Once upon a time philosophers and scientists were one and the same. They were those privileged enough to think abstractly about their lives, and pretentious enough to then communicate their thoughts, talking and writing to share their ideas with others. Many wise people think deep thoughts, but few see fit to discourse on them, and fewer still can express their thoughts effectively.
nowadays the term scientist means many things other than a philosopher. Those who sought to prize open the nutshell of the universe, using whatever tools were available to them, are still a rare breed. There is another profession living under the name of scientist: a sheep in wolf's clothing.
in these days of commercial domination, the tools of the old philosophers are being used more for producing money than for discovering the unknown. The new scientist is a mongrel creature, clothed like a priest in the cleanest of white robes, holding tools like a carpenter or plumber, and spurred by the promises of a paymaster. The scientist is no longer necessarily a person intrigued by the world around them; they are the neo-clergy of a new church - and at the alter is wad of banknotes.
priests carried the mysterious task of uncovering the desires of god and interpreting them to their commune, a direct link between the power of the divine and the individual worshiper. today scientists are hurriedly passed a similar burden - they are trusted with the revelation of nature and the power that entails. those mere mortals who daren't dabble in the lurid realm of the unknown hope that their representatives in white robes are acting in their best interests.
religious organisations throughout the ages have been rife with exploitation: for where there is power and trust there are those who will abuse it. like the corrupt clergy of the past, modern scientists are shielded from criticism by a veil of ignorance cast over the eyes of others. when the robed scientist is told to do something for their monthly salary, most will without complaint. somebody rules the horde of white robed neo-clergy with a chequebook and pink slip.
while scientists are romanced by a minority of them - such as the ancient greeks like pythagoras, or the cute and fluffy albert Einstein - the majority are little different from a store clerk staking shelves in a supermarket, or a telesales representative, invading the privacy of hundreds daily. Many scientists are, despite their own aspirations, servants to companies and organisations, waiting on their paycheck like any other wage slave.
scientists are the new clergy of industry, producing new products for specialist markets, ultimately for no end other than to make their masters wealthier. the search for knowledge is incidental to the rummage for profitable items that occupies most scientists today. Those lucky few who operate on the funds of donations or trusts are few indeed, and their positions are much coveted. Those rouges who are still searching for answers to their own questions are still there, the tooled up philosophers of ancient days, scattered amongst the throngs of cash generating pipette operators. And even those rouges must whore their minds for dearly needed cash now and then.
So realise that not all those in white coats are wise or exceptional, most are just doing a job like anyone else. those people who are truly searching for answers are easily recognisable, for they do it everywhere - at the lab, in the office, at home, in the park, in the bath, every night and day of their lives.
Labs are nothing but pens for workers and their tools. True discovery happens in the mind of the unrelenting individual.
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