preservation and  longevity as a civilization.  It is those whose minds are not truly enlightened by science who fear its more complete expression to the greatest extent.  How to embrace the understandable fears of those who do not grasp the place of science as it relates to the destiny of mankind is a tall order; even those who practice and lead in science, and those who may be active in imparting a profound influence in the political sphere of the nation through the knowledge and practicum of science, do not have all of the answers as to where we are going as a scientific community, and as an entire civilization being affected by science at the level of daily life. How we do things has been changed by the seemingly omnipresent power of science in this era, when the method of survival is more removed from the need to think of surviving at all in most developed countries.  Since the agrarian days have been replaced with the power of industrialization and its mechanical devices, the typical man has been separated from the ground, from agriculture and animal husbandry, allotting more time to him for the very thinking which spawns even greater development of our advanced civilization; indeed, the very longevity itself of the human being is declared to have been lengthened by the advances of medicine in conquering bacterial diseases, and in evolving into the capabilities of rectifying as to structure in the human body through surgical interventions once not even imaginable.  World travellers can now span the oceans, skip over to other continents and nations of people, giving a global tourist trade and potentially a political expression and exchange. Such political globetrotting becomes possibly as profound as opening up a door to business, or the sharing of art, music and language, in addition to science and technology.  The airplane has been utilized also to shrink the meaning of access to any battleground, so that the new, modern era war  includes as well the sky; indeed, the advent of the potential for  nuclear warring missiles, and the cold war politics which have accompanied nuclear power, have challenged the average thinking person besides the world leaders and governmental bodies of nations throughout the world. 

     We owe this all to science, this complex world with its immediacy of action and its expedited communication capabilities, the global village, indeed.  There are those who remain stymied in daily life with minds which are characterized as problematic when it comes to their harmonious acceptance of the changes which hover over them and threaten them, as they feel helpless to the gigantic strides of the progression of science to shape even more diffusely the lives of the citizens everywhere.  So hopeless they are, that they may not even wish for a higher education, so as to countenance their fears and haunting concerns; they may reject any value for education as largely irrelevant in the light of the damages and threats they see in the scientifically progressive day about them.  As we began with an enlightenment in the early days of discoveries as to the nature of life, when natural science thus unfolded against a backdrop of typical ignorance, still the knowledge thus gained over centuries has not quelled the fears and concerns of those who do not accept science as the ultimate determining feature of human existence.  Verily, the will to self-determination for the individual remains within the individual despite the scientifically-born techno-structure, as obvious and as sprawling and as useful as is the techno-structure to the entire populace about us.  There are those who refuse medical care on philosophical and religious grounds unbelievable to others.  There are those who fear that the drastic changes in military science will bring about tribulations for all of mankind which will dwarf the level of war we have ever seen on the planet.  Yet, with all such darkness which can indeed envelop the mind of any person in this day of scientific knowledge and know-how, and with all of the uncertainty which resides in that darkness of mind, still, is it not better to know?  Is it not better to know something of science and to share in the mind pool of general knowledge of how things work, and which question of how is inevitably preceded and accompanied by why?  This is the very crux of  science, and the question will always remain as predominant in the aware and active mind of an individual observer: why?  From the question of why as to an event or a facet of reality will come eventually the method for determining, describing and then perhaps using the knowledge gained: what is will be found, at least at some level or layer of reality in a certain given particulate sense.


          Plato and Aristotle from Raphael's The School of Athens

Philosophical Roots of Science

     The saga of man is told throughout the annals of history: that answers turn into questions.  In most civilizations each era of knowledge of the world about us becomes cyclically ascendant followed by obsolete when new ideas and attachments to greater truths and acceptances of doctrines and dogmas take over for varying reasons.  Since survival and better living depend upon understanding something of the forces and events of nature, however, the birth of natural science as we think of it especially in the proximity of time well past the ancient science of the Greeks should lend a perspective to the questions, doubts and fears which we of today might court in the  concern for the direction of man as a consumer now of natural resources on a large scale; such consumption of the earth's natural resource endowment drives and maintains the scientifically spawned techno-structure we currently enjoy at the apex of development by nation.  That same species, Homo sapiens sapiens, has now seen the world for what it is at the molecular level through the technology of advanced science which began with the invention of the microscope.  The atomic nature of matter has also dominated the intellect of man as a question from the time of the ancient Greeks, such as Democritus, who lived from 460 B.C. to 370,  However, the direction of scientific thought despite any influence of the ancients forward in time through the medieval and into the Middle Ages had been greatly influenced by theological conceptual supremacy, such that man was to look for answers not so much from an empirical or methodological basis or the combination of the two, as we now know science; rather, man was to seek an acceptance of all things as according to the grace of God.  Man's intellectual curiosity was thereby shunted to the computational aspects of such observed phenomena as how the planets work.  The way to think was subsumed under the absolute power of an all-knowing God, and to whom man could only refer as omniscient, while man himself was relegated to defer all questions as essentially theological in nature, not as epistemological, ontological or empirical.  

     The Scientific Revolution in Europe of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries and the Enlightenment in Europe of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of our roots historically were greatly influenced by natural philosophy.  Man had to know what made the planets work, and what is the nature of substance, motion, light and color, for example.  However, there had to be a rearrangement of how to reason in order for the European culture to formulate a working body of scientific answers which would be consistent and verifiable.  Results of such profound philosophers as Bacon (1561-1626) and Descartes (1596-1650) upon the scientific mind of man were so as to free him to construct a method and to gain its validation as outside the theological preceptive constraints of Christian doctrine; Christianity was to dominate mankind, however, until the end of the Scientific Revolution.  

