Just from time to time, I remember the kind of work that actually mattered to me before I had to work in the general world of people, their gossip and fads. This is just one example of chemistry dependent of H3+. It’s impressive. There’s a route to water, there’s a route to cyanide (a key ingredient for more complex carbon chemistry, including items like amino acids), and perhaps most critically there is a route at the top to arbitrarily long carbon chains.
I would guess most people still have no clue we are molecular hydrogen in our history. The stuff is formed in space when a cosmic ray hits H2 and the resulting ion steals an extra proton and electron from another H2. If we were really educating ourselves we would all know this story. Instead, we are more likely to know (incorrectly) that Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 53 BC.
Argument is broadly impossible because most of us ‘know’ a whole crock. Trying to shake people from this is more or less impossible. We have no knowledge society and this is a result of allowing education on traditional grounds and as child-minding. That most people can’t do science isn’t the only problem – it’s compounded by thinking one can have a valid opinion of climate change and a lot more without the proper knowledge and ways of thinking.
We could say the same about other fields of human activity like policing – our lack of knowledge on what policing actually is causing daft notions like cutting crime by having more bobbies on the beat. This problematic needs a great deal of public development – but how could we do this when most people and the media are more interested in ScrewsNews, tits and ‘exciting gossip’ than what really matters? And how did we get educated to this state?
In manufacturing we have seen the embodiment of knowledge in machines and soon we will see the skill of pilots having little to do with flying. What we aren’t seeing much of is the embodiment of professional knowledge in machine-systems. The technology is broadly available but the professions resist any use that is not restricted to them as surely as any union insisted on demarcation.
One can imagine most calls to police being computerised and done by the complainants in the first place. Banking and accounting could be routinised much the same and towards the facilitation of work we need, rather than financial money-making-money.
My guess is all that is stopping this is that work is how we once distributed wealth and that only the rich have found other ways to do this for their own purposes (which I guess are largely libidinal and selfish).
The radical organisational reforms we have seen in manufacturing, construction and agriculture have a scientific base, even if the means of production are in the hands of a few. Bureaucracies could be similarly streamlined, including the professions. We are held back by fears of an at least approximately equal society and still feudal employment relations. One of the key fears is the free-rider problem, though there are many others.
I can remember few times when I went to work with much belief in what I was doing, and like everyone else I’ve met, you wouldn’t have seen me for dust after a big pools win. Science and sport exercised some fascination, but mostly I just don’t get what human beings think they are up to. Work was generally so dull I had to force myself to go, largely because I couldn’t stand being managed by one idiot or another. I was happy enough to do the actual stuff that needed doing, but soon realised I couldn’t play the necessary games or bow to the rituals. I always felt like I was watching a strange trial in which innocence is lost in a primitive tribe. Science at least allows enquiiry not directed at success in this ritual which I suspect concerns religious thinking and what may be ‘zombie protocols’. These are as firmly in place as the instruments of torture Galileo faced.