So the NASA proposal on star formation is finished and has been committed to the great unknown of the review process. Now that's done I am reflecting on how cultures throughout history (and prehistory) have kept those charged with "truth-making" in business.
Modern society spends a lot on its scientists and there are lots of us. Some of us work on very practical applications of science designed to make people healthier, more productive and, perhaps, happier. Some of us work on big questions with no practicle applciation. Either way, in many ways science functions as a priesthood in the big mythological sense of bringing the culture a sense of what is true and real in the world and offering some control over that world.
Did other societies have as large as "priestly class" as we have? Whatever the proportion of that class relative to the society as a whole how where their activities funded? How was the culture's "treasure" apportioned to the people who were responsible for dealing with the culture's unseen truths (Gods, spirits, etc). Throughout time there have been shamans, temple priests, monastics and monasteries. Sometimes these were highly organized with great amounts of wealth committed to their development (think the churches of medieval Europe or the mountain monasteries of Buddhist china). How does our activity compare with theirs? The impulsive in both cases has similar imperatives even if the effect is very different.
We have been at this truth game for a long, long time. How is the nuts and bolts of funding the truth-makers similar? How has it changed?
The Great Pant Rip Episode of 2012
4 years ago