change education politics Science

Who benefits from the continuation of culture ?

From something I wrote a decade ago that still seem quite appropriate given the difficulty we have we with change in this country

who benefits from the continuation of culture. “The sanctity of property, the unflinching materialism of farmer calculations, the defense of professional status” were for decades the key values of the Irish State, values baptized by the Church (Lee, 1989 pp 159). These barren virtues were typical of the mercantile cultures that predated the intellectual enlightenment in Europe, and indicate unenlightened attitudes to knowledge and innovation as dangers that can upset the status quo. Innovation does upset the status quo, generating a new dynamic in a non-linear system leads to unpredictable results. Enabling this dynamic to proceed is the essence of economic growth and development. Powerful interest groups tend to block technologies to protect their rents (Mokyr, 2000, 2002); society’s structures, beliefs, and attitudes need to ensure that dynamic change is allowed to occur.

The essential Faustian bargain of dynamic living systems is the recognition that the birth of new things involves the death of old things.

Quotes Science Technology

Looking up with a sense of wonder and curiosity

I grew up with a sense of wonder and curiousity.

Carl Sagan, Issac Asimov and Nicholas Casey helped imbued me with a love of science. The third person was an amazing Science and Physics teacher.

Oscar Wilde said “We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars”

And Sean O’Casey wrote

Boyle: An’, as it blowed an’ blowed, I ofen looked up at the sky an’ assed meself the question — what is the stars, what is the stars?

Joxer: Ah, that’s the question, that’s the question — what is the stars?
Boyle: An’ then, I’d have another look, an’ I’d ass meself — what is the moon?
Joxer: Ah, that’s the question — what is the moon, what is the moon?

Over a decade ago a group of scientists asked similar questions and following their curiosity did something to find out the answers. Today a tiny probe sent 500 million kilometers finished a 10 year journey and in a monumental step for our species landed on a comet. It is a truly wonderful day for science and for wonder. Today instead of looking down the human race looked up.

As a species we need to choose wonder, choose science and hope, choose courage and ambition.