Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The role of science

Now, for the first time in history, science has become the handmaiden of the state. Now science must satisfy the demand of the state, and that demand is power. Therein lies the danger of its secular subservience and the cause of its conflict with humanity. For power, even if prompted by moral objectives, tends to become self-justifying and creates moral imperatives of its own.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 217

<idle musing>
I hate to contradict him, but while it is true that science is truly the handmaiden of the state in our culture, it's not the first time. The city of Syracuse in the Hellenistic age comes to mind, with Archimedes and his many inventions. But, his point is well taken: Power corrupts. Always and in every age. Period. And I emphasize always.
</idle musing>

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