Monday, 19 January 2015

Uniting people, fighting obscurantism

The defence of basic human rights has gathered, in response to an horrendous terrorism act, millions of people in French streets and in the world in an unprecedented unison. It was both moving and reassuring to see when big causes are at stake people get united.
Altruistic endeavours, although to a lesser extent, can also unit people and bring them together, all involved in a common enterprise regardless of their country, race, religion or culture. Such ventures aren't so many: humanitarian aids, fighting hunger and poverty, providing universal education and, probably, expanding knowledge.

Knowledge of the most fundamental mechanisms related to life, to the environment and to the universe is certainly the most important asset of humanity. It is a common heritage that has been accumulated since the dusk of civilization, a growing treasure passed from generation to generation. Pure knowledge is the seed of disruptive civilization changes often for the better and sometime for the worst. It all relies on people i.e. political decisions. But pure knowledge is a marker of humanity evolution.

Human beings are social animals and research is a social endeavour. Planned future fundamental research projects definitely adopt and develop this social and encompassing dimension pushing it from the regional to the world level. They must get people from all horizons united behind the same goal.  It is much more than technology or complex mathematics, it is creative thinking in a multicultural society.

Without distorting the original message given by these demonstrations, let's hope that more value will be put on culture and science to help fighting hatred, xenophobia and obscurantism.

and Pencils.