     Nowadays, we hold a world view which is as simple as common sense to us.  Our world view is derived from the abstract into the particular, and we owe it to the results of the Renaissance, which grew out of the Middle Ages past the end of the Greek and Roman eras; to the Reformation of the 16th century when the settlement of the individual with God became more personal than that which was to be decreed upon by a higher authority of religious writ; and to the Scientific Revolution, wherein an experimental method was developed so as to prove the abstract in the practical.  Things have progressed and changed drastically with the evolution of science since the end of the Scientific Revolution at the 17th century, so that the human intellect may no longer marvel now at the question of 'what is' in the natural surround; rather, he may wish to take it into his techno-mechanical hand and use it for his individual purpose, even if the ecology of nature is thereby upset and thrown out of holistic balance.  Mankind's most advanced mastery of the material substance of the earth today was implemented originally on the behalf of survival, and which was also a sister concept of the fundamental question metaphysically of inquiry as to the nature of reality, the essential nature of things.  Due to the result of that mastery in the physical environs of life, coupled with advanced medical science in this contemporary day, we may thrive on towards the pleasant things of life in a knowing and more carefree way, as we can attest such thriving is the typical condition of those of the developed societies of people in this day who prosper.  Such mastery of the physical environment modifies greatly the necessity for figuring out the essence of being.  Yet, that driving question of the ancients, and of those inquirers of the last few centuries starting in the European movement towards Enlightenment in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds, concerns rather the metaphysical or highly speculative, abstract nature of matter, the celestial sphere above, and how knowing more of these things might unravel how life can be better understood and lived as citizens of nature, as sheer inhabitants of the environment about.    

     Various philosophical schools of thought have been born and have lived out their respective heritages with their followers believing in the tenets of their particular truths.  Then some major thinker will challenge the day of a given philosophical school, and its meaning will no longer prevail as valid; instead, it will die away to a new system of belief, or, perhaps there will be a modification in the direction of more progressive thinking based upon what had been purported in the best case for actual truth of what is.  Plato and his prominent student Aristotle, for instance, disagreed on the point of ultimate reality.  Plato extolled mathematics as that which represents the ultimate reality which corresponds to ideas or eternal forms whose abstraction can be approached through reason.  Aristotle believed that experience itself is implemental in discerning ultimate reality, that the empirical validity of ultimate reality could be proven and found through defining the matter as a potential and the form as a reality.  This cogent difference between the two ancient philosophers laid the foundation for the profound work of Aristotle in turning to nature for answers as to reality.  Aristotle set about the classification of animals accordingly, and which work is seminal to the birth of all science as from the scientific method which Aristotle set forth so as to guide the birth of knowledge in an empirical science, biology.  Thus, as in this example of Aristotle, the most remarkable progeny of philosophy is science itself, for scientific facts once proven indeed contribute to a growing body of knowledge which is more staid and verifiable than what is espoused by a school of philosophy.  Questions of the movements of the planets, the sun and the moon, questions of the nature of matter and its comprise and its changes, questions about air, water, and fire, what might be the most essential elements in nature, mathematical discoveries which taught the importance of measuring, quantifying and calculating: all of these changes in the intellectual field of endeavor ultimately brought the leading conceptual field once occupied predominantly by the  theologians and philosophers in our Western heritage of faith and reason into the quest rather for scientific analysis, truth and discoveries, if not for laws of science.  Indeed, science undergoes major changes in the knowledge it conveys at the particulate level in its various branches as it develops cumulatively.  The higher levels of science which speak to certain leading questions in entire conceptual fields are at times implemental in bringing about drastic changes within their fields, even revolutionary ones which may affect socio-political man in a practical sense; oftentimes there is an inter-feeding of philosophical concepts and science which affect one another progressively, and philosophical questions can become a rudder to the assurance of virtue in the pursuit of knowledge through the trenchant tool that is science.  

     The place of religious doctrine to become dogma opposed to changes in scientific thinking of a pioneering kind is a well-known pattern in history.  One of the most prominent examples of such differences between church and science concerns the case of the Roman Catholic Church against Galileo for his support of Copernicus; Copernicus purported the heliocentric theory of the universe, and which went against the Aristotelian idea that the Earth is the center of the universe.  For this freedom of thinking in the scientific realm was Galileo severely rebuked by the Roman Catholic Church, and he lived out his days under house arrest imposed upon him by writ of the Holy Inquisition which opposed and censored his scientific theory.    

     There is such great respect held for many of the ancient philosophers who led in their times, and whose teachings held prominence across the span of centuries, also.  In fact, the most prominent example of such a philosopher, Aristotle, who has been discussed previously, wherein it was shown that he delved into empirical science in a way unique in his times; by probing the nature of objective reality and how the mind perceives reality from a philosopher's inquiry did he actually begin a new tradition of empirical method in science.  His work as a biologist was of prime importance for many centuries to come, which may be an astonishing fact of history -- over 2300 years ago Aristotle made a profound contribution to biology when he founded biological thinking in an abstract sense; his biological writing provided a systematics for understanding and classifying animals.  His actual observations in biology are of a lesser interest than the fact that his philosophical approach to biological science was to shape the progression of biological science as we now know biology.   Aristotle had even discerned that there exists in  the different kinds of animals a progressive change, and which sense of their actual evolution he had derived from fitting them logically into a hierarchy.  Indeed, the overall philosophy of Aristotle was greatly affected then again by his biological explorations and his contemplations within the field of biology.  

