Science is Futile

Good artists are better paid.

Much has been said about the apparent uselessness of the arts – that it isn’t a lucrative business (or, to take it further, not a business at all), that it doesn’t contribute to social progress, or that it is only for soft romantics who cannot accept reality. The people who say this often champion the fields of science and technology, claiming its superiority. Much has been said about the apparent uselessness of the arts; one wonders what it would be like to talk, with similar pig-headedness, about the futility of science.


Medicine is a waste of money. While it may be true that some medicines can prolong life, not even the most expensive pharmaceuticals can prevent death. Lengthy treatment for a terminal illness can leave a person in chronic pain. Death will claim us all, and it is cowardice to delay it when it is so obviously one’s time to die. A lot of people spend too much on medicine when they could spend it buying experiences with their loved ones, using up what little time they have left living instead of cowering before death.


Climate science is pompous. When people say we should “save the planet”, what they really mean is that we ought to save ourselves. As George Carlin put it, the planet has been here millions of years before we arrived, and it will be here long after we’re gone. The planet will be fine. It will probably even be better after we’re gone; plants will take over our crumbling structures – monuments of capitalism, monuments of our impotent narcissism.


Technological innovation has always been motivated by laziness and constant whining. Elevators were made because stairs were tiring. Airconditioners because it’s too hot. Louis CK made a good point about how we might not really be from this planet since we complain too much about something so simple as the discomfort of this planet’s weather. Technology is, in the end, glorified bitching.


The internet is hailed as a triumph of modernity but all it really does is heighten the sensation of envy through fake-ass but glamorous social media pages, increase (and make virtually invincible) the presence of bullies, and make porn and illegal materials more accessible. For all its potential for connection, it would seem that the internet has actually caused detachment. Digital sabbath movements are picking up, calling for a more authentic way of living.


All the points above are meant to be utterly absurd, and this too is how it sounds like when people make fun of the arts. Not only do good artists make the most money, their work immortalises their names. Art is, as it has always been, a social movement – there is no art without an audience to perceive it, and history has shown that a truly great piece can inspire revolutions. But with it, the noble causes of science remain the backbone of civilisation. To enjoy life, it may be necessary to prolong it. To promote a healthy lifestyle, it may be necessary to decrease discomfort. Scientific progress has always been towards social cohesion, towards providing every person the right to call this indifferent blue planet our home. And in this home, we sing and share photos and stories. No matter where we are in the world, technology allows us to share our art.