Unit Two Assignment One Revision
Principe says on p. 78 (see also p. 104) that what are today seen as “landmark” experiments in the history of science were in their own day viewed as much more ambiguous and controversial. Only in hindsight do we see these events as marking significant discoveries. Do you think the same might be said of the “landmark” canonical texts of the humanities? Bonus points if you use a Unit 1 reading as your example.
A new concept is always difficult to accept, especially when the idea challenges a societal construct that we live by. However, most literature written has the purpose to challenge and question the ideals that we have become accustomed to. These specific works of literature explore the humanity or society that we live in and point out flaws which we ignore. For example, John Locke was a major challenger in how societies were constructed. Locke wanted to provide reasoning for why accepting values that were established by an authority of “divine right” was wrong. Even though the majority of Locke’s controversial works were based off the time period in which he lived in, and the issues prevalent then, we still use aspects of his works today to challenge our issues. In the modern society which we live in, the obscure concepts he wrote about in relation to government construction and individuality within a society, are applicable. The revolutionary ideas Locke wrote about have still had a major impact on our world today and are still appreciated and studied. However, the ideas Locke wrote about were still “landmark” texts originally, when his work was published. Personally, I believe the concept of “landmark” canon of literature is still applicable to what we read in Humanities because it is not always easy to see the importance and influence a text has at first glance. However, when we reflect upon the affect certain literature works had on the society they were written for, we can begin to connect to how our current society is still influenced by these works as well.
How does a new discovery or concept become accepted and appreciated in the society it was meant for? Or does the discovery/concept not truly become accepted until proven applicable?
I believe a new discovery or concept becomes accepted and appreciated in the society it was meant for once it can be used in context. To simply state a new discovery or concept does not show a society its true potential, it becomes difficult for people to understand. However, when the new discovery or concept is put into context of society, members can see how it improves or helps their lives for the better. For example, for the longest time, society believed the Earth was flat. Scientists and other educated people claimed the Earth was not flat but indeed spherical. However, society did not believe in this new “discovery or concept.” Therefore, explorers never went farther than the maps of those times displayed for fear they would fall off. It was not until Ferdinand Magellan applied this new discovery or concept to society by circumnavigating the Earth, proving its spherical shape. This example shows that in order for society to believe in something that goes against what they believe, they must be shown the new discovery or concept in context of their lives.