     Through the most eminent example of the great Aristotle can we discern that science and philosophy work intricately together in the inquisitive mind of an acting scientist.  How many times I heard the deeper reflections of scientists which waxed philosophical as they pondered their recent results, probing or questions of interest.  Particularly in the medical science field guidance is sought for a collective conscience whose humanistic roots and moral imperative may invite a philosophical demeanor and plan of action for the future -- whether that future is for an individual or for all of mankind.  To see a patient receive the inner light of a compassionate physician who ministers as from a viewpoint of keen conscientious objective is a great and enlightening moment for any witness, since that patient can envision therewith the light of an alleviation, perhaps even cure, when the heart of a healer rights the treatment with the aid of a deeper philosophical insight, an expression of faith.     

     It is noteworthy that the ancient philosophers were able to defend the freedom of thinking that allowed scientists centuries later to explore the nature of scientific truth which was yet antithetical to ruling theological precepts.  Fundamentally, the concept of God embraces an absolute, whether that absolute is conceived of as in power or in the sheer nature of things.  When the human intellect is opened up to an independent inquiry as to the nature of reality, that inquiry will lead eventually to the need to  universalize.  This approach to the universal from the metaphysical inquiry after what is real, 'what is,' may become an analysis which neighbors upon the question of that which is conceived of as universal in the like sense of the universal nature of God.  In this way mankind strives forth to combine the objective scientific inquiry with the realm of the subjectively-born knowledge of faith, and that faith may come under the category of theological precept which has a source in scriptures which are worshipped and prayed over; it may also be a more highly philosophical one.  When reason and faith thus work synergistically to give forth a new empirical realization in the objective scientific endeavor, the individual scientist may have leaped into a new field of knowledge, a new way of looking at reality.  However, if the results of such scientific undertaking are too expansive for the existing tenets of faith which are popularized in the context of a socio-political entity such as a given church with a well-established doctrine, then a conflict will be likely to result.  

     This is the day of nuclear power.  Nuclear power can be unleashed in the form of the explosion of nuclear weapons, and can thus destroy astronomically on the planet.  Such terrible nuclear power as integrated into the ability of man to settle potential conflicts which grow to the size of war hovers over the idea of world peace.  Moreover, the use of nuclear energy as a fuel source threatens our ecological health and balance; the radioactive decay of the waste products of nuclear power plants may not be expired for millennia to come.  The ongoing political debate over the use and feasibility of nuclear power within the practical vision of mankind is perhaps the leading contemporaneous version of the conflicts which centuries ago would periodically rule out particular scientific advances in thinking, since the religious mind of man relied upon the invisible power of faith and God to preserve that which He had created.  How reason can solve that which has leaped beyond a faith which is more essentially subservient to the theological frame of reference for the none less than awesome intellect of man as a species is that perplexed mind of man now held to the discussion here.  

     In terms more elementary and at the level relevant to those who seek a greater involvement in science a discussion of the political and ideological underpinnings of the direction of science now in its more advanced state will hopefully allow a clearer formulation of the virtue of science; for such virtue must still exist in science, as its original purport was never indeed to destroy at the level today possible since the birth of nuclear physics; and with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, which has posed the problem of great pollutions of our ecosphere, are we even more straddled between faith and reason as a culture.  Many whose interests in science are repelled from pursuing it more totally should have to reflect upon the moral questions which have always bothered the conscience of man in regards to the progression of science in one form or another, and which are ultimately attached to the power of the birth of new knowledge and the potential censorship of such new knowledge in the scientific arena.  Hopefully, the minds of those whose scientific acumen should be developed more completely would opt to do so, if persuaded that the nature of science has not truly changed, and can be applied rather to today's new challenges.  Nevertheless, the results of applying the scientific method in scientific research in the latest era of science has changed drastically the venue of science in our everyday world.  The very place of science to commandingly occupy our everyday lives and shape our destinies as individuals should not deter the prepared intellect from developing a solid knowledge base of scientific principles, from becoming a knowing scientist, nor should the place of science deter the collective intellect of cultures and nations together, since metaphorically speaking, Pandora's box has been opened.  No longer an abstract pastime of an elite few, science of today is as much a household mental occupation as compared to the days of the ancients, and of the individuals and even societies of men who stood up for free thinking in Europe three and four centuries ago.  Even the revolution which gave birth to our nation came from the cradle of the growing philosophical and scientific enterprises of the Enlightenment of European thinkers, who set about the task of replacing religious doctrine with empirical rationalism.  As previously stated, Plato had believed that all of the natural world could be understood through the mathematical process of reasoning; however, Aristotle, the student of Plato, differed, and turned science into an empirical enterprise which should follow a method of investigation, the selfsame method which is used today: 

  •  define the inquiry
  •  review existing work on that inquiry
  •  draw up new answers and descriptions which give a progression in the  truth on the subject of inquiry

     In this methodological approach to scientific investigation which actually came out of Aristotle's thriving academe, the Lyceum, scientific research had gained the tradition of growing progressively as based upon what had formerly been accepted.  Just as Aristotle had founded his science on the premise that the empirical route to knowledge of the natural world was truly valid, and which premise influenced all of science for the next twenty centuries, so did Europeans such as Newton, Priestley, Lavoisier, Darwin, and Van Leeuwenhoek turn to the empirical findings as a way to extol truth which they believed was the ultimate courtship of reason to reality, and in which courtship the religious convictions of mind assumed a secondary place.  Such philosophers of that era as Locke, Rousseau, Kant and others tried to develop a route to a system of philosophy which could also be rationally verified, much as the leading scientists had set out to accomplish rational empiricism so as to humanize the relationship of the human to the extremes of the environment.  It is a cogent point that Aristotle and Plato both embraced some rational design to be discerned in the nature of the world, and Aristotle espoused a purpose, a final cause in the beings of nature.  This idea of a final cause by Aristotle harmonized well with the Christian concept of the origin of the world from an ultimate Creator, God.  Aristotle's philosophy and science were to be in good acceptance with the Christian faith for centuries to come.

