The world that we are living in today was shaped by the consequences of the choices made by those who were born generations earlier than us. Being thankful for what they did for their descendants is the least we can do. Taking it a notch higher, we are enjoying the opportunities that they have given us to realize the full potential of humankind.
Here are some of the most important intellectual developments of our ancestors that have shaped the economic, political, and social aspects of our world as we know it.
The search for natural laws
In the earlier centuries, Catholicism was the official state religion of the most powerful kingdoms in the world. Unlike today, the Catholic Church was more than just a religion; its doctrines were accepted as absolute truths and anyone who questioned the clergy was severely punished.
The beginning of the seventeenth century challenged the power of the church. Several individuals in the European continent began exploring reality and the laws of nature beyond the explanations that the church provided. These individuals included: Galileo Galilei, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton.
Through the Scientific Method, these early thinkers set the atmosphere for the centuries that would later be called the Enlightenment Era: their natural curiosity and desire to find the answers to the origin of man and the universe was a milestone.
The Scientific Revolution
The Enlightenment Era in the previous century paved the way for the Scientific Revolution, a time in history when scientific bodies of knowledge such as biology, astronomy, and physics were emerging one after the other at a groundbreaking rate. Many sources would overlap the Enlightenment Era and the Scientific Revolution because many thinkers during the latter based their theories on people from the former.
The main difference between the two periods is that the Enlightenment was like the eureka moment for select individuals, while the Scientific Revolution was a more widespread phenomenon, with more people questioning traditional belief systems and developing ideas like Darwinism.
Centuries later, with colonies and European kingdoms carrying the forever-changed worldview of their forefathers, the then-harsh, absolutist form of government was almost an inevitable target for change as well. The growing discontent from people around the globe sparked uprisings and decades-long wars.
In the end, monarchies were either deposed or weakened, and fairer representation from people, which eventually turned into democracy, was favored over the concentrated, often dictatorial power of the monarchs. Although the right to vote was initially given to men, soon, adult women were given the privilege of suffrage, too.
Continuing the legacy
At present, we enjoy many opportunities and freedoms because of the successes of the past. Going the distance while holding the beacon of intellect and human potential is something that must go on.
Our world today is not rid of problems. Indeed, each era has its own challenges. Underdevelopment and illiteracy are just two of these. With the aid of organizations like Patokh Chodiev Foundation which strives to make education accessible to all regardless of race, the people of today will have a chance to create breakthroughs that will be momentous in the eyes of future historians in future centuries.