I am never all that engaged in textbooks but I cannot stop thinking about the questions being asked in Sophie’s World. I sat in another class and zoned out for fifteen minutes thinking about the ‘Do you believe in fate?’ question the philosopher posed. I had genuinely never considered the topic so deeply and from so many different angles until it was proposed in the book. If we assume fate is real, what is tangibly controlling it? Who established this? Why? Can we change it or harness it? I keep turning these questions over in my mind. I’m also really intrigued by the fatalism idea discussed in the Fate chapter (as you may be able to tell, it’s my favorite chapter so far). Predestination seems a little anticlimactic to me. If life is already planned like a storybook, what’s the point? The discovery of the story, I suppose, but even so, it’s a little disappointing to think that the best and most exciting moments of life were planned out in detail. I’m interested in the fact that the Greeks thought illness was caused by the gods and the Universe when they were such a medicinally progressive society. It strikes me as slightly contradictory, but then again we see the same thing today with medical science pitted against religious ideals in the public forum. The difference is, the Greeks allowed both religion and science to blossom, whilst today it seems that it must be one or the other and I think that’s a loss we face as a society.
Speaking of science, that rather relates to the allegory of the cave and I suppose subsequently to my second blog post. The allegory was my favorite topic from the last week and I kept being reminded of how closely it matches the scientific world today. Every time a new discovery is made, the person who discovers it must go out to the public and fight tooth and nail for their discovery to be credited as genuine. Most of the time, the public refuses to believe the new discovery and we are no better off as a society, since the new discovery is not implemented for quite a while. One example that really comes to mind is smoking and the lung cancer correlation. Smoking was such a widespread phenomenon and was so commonplace that when the Surgeon General’s report first came out, nobody really cared for a long time. It was only when people started getting sick and really seeing the effects of the revelations that actions were taken. In effect, it wasn’t until regular people began “leaving the cave” as the Surgeon General had already done that the research and discovery started to actually make any kind of difference. This is kind of frustrating really, because if the people don’t gain any benefit from the original discovery until or unless they discover it for themselves, then there is almost no benefit of the discovery being made early. If everyone had believed the Surgeon General to begin with, so many more lives could have been saved. That, though, is the quandary of the cave.