                 The Essence of Thinking       

     One of the most remarkable questions a person can ask regarding the great changes which fomented and accompanied the Scientific Revolution is straightforward, and that is: why was mankind so ignorant of the way things work and what they are before the Scientific Revolution took place?  In other words, how can it be that theological precepts could eclipse the light of knowledge available to the thinking mind?  In a certain sense the preceding outline of the way science had developed from the ancient Greeks forward to the leading intellects of the Scientific Revolution does not truly unravel a more keen understanding of the birth of valid, empirically bound scientific knowledge.  From reading history books one generally gains a sense of history of the involvements of man in sectors other than science.  Indeed, a typical book of world history is a recount of the battles which comprised the wars which socio-political man has fought over the fair distribution of wealth and land, of water and trade, and for the freedom to determine destiny in relation to any of them; religio-political man has fought over the right to freedom of religion at times in history.  In order to more fully understand this question just broached  regarding the birth of objective science as we now know science, it must be recognized that the vectors of thought which guided the birth and growth of science are much more abstract in nature than the recount of man in action as warrior as history would tell.  Indeed, how the unfolding of science occurred across the centuries down to our current day presents an insight into the history of mankind which is equally as great as the typical history book which focuses upon the questions of the great wars which had settled the leading differences between peoples on battlefields.  History's battlefield is also that of the mind.  How people of differing times, cultures and nations, yea, civilizations, actually thought concerning questions of the nature of nature, if you will, might well be traced in the progression of scientific discoveries.  The fact that the scientific mind was first cradled in the natural philosopher's vision in such a progression of the birth of science has been explicated previously herein, and which is exemplified also by Aristotle.  True, Aristotle's   philosophical inquiries had actually opened up his mind to the empirical method which he formulated and used in his great studies of biology.  This empirical or scientific method stipulated that in order for knowledge to gain ultimate inclusion in the records of existing information on a subject, it must be validated empirically in the first instance, and then again through consistent results upon repetition.  History then repeated itself, moreover, as European philosophers freed the thinking, scientific mind from theological imperatives unto that methodology whose  purpose would be validation of truth, of reality.  In thus approaching the history of the evolution of science as a question as to how man of certain eras actually regarded the physical world, first; and how he then solved scientifically the deeper questions of the nature of life at the microscopic level, for instance; how he solved the nature of matter on into the derivations of the elements of chemical science: these questions involve an understanding of how the thinking mind works.  Exactly what is the essence of thinking?  For if we can apply that essence of thinking to the division of the mind between faith and reason which had obfuscated mankind for so many long centuries even despite the religio-political factors which fostered this kind of ignorance in man, then hopefully we can further apply what we learn therefrom to our contemporary questions and quandaries of a scientific nature.   Out of a sheer curiosity as to how man had remained ignorant for so long of the objective science which we have solved we might also re-formulate how to better apply the scientific knowledge we hold and seek in a holistic way for the planet and peoples of the planet, that we might not assume ultimately all but a new form of ignorance.  Now the question of how to progress as a scientifically enlightened culture becomes leading, and that is why it is of paramount importance to dissect the ignorance of pre-scientific man.  At the same time that such a prodigious objective is undertaken herein as to find guidance for today's scientific direction in thought and action by drawing from the historical past of science, and its first mentor, natural philosophy, it is hoped that such a consideration will place any reader who contemplates these topics and ideas in a frame of reference useful to finding a deeper interest in pursuing science educationally.  Just as all of mankind evolved into a knowing scientific state of mind through a process of enlightenment, so can the serious study of science enlighten more fully anyone of today.  Knowledge itself of science in today's world is a gift of great measure, and it becomes more deeply appreciated by students of science when understood in a progressive sense.  Tracing the progression of knowledge confers as exact an understanding of that knowledge as is possible, since it is from the foundation, the founding thinking and experiments forward, that the best of science is taught, indeed.       

   What is commonly known as 'civilization' when discussing the socio-political venues of nations of people in former centuries in a typical historical context will phrase in one word the state of the art insofar as knowledge; the knowledge held widely in an historical civilization will be characterized as to the advancement in technological capabilities which were likely to have prevailed in that civilization, and also, an overview of the prevailing religious beliefs and governmental system lends leading signs of the kind and level of any knowledge typical to a particular nation or ethnic entity which might have shared a way of life or a system of rulership, of governing. The arts, languages, any parchment writings, if extant, simple relics of tools, as well as architectural remains of such peoples of the past are also indicative of their knowledge and of their cultural enrichments. Indeed, entire civilizations have undergone demise at times in the history of mankind, in some instances leaving behind telling archeological relics which might inform us today of the nature of the living interests and leading features of their kind of world view, and of how they lived fundamentally. 
     As we strive to understand herein the nature of the knowledge we as a scientifically advanced culture hold, perhaps we cannot understand readily how it is that those civilizations of the past could not have discovered and known what we have derived of the nature of things across the centuries which had led to the Scientific Revolution and since.  Indeed, if this objective science is to be known and applied as it is to everyday living through technology, and which we tend to believe is a superior level of achievement for all of mankind, as we conquer disease through medicine, and distance through aircraft and even space vehicles and satellites; as we render the average citizen leisure time for thought and entertainment; and as we enter more deeply through our scientific research into the physico-chemical nature of matter, and of life itself, as some kind of boundless frontier which we might endlessly ponder; if we as a civilization are that much advanced, that our knowledge of the scientific essence of things has the power and the place to make the globe our habitat through travel and communication alike, spawning therein a global unity whose horizon is even beyond all but an abstract ken even to us, the heritable authors of convenience: then just how is it that this cornucopia of knowledge arising out of the nature of things as basically and profoundly scientifically derived had never before come to fruition in our knowledge of the history of mankind and of ancient civilizations? Is it true that the superiority of our science and technology in conquering as to living conditions, disease and geographic distance itself derives from the exact results of our scientific genius? Is this superiority of our science and technology true so completely, that without exact knowledge of chemistry and physics, and as they are also applied to biology, the science of life, an improved daily life for people never would have come about? Science has effectively made possible the technological prowess which has lent our advanced cultures the highly useful and sophisticated tools which we may take as a given in our daily lives and ways of doing things. However, if this most remarkable result of scientific understanding and work is so awe-inspiring when it is contrasted to the known cultures of man of previous eras in time on earth, where atomic science was not a household word; where the ability to cross a continent by vehicle in a matter of days was non-existent; and where the tools to communicate by word were yet primitive in that they were held to the constraints of physical travel by simple messenger, for example: then why in the world did others of previous centuries simply not figure this all out as mankind did over the past several centuries?   

