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The Myth of The Prometheus

Disclaimer: This article is actually created for my topic presentation. So, maybe the structure of this writing is a little bit different than my usual writing.

People think knowledge is equal to science. Or some people might think that science is the only way of acquiring knowledge. Today, I want to break myths related to those notions. I want to give the insight to make clear what a knowledge means. We gain so many kinds of knowledge every day, but some students think that we gain knowledge just from the university.

You may think the way we acquire knowledge is the same as the way we open the door, so we need a key to open it. Key is the way we gain a piece of knowledge. There are many keys that actually exist in this world in order to acquire knowledge. We can use science, religion, reasoning, and tradition. I’ll explain it one by one. What is the difference between science and knowledge? Science in Indonesia is ilmu pengetahuan, if knowledge in Indonesia is pengetahuan. The science, kind of knowledge that we acquire at university, is actually a little pool on the huge knowledge pool. There is another pool like the knowledge we gain through reasoning, religion, or even mythology.

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Knowledge Pool

The simplest way we acquire knowledge is through perceiving. We have 5 senses. We can use them to get knowledge. For instance, when we at the jungle, we can know what things surrounding us through see, through perceive things using eyes. How do we know the human body is composed of several organs? Same as the previous instance, we look inside the human body, the same as Doctor Galen did in the 2nd century when he became a doctor of the Colosseum Rome.

But actually, it was easy to know inside the human body. The hardest one is how do we know the human body is composed of the trillionth of a trillionth of cells? We need science. Science is basically the same as gaining knowledge through perceiving, but the difference is that we need a methodology to gain knowledge to be regarded as a science. We need to observe things more thoroughly, systematically, using observational methods. So through a systematic way of observation, we eventually could make a microscope. Then we can gain knowledge more deeply inside our body, the cells.

What about reasoning? The reasoning is different compared to gain knowledge through perceiving, we just need to think to gain that kind of knowledge. For example, the kind of knowledge we gain from mathematics is from reasoning. How do we know the universe is consist of 10 dimensions? We cannot perceive dimension greater than 4, but through reasoning alone, we know or we gain knowledge there are 10 dimensions on our universe.

Einstein is the most influential person in the 20th century for his discovery on the theory of relativity, he formulates this theory just using reasoning alone, with no experiment at all. He used a kind of reasoning named the Gedanken Experiment. Theory relativity proved the existence of the gravitational wave despite we cannot perceive gravitational waves.

The amazing thing had happened in 2017. The Nobel laureates on Physics had been rewarded to scientists who can prove the existence of the gravitational wave. See? From reasoning, we could gain true knowledge of reality. That’s amazing! What about religion? How could you know the knowledge or the existence of heaven or hell? You can get it from holy books. Holy books are one of many sources where we could gain knowledge about things that we even cannot perceive it.

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Nobel Physics’ Laureates in 2017

Mythology is the most interesting way we acquire knowledge. When I was in the 1st year of medical school. I read about the book of pathology, a study of disease. The interesting part of this book is it told about the history of ancient greek had known that the liver is an organ that could be regenerated into a totally new organ. It tells about the story of Prometheus, son of Zeus, who was stealing fire from the temple of Zeus. Zeus knew that Prometheus did steal the fire. So Zeus condemned the Prometheus, Zeus sends an eagle every day to tear and eat the liver of Prometheus which the liver soon will regenerate into new liver every single day.

From that point, we know that mythology of regeneration of the liver had been known by ancient greek 500BCE, on the other hand, modern medicine has known it 2000 years later. So what I really want to tell is that western medicine is just a kind of the way we gain the knowledge of medicine. We can gain knowledge of medicine through another type of way, such as traditional medicine, herbal medicine, ancient Chinese medicine, India ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, etc. Even we can gain it through Astral Projection. Do you ever hear The Doctor Strange movie? This film is about a doctor who got a car accident, he totally paralyzed, then he thought that modern medicine was the only way he could cure the disease. But modern medicine couldn’t help him, so he decided to go to the Kamartaj to find another way of medicine that could cure the disease through Astral projection.

You can see the interesting part when Doctor Strange thought there is no other way to cure disease, except modern medicine. Eventually, his disease was cured by another medicine which is the astral projection from Kamartaj, Tibet. The conclusion is that we have to realize that modern medicine has a limit to understanding diseases. It is because science, especially modern medicine, just one kind of way to perceive the nature of reality and cannot define the whole nature of reality.

Remain faithful to the earth with the power of your virtue. Thus spoke Zarathustra. Universitas Indonesia, Medical Doctor.

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