Can knowledge be a burden rather than a benefit?
Knowledge is power; it liberates us, enlightens us, allows us to grow and expand and better our conditions. Today, our knowledge of the world has grown immensely, and could be seen as “beyond our control”, and even a burden. However, history shows us that while great knowledge can sometimes be a heavy burden, it always has outweighing benefits.
History is rife with examples of knowledge being a burden, but ultimately proving to be beneficial. For instance, Galileo, a 17th century astronomer and scientist, was arguably the greatest contributor to science of our time. His diligent research of our Earth and solar system led to groundbreaking
discoveries that, at the time, were extremely controversial. Galileo was the first scientist, and person, to question the Church’s statement that the Earth was the center of the solar system, and all other planets and the Sun revolved around it. He instead argued, and proved through research, that the Sun was the center of our galaxy, and Earth just another planet in its orbit. This knowledge was profound, enlightening, and powerful; it was also a great burden.
Galileo’s theory was met with disbelief, outrage, and violent opposition; it was an extreme burden to him. The Church was furious at Galileo for disproving its teachings because at the time, the Church’s word was law. Never before had its teachings been so scientifically and poignantly questioned. To think that the Earth wasn’t the center around which all things revolved was a shocking and humbling fact that those so fervently set in their beliefs couldn’t accept. Galileo was immediately attacked and interrogated because of his powerful knowledge. He was declared a heretic, and excommunicated from the Church. Galileo was a very religious man; this social and spiritual ostracizing broke him completely. Even still, he knew that although his knowledge was a heavy and painful burden, it was true, and would later benefit generations of scientists to come. Today, attribute Galileo’s discoveries as some of the most important scientific findings of the common era.
Galileo’s story is a historical example of powerful knowledge being a burden, but ultimately having extremely positive benefits. If it weren’t for great minds constantly expanding our knowledge of the world, we would be a stagnant peoples, never moving forward and creating new and marvelous things. Knowledge truly is a tool that can change the world and although it may sometimes be inconvenient, it is the most powerful thing we have.