     In consideration of this intriguing question as to man's comparable ignorance of objective science across the ages, when juxtaposed to our contemporaneous exacting and voluminous knowledge base in all the sciences, one outstanding point regarding the dearth of scientific knowledge of those of former eras, as we are likely to regard them, is simple: that is, survival in a biological sense requires work.  Particularly in temperate and colder climes is there a necessity to fend vigorously for the basic provisions of life when there is no extensive array of machines, energy-giving contraptions and gadgets, even, such as we know today.  Machines and systems of machines, for example, a power plant, transform fuel of some form into energy which becomes available to perform work with an efficiency far beyond that efficiency derived from manually operated tools, wherein mechanical advantage is directly visible to action performed by a set of hands.  Thus, the Industrial Revolution became implemental in spawning the widespread use of the efficient power of machines in the daily chores connected to food growth, procurement, storage and distribution, thereby completing the transformation of man from a totally agrarian existence.  With the advancement of technology agrarian task work ultimately became maximally compartmentalized, so that the sector of society responsible for direct food provision shrank from its origins in dominating the everyday life of people on a widespread basis to what we know today.  Today we simply shop for food: fresh, packaged, instant, canned or frozen.  In today's civilization highly developed  machinery is utilized widely to build residential and business sectors of our urban, sprawling suburban and rural areas alike. More highly sophisticated heavy machinery has brought about a remarkable architectural character in our country and in the more developed countries.  Indeed, some of the modern architecture is almost dreamlike, matching the expansive vision of mankind as we progress ever onward into a world which is built seemingly for convenience.  Indeed, there are scores of people among a hundred who live by the minute, since they are conditioned into believing that even two minutes' time belongs not to a wait for a service or for goods in the public, not to a traffic slow-down: these can unthinkable monstrosities for some in the light of the perfectly efficient world we have constructed all around.  Perhaps this ordination of time and place in so many minds today is the actual subconscious projection of the very premise of convenience which has promoted and inspired invention after invention after gadget, all towards the purpose of ease in living.  Think now, of how the mechanical advantage of the wheel has been elaborated with the simple addition of a motor and gear system to the wagon, to the chariot, indeed.  In this wondrous world of science and technology in which we live in the twenty-first century airships, ocean cruisers and submarines help fulfill the needs of transportation which serve a wider  global society, and certainly also the private needs of any individual are met with cars, trucks and public transportation systems in urban and suburban places.  Making clothing presents its need for efficiency; before the invention of the sewing machine, for instance, every article of clothing was hand-stitched, bar none.  Compare that to the fact that in our day there is not an article of clothing sold, nor any other good in the most universal sense, which has not experienced the transport of delivery by truck.  Truthfully, when one imagines the complexity constitutively lent to simple living in a time without our capabilities in producing things for everyday use, distributing them and making them available at reasonable cost for the majority of people, the mind is greatly boggled.  

     Moreover, in most recent years the Cybernetic Revolution has introduced a new challenge to the very mores of our civic culture.  The Cybernetic Revolution has indeed changed the way people communicate, study, perform research, do business, procure documents, goods and services, and find   entertainment, so that information is becoming itself more and more the object of a tool: the computer.  The advent of the wielding of information through computer technology is a signal event in the evolution of science, since with the elevation of such as that of information into an abstract realm, the cerebral power which had placed mankind in the position to develop technology so drastically in the first place is now subsumed under the power of organizing and using vast logs of data as efficiently as possible.  Indeed, one can easily recollect how forlorn and threatened was the average citizen many times when offices, bureaus, companies and stores originally became computerized.   The place to communicate effectively on the behalf of a simple, discrete task with a fellow person was interrupted by the power of 'the computer,' which in those early days could almost characteristically go wrong and cause delays and stoppages of the flow of information essential to given tasks.  It came to be known in that early era of computers that a computer or a computer network could even perjure any information relevant to the life and record of an individual, thereby threatening and possibly taking civic freedoms from an individual.  This fundamental endangerment of the rights of an individual made a potential folly of the meaning of privacy insofar as vital deeds and papers relating to the life and freedom of the individual.  No longer was a fellow citizen, a clerk in a public bureau, for instance, so much as beholden to any question of the availability or even veracity of information regarding the sacred individual. Such a sacred individual, now held hostage to the glitch of a computer, could only espouse a passive disposition to the power of personal data held in abeyance to technological perfection or lack of perfection; sensible passivity on the part of an individual citizen would become the only answer to a helpless clerk, whose statement of a computer's relay of data, right or wrong, could take precedence over the success of a simple transaction for such a hapless individual.  

