Knowledge Society

Isaac Newton Microscope Visual Optics Vision

This post was inspired by the Royal Society of London of which Isaac Newton was a member.  Their achievements show what effect state-sponsorship can have on the pursuit of knowledge.

What would happen if all governments joined together to patronize learning?

Pelagio Palagi Newton Discovery of the Refraction of Light

Art Credit: Pelagio Palagi

In El Filibusterismo, the second novel of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, the characters of Basilio and Simoun have this lively discussion:

“Hindi ang karunungan ang pinakaimportante sa tao,” sabi ni Simoun.

Ang pagdunong ang numero unong hangad ng bansang maunlad,” giit ni Basilio.

“Totoo, pero para gamitin lang sa paghahanap ng kaligayahan ang karunungan ay hindi nauubos.  Ito ang pinakamabuting maaaring ariin ng tao,” sagot ni Basilio na nagkaroon ng sigla.  “Pagdumating ang panahong wala ng gulo, wala ng pagbubukod-bukod, ‘pag malaya na ang lahat ng bayan, ‘pag ang katarungan ay siya nang namamayani, ‘pag wala nang amo at wala ng alipin, ‘pag ang tao ay tinatawag nang mamamayan ng daigdig, ang matitira na lamang ay ang karunungan.  Wala nang halaga ang pamamahala sa bayan.  At marahil, sa panahong iyon, ang sino mang magsasabing mahal niya ang sariling bayan ay maaaring ikulong.”

English translation from Project Gutenberg with a little tweaking by me:

“Science is not the end of man,” declared Simoun.

“The most civilized nations are tending toward it.”

“Yes, but as a way of pursuing happiness.”

“Knowledge is more eternal, it’s more human, it’s more universal!” exclaimed the youth in a transport of enthusiasm. “Within a few centuries, when humanity has become redeemed and enlightened, when there are no races, when all peoples are free, when there are neither tyrants nor slaves, colonies nor mother countries, when justice rules and man is a citizen of the world, the pursuit of knowledge alone will remain, the word patriotism will be equivalent to fanaticism, and he who prides himself on patriotic ideas will doubtless be isolated as a dangerous disease, as a menace to the social order.”

Wouldn’t the world be able to achieve happiness if all states came together to lead the advancement of education and humanity?

Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica Isaac Newton

Photo Credit: National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center


Espino, Vivencio O. El Filibusterismo ni Dr. Jose Rizal. Philippines: Flo-Vi Enterprises, 1995

This entry was posted in Classical/Enlightenment Thoughts, Education, Goals & Visions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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