- Education and Science
Philosopher, Scientist, and Engineer
They are probably 3 of the most influential professions in the modernization of the human civilization. They all strive to provide meanings and well beings to a life that seems chaotic, barbaric, and survival of the fittest. Through their efforts over times, life has become purposeful, enjoyable, and survival of the happiest. All 3 professions require rational and logical thinking to enable them to find order in the tangible and everyday matters that make life possible.
Facing a life of beauty yet cruel, wonder yet ugly, mercifulness yet unforgiving, etc., the philosopher tries to make sense out of all these contradictions and puzzlements. The philosopher sees the great sufferings of the poor and disadvantaged, the wasteful indulgence by the rich and famous, the stifling routines endured by the common office and factory workers, etc... The philosopher observes that there are people:
1) who excel in mathematics, singing, or musical instruments at a young age with scant tutorage,
2) who have boundless imaginations, enthusiasms, or energy,
3) who are capable of great violence, compassion, or apathy, etc…
The philosopher winders do we really have a choice to be who we are, what we can accomplish, and how we live our life. No doubt, the philosopher concludes that we can choose. But, there are more choices that are out of reach and can only be realized in our dreams. On the other hand, the philosopher rationalizes that the illusion that we can choose to be who we are and that our choices will make a difference is enough for people to live a life with purpose and meaning.
Scientist not only is curious about how Nature works but also has the mettle to satisfy this curiosity. While the philosopher wonders and rationalizes, the scientist goes one step further to uncover the secrets of Nature. Through the scientist’s hard work over times, we are able to understand:
1) the Big Bang that created the Universe to the Standard Model that defined the matter’s fundamental particles,
2) the origin of life to the human anatomy so that people can better take care of themselves and live longer,
3) the Earth is round and how it orbits around the Sun so that human can one day explore the outer space, etc...
The beneficial byproducts of many other scientific discoveries enable human:
1) to get out of the caves and to live in skyscrapers and enjoy material comforts,
2) from walking on bare feet to fly in the air planes and travel over great distance in manageable times,
3) from sending letters through mail to electronic text through email instantly, etc…
The scientist uses the methods of painstaking data collections, detail analyses, and systematic verification through experimentations to peel off Nature’s secrets layer by layer. The scientist developed the Hubble Telescope that can peer billions of light years into the early Universe and the billion dollars LHC that will one day reveal where the particles and energy come from. Meanwhile, the philosopher is wondering that the scientist is merely discovering secrets that are meant to be uncovered to keep life forever meaning and purposeful.
Applying the scientist’s discoveries and principles of how thing work, engineers get to work by implementing them into the design of buildings, bridges, automobiles, air planes, etc.. The results are products that not only work reliably and efficiently but also are environmentally friendly, cost effective, and long lasting. The function of the engineer is more pragmatic and just as important to the well beings of people’s life. It is hard for the ordinary people to understand the contributions of the philosopher and the scientist made to their daily life. Their works do not normally have the immediate beneficial effects that people can see. The engineer acts like the medium. Through the engineers, the abstract is turned into reality, the theory becomes blueprints, the principle is formulated into guidelines, and wild idea is translated into better ways of living.
There are, no doubt, other professions that contribute to the health of the human civilization. Professions like the painter, musician, physician, novelist, educator, etc... They all do their tiny but essential services to make human life enjoyable and purposeful. Looking at the animal world is obvious that each species plays a crucial role in the ever shrinking ecosystem created by Nature’s evolution process. It is only rational to conclude that there should be no difference with the human species that is the latest by product of Nature’s evolution process in a new, ever expanding ecosystem called the civilization