     Therefore, the human intellect might well be saddled to the motive force of knowing and implementing scientific principles relevant to doing things, to performing actions, and especially those actions relegated towards a better surviving power for the individual in average living conditions; our advanced thinking has thus tapped the cerebral supremacy of the species of man.  Notwithstanding the current supremacy of the human intellect, is it going to be that the selfsame intellect of man will have sacrificed ultimately the very sanctity of the individual to the power of information, such as any governing principals might now decide?  Will this sacrifice of the sanctity of the individual's inalienable rights to the power of information become the way now, so that democracy must take on a new face in the face of that sacrifice, and become two-faced?  Information regarding an individual's life, personal data, history of health, history of indebtedness, use of registered vehicles and driving record should be considered less than personal?  Such information regarding an individual citizen may indeed regard the individual, but whose invisible, cybernetic source of which information lies beyond the very place of that individual to once again own personal data, to relegate as to dominion, as in rights of domain; such privacy should certainly match the Constitutional writ that the privacy of an individual does indeed lie in the papers and personal effects of an individual.  In the same vein, how can man now deal with the power of a miracle effected directly into the life of a person who experiences without a single machine or blip on a screen in a hospital a total cure of a life-altering condition or disease?  Is the then obsolete medical history of such a blessed person to be used to dictate against God's intervening grace for  that person?  Perhaps the very right to livelihood will stand to be picked over by some vultures of the carrion of the past in such a case, since such a history will live under the all-powerful database housed in a computer network.  Will that inexplicable event of a miracle in the life of an individual form a history to be equated not to an individual now, but to a social security number?  The point to be drawn from such an extreme example as this is profound.  This example of the potential power of scientific man to politically somehow "trump" God regards the sanctity of science unto the governing of social man even despite his superior intellectual capabilities as a conquering, scientific giant.  Can the institution of hyper-intellectual accomplishment now available to mankind through science also help achieve and maintain a harmony with the freedom, the sanctity of the individual?  Consider that the native ties of the individual to Mother Earth lie not in a techno-structure per se, but rather, in the self-regenerating and ongoing power of Mother Nature most fundamentally, and in a real biological sense, as well.  This question of the biological moorings of man as the possible equivalent of his sanctity for full freedom: should this not be the driving question of current thinking regarding the destiny of mankind, since it is what we are losing?  We must as a species supervene even despite the advent of greatly elaborated and multivariate tools of physical dimensions and of seemingly supra-physical aspects.  Such highly developed tools at once build and help maintain a techno-structure; these tools place the inhabitants of that world outside of the natural habitat for survival's case, but for convenience's sake?  If one does not own a computer, will one be a lesser citizen?  Will more highly refined advances in technology be hidden from the masses, and made available only to a select few at some arbitrary reckoning of a controlling few, who cannot indeed balance the power of 'their' discoveries and/or developments with the social contract which should be their righteous concern, as well as everyone's equally?  The fullness and the very nature of scientific knowledge can be now obscure, can be invisible to those who do not or cannot understand it.  Even though such empirical knowledge had once been applied in the development and progression of science and technology, it had originally answered as to the nature of perhaps obvious and oftentimes visible things -- the sun, moon, stars, planets, creatures, weather, moving objects, diseases, a forest, a tree, water, a river, food, fire, earth, etc.  The invisible nature of the involvements of the more developed scientific intellect of man nowadays  can also evolve.  However, what is the direction of that evolution regarding the sanctity of the individual?  Will scientifically evolved man ultimately possibly refute the sanctity of the individual as to freedom to pursue happiness?  What if the individual should choose to be ignorant of science and technology, and simply live as to heart's desires without machines and technological conveniences, for instance?  Inherent in man's capabilities to 'outdo' God's Earth, as much as he must wish to understand it, comes the social reckoning of that awesome power to master the physical world with mind and with machinery.  Furthermore, are all beings equally entitled to this world, human or not, or is this even the proper dominion of mankind's projection unto the putatively causal nature of the relative, physical world?  A by now seemingly new topic has cropped up therein, so that in order to progress with foresight as a scientifically enlightened collective, must mankind strike a profound, holistic balance, both socially and ecologically as to governing, without overusing the power of technology and its associated informational capabilities?   

     Verily, the finest hour of mankind's true venture into the godly realm of control of survival and of living conditions must lie even yet ahead.  This will take some thinking, assuredly, and for that reason the nature, the very essence of thinking should be questioned and unfolded as to its ultimate usefulness to the preservation not only of the species of man and the world in which he lives; knowledge of its essence, also, may be put to  the question as to whether or not man can really think a way out of all of the possible disasters his newly established, scientifically ordered world intends upon him.  Is global warming real?  Is the use of a finite amount of fossil fuel to be regarded perennially as an infinite source, only because it seemed to be infinite when it was first mined from the Earth's crust and put to better use? Is there going to be such a cataclysmic clash of nations, that the nuclear powers will destroy entire civilizations on the planet, if not nations of people?  Will industrial pollution eventually cause such widespread occurrence of cancer that there will be a shrinkage of population beyond our imagination?  As we have changed the typical regard a person holds for the power of divinity in answering as to the nature of reality, where once that very regard may have been as much as dictated upon the many by existing theological dogma, are we not landing back at the very juncture of uncertainty of destiny, only now on a much larger, indeed, global scale?  Yes, we are.

     The way we live now in this age of highly developed technology appears in a comparative mode of thinking as none less than a miraculous deliverance from  the work tasks which were long ago  necessary to accomplish physical survival, otherwise known as "living."  Indeed, one of today is likely to regard living well as meaning living with relative ease, and that as a given.   Furthermore, a foremost feature of our technological advancement is that it keeps on progressing.  Most people look forward to such progression of our technology, sighing with relief, even, that things will become easier, that more cures for diseases will become discovered, and that longevity will continue its upward trend.  Today, many wait religiously for the price of a new kind of technological equipment to go down from its original selling price on the retail market just after invention and production.  For instance, personal computers are now of more reasonable cost, and many had to wait years before they could easily afford one.  These are only some of the observations and topics which arise out of the results of the scientific acumen of our current-day civilization.   

