Struggling to seek one's own identity, one's own passions, and one's curiosity has long been something that can cause conflict in society and within an individual. There are those, some great, who are driven to find some truth in life no matter the consequences, even if those consequences were death. In Bertolt Brecht's Galileo, the reader is presented with a man who is driven to seek scientific truths, while also working with the society/Church that would berate him for his studies and findings. The following paper utilizes the story of Galileo as a foundation for discussing the difficulties of scientists who seek the truth when it conflicts with the ideas of the society.
Galileo by Bertolt Brecht
Brecht's play actually comes in apparently two forms, an earlier version and another version that he revised after the bombing of Japan. In his original play, the ending was different. With the revised edition, Brecht apparently did not recant his ideas. However, whatever version one reads, it is apparent that Galileo was a great thinker, passionate person and determined man when it came to seeking truth. As written in the book, "we must proceed cunningly." This is because society, in Galileo's case the Church, had its own ideals that it needs to protect and direct the people. According to the Church, Galileo's ideas were dangerous to that ruling society for it would perhaps give people the belief that God was not the only answer to every question. Although the Church was interested in science, it was only interested in science to its own ends, not to the ends that would involve truth. Although he tried to remain loyal to the Church, Galileo's adherence to experimental results, and their most honest interpretation, led to his rejection of blind allegiance to authority, both philosophical and religious, in matters of science. In broader terms, this helped separate science from both philosophy and religion, a major development in human thought. Galileo...
Cited: Brecht, Bertolt; Bentley, Eric. Galileo. Grove/Atlantic; Reissue edition, 1991.
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