An Absence of Substance

The Scientific Revolution is a different beast altogether from each revolution before it. While the Cognitive and Agricultural Revolution brought about new ways of thinking and doing things that added to the intellect of Sapiens, the Scientific Revolution had an unfortunate side effect: it revealed the extent of knowledge humans still haven’t learned about the natural system of things (Harari, 250). Science and capitalism became further intertwined due to the original marriage of “conquest of knowledge and conquest of territory” (Harari, 284). By adventuring into new lands and claiming them for Europe, Europeans were also discovering new things about the world. Far in the future from this time, Monsanto’s reasoning for “Microsofting” their company have been relatively the same: the conquest of knowledge, but for conquest of “scientific territory” instead of actual territory (Elmore, 159). Why were Europeans and Americans much more adept at navigating this marriage instead of those from China and India? That is because Europeans and Americans had that original mindset of knowledge and territory, which made it much easier for them to harness new scientific tools and theories. That’s exactly how Monsanto went from a chemical company to a biotechnology company; they saw an opportunity for a capitalist venture in the form of new scientific territory and took it.

I think the Scientific Revolution is the slipperiest of slopes out of the three revolutions. It’s led to studies that people pursue purely for money that didn’t exist before we created them. I would be lying if I said money wasn’t a factor in my studying computer science, but this book has me questioning the benefit of studying something like this. Computers are something we invented that, while useful, aren’t 100% necessary for survival. What if we end up having a “Technological Regression,” where my skills are no longer useful? This book made me question a lot.

One thought on “An Absence of Substance

  1. I enjoyed reading your viewpoint of this week’s section! However, I do not fully agree with some of your interpretations. I would argue that what we do not know yet is not an “unfortunate side effect” of the scientific revolution, like you pointed out, but rather the opposite. I think the unknown is what drives science today and what fueled the revolution all together. Although science today is massively intertwined with capitalism and imperialism, I think we are much better educated then we were during the other two revolutions discussed in this book. I also really liked how you said you have begun to examine your own choices after reading this!


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