     As far-reaching as may be the effects of this advanced technology on the quality of our lives and longevity, wherein new definitions of quality and expectations do obtain; as any even more inclusive and descriptive recount of this multi-faceted techno-wonder may tell, one vital and leading fact can be ascertained to be the greatest and most ultimate outcome of the birth of great objective scientific knowledge: the rendering of more leisure time to the average person in everyday life.  The average person of today is therefore also likely to become somewhat founded basically in objective science knowledge, as well as in mathematics: there is need and ample time to become educated unto the scientific principles which govern various mechanical, grossly structural, and technological sectors of knowledge useful to living and to livelihood.  Indeed, just as mechanical advantage gained alongside the evolution of tools held in the hands of the average man stretching from centuries ago, and particularly the tools of a wheelwright, had brought about a diffuse hope for greater ease of living in an incremental manner, so did that time made available for individuals whose lives were uplifted by the development of tools cultivate as well across centuries a more educated and a more education-minded society.  Tools led in the progression of the development of our civilization, and simply provided the people of various eras more and more time to ponder in the abstract; some few living in these eras were typically in the place  to study what  was known, perhaps to query as to what might be the deeper truth on a growing topic or entire field of knowledge.  The concomitant pursuit of education by even a select few is exactly, it is precisely what caused there to be the unfolding of the truth of objective science, however slowly that revolution of knowledge eventually was to come about. Importantly, the  Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment were to occur even despite the enforcement of religious dogma upon the intelligentsia, which dogma, as we saw earlier, greatly influenced the freedom of mind to simply explore the nature of things.  Aristotle's scientific method has been cited heretofore, and which careful method seeks after the empirical results of inquiries, and then requires for ultimate validation those results to be repeatedly found. Ultimately, the scientific method cultivated in ancient academia by Aristotle was to win over the authoritative superimposition of theological precepts upon the true nature of objective reality.  Theological precepts  had become seemingly substituted for fully founded observations on the nature of things, or at least in partial retrospect, was that the case?  As we shall further see in greater depth, did such theological precepts constitute a substitution for such truth of observation on the nature of things?  Just how much of a substitution of truth religious teachings comprised as regards the nature of objective reality becomes the essential topic, if not quintessential topic, as relates to a better understanding of the beginnings of what was to become our modern-day technological facilitation with its impendingly more ultimate techno-structure, all based upon science as we know of science.  The fact that our educational system is so widespread today, and that most everyone in the more developed, industrialized countries receives an introductory level education in science and mathematics before entering adulthood, is indicative of the values we hold for the use of science in formulating a world-view, and in defining how we live in relation to a world of magnificent, dynamic enterprise which arises out of technology.  This world of advanced technology runs on the know-how of scientific principles.  All this, all of what we know of science, was originally for the intervention deemed necessary in the face of a physical, relative world which by its own nature is comprised most essentially of dual opposites, even though it also stimulates a native curiosity in the seeker after knowledge of objective reality.  We had to be freed unto the requisite 'leisure' time to become a learned culture, if not a curious one, by the godly human intellect.  

     From the foregoing, one salient observation of mankind stands: mankind can be regarded now as a somewhat collective intellectual force which has grown past both theological boundaries and sheer physical limitations upon time to be used for thinking.  Most importantly, however, were the theological constraints which had been placed upon the truth of objective reality, as men of yore were to perceive it, to be analyzed and better grasped, could an improved understanding of mankind accordingly not guide us now, even in our quandary as to major questions of the contemporary frontiers of science of which we are not yet certain?  The rejoinder to that query is: will we ever be totally certain?  Typically in former times, was the truth of objective reality religio-politically enforced upon those men of yore, who were to perceive it or were to be allowed to perceive it as dictated over by answers subsumed under the absolute providence of God, of a divine principle alone; have we as a super-intelligent race now matched the objective reality before us so miraculously, indeed, that we have ever refuted through the use of science the long-standing theological purport of the omniscience and omnipresence of God?  Is it not true that mankind can be viewed as some kind of developing intellectual entity whose original will to survive through more knowledge of nature, of science, turned into the desire to then again thrive upon gaining such scientific knowledge?  Yes, both directly is this sense to thrive in life alive and sparkling in the average individual as we think of ourselves today, as we have conquered over misery to an extent through the wonders of medicine; and moreover, there is an empathy among us to share this enduring relationship of putative supremacy over the elements of the physical world, once known more universally as nature, strictly speaking, with those who might need it at times.  The typical nation today, for instance, does not live incommunicado to the rest of the world's nations, so that in times of natural disaster instantaneous communications to other nations set up a recovery intent upon any such stricken nation, whether charitable.  It seems that fundamentally the more developed nations with higher scientific and technological presence and prowess have an humanistic sense regarding the global village.  Not only has science taught man how to survive, and beyond that question of basic survival, to also thrive in a framework of daily living with conveniences, entertainment, and the leisure time to enjoy the fruits of perhaps easier labor than what was typically known in more primitive times; but also, this kind of relationship of society to the world, wherein technological power and leverage are paramount to good living, carries with it a certain moral imperative towards others in the global village.  That moral imperative mandates that the same sense of survival derived from technological superiority must be lent to others in times of need, and especially in times of astronomically great need due to natural disasters, war, famine and genocidal attempts.  It becomes in this modern day a native moral imperative for us to help solve such results of acts of God -- tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, blizzards, avalanches and the like -- and thus according to this 'unwritten' moral imperative should the fruits of technological expertise and part of its accrued wealth be made available to any people who are stricken suddenly by Mother Nature.  This is the same Mother Nature upon whom the intellect of man had descended over broad time, so as to try to transcend the challenges, the physical opposites, which threatened life and limb, but which were not well understood empirically.  Certainly, those extreme challenges were not largely predictable through such measuring instruments as we may possess today.  As an example of this power of prediction, it was reported after the most recent tsunami that there was a scientific team which had warned well ahead of time of its occurrence.  As the record holds, had that warning been heeded, lives could have been saved.  It seems that the scientifically more enlightened nations have adapted a secular writ of global scale which answers to any events that dictate as to the severity of trauma and dire misfortune which nature and man turned on man can inflict upon people.  Is this egalitarian outlook of technologized man towards the vulnerabilities and sufferings of others in the wider world not counterposed to the kind of oppression engendered by the socio-religious dictates of former centuries?  Has the attempt to conquer nature not brought about a vital seed of unity in mankind today, whereas, in previous times the venerate doctrines waxed into dogmas of the religions of man had fostered a dichotomy in the thinking individual?  Had this dichotomy collectively not constituted a divisiveness between authority and the individual?  Was this dichotomy not forsooth between perception by empirical power and knowledge by religious faith?  However, this division of objective reality from the at first subjective purport that the mind is capable of empiricism is only part of the analysis to be drawn from the history of mankind, and which analysis must be pursued if we are to learn from the past experience of those who had been constrained from intellectual reasoning of a higher kind.  Indeed, the answers to questions inspired herein must surely be found in a science which embraces from its first fundamentals both the objective and the subjective inquiry: metaphysics.  In the realm of metaphysics such subjective purport that the mind can be grasped for its empirical power can be proven in the objective sense most directly, and this by the dint of yogic science, science of the self. 

     Nowadays, that same time to think and to create in the scientific endeavors of mankind which has been gained through the use of improved tools, mechanical and intellectual, has formed a self-regenerating situation which is taken quite for granted, and wherein there is ample time to keep doing science.  As the scientific community concerns itself with some vital question, say, the question of insidious, long-lasting nuclear waste as prohibitive to the widespread use of nuclear power in replacing fossil fuel for an energy source: there is not a moment of worry that those scientists who work on solving such a question might not have the time in their daily lives to do so.  Yet, remember, there was a long, dark stretch of time during which any typical, general populace of people who lived on the Earth had no time to think up equations, to be facetious, and to derive the nature of matter, or even to see how the stars and planets move in the sky.  Rather, theirs was more likely to fend for life itself in every aspect of its demands upon their actions, duties and activities.   Those who had derived the aforementioned metaphysics, just in passing as of yet in this treatise, had been provided a subtropical clime in which time to pose a scientific inquiry was ample.  Generous accommodation for such inquiry was provided naturally; food could be as much picked from a tree.  Shelter was formed of local materials growing everywhere, so to speak.  It was the climate of ancient India which had fostered largely the mastery of the physical realm from the inner eye of truth as derived from metaphysical feats, since time was available to pursue reflections, contemplations and meditations without the necessity of the development of an elaborate technology.  Notwithstanding the provision of a climate which was conducive to conducting inquiries of a metaphysical nature were the Hindus further blessed with a profound series of avatars, divine incarnations, who actually lived among the people and handed forth the nature of universal truth, and they did so in active living situations.   

     Certainly, in contrast to the more hospitable ancient India for the provision of time to think, there would probably be just a studied few in most societies of the people of past historical eras in such temperate climates as Europe, which is relevant to us, who would be of the driven genius type.  Such driven genius types might venture into topics and explorations of objective truth in some concerted, dedicated way.  These true geniuses, the thinkers, inventors or discoverers of the past, who might have been ahead of their time, would leave their work for successive generations to ultimately validate or not.  Indeed, to overtake all of a nation or a civilization together with a novel invention or conceptual revolution, and to also see it unfold, would be itself a rather dramatic, atypical occurrence.  Such a revolutionary invention or idea might well have required first that it meet a vital need in survival's sheer biological purposes, for instance; the call of war could cause the invention of a new machine, or the discovery of a new chemical for offensive/defensive purposes in combat.  Any call to improve the weapons of war underscores how remarkable the place of war in the history of mankind to foment the scientific discovery essential to a useful invention for the purpose of self-defense.  The avatars and ancient rishis (seers) of India who derived the nature and truth of reality from the seat of the self, on the other hand, did not conduct their inquiries so much in defense of the self as out of a native curiosity and divine ardor.  These ancient metaphysicians delivered a truth so complete in the results of their introspections that it included a built-in method for others to find the very same truth -- universal truth -- and from which all other truths of the relative world could be known, could be learned.  Herein there was no dichotomy between the religious grounding and the observations of the physical, relative world.  The ultimate authority would be the individual in a religious sense, the self.  This same metaphysical excellence of the Hindus would work to embrace nearly all of the people at once, and subsequently throughout great time; only celebrations of conceptual awareness would recur for them across centuries.  The emphasis for those of ancient India was on God, both through form and in formless aspects.  Such emphasis was so total, it seems, that the need to improve upon living was not necessarily a leading question in that deeply religious culture.  However, when we view the modern world as a leading super-power we tend to overlook the ancient cultures which might have deeper insights and answers to questions which arise in us through the power we have gained as technological soothsayers.

     In summary, then, it is as if a critical moment in the history of the evolution of the species of man has occurred, such that mechanically the average man was liberated physically from agrarian and animal husbandry demands upon time in daily living, and mentally with the invention of the printing press knowledge became democratized, knowledge became freed unto dissemination for the many, not just a chosen few in a small and elite or sequestered sector of society.  

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09/29/2009 03:46 PM

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