Monday, June 16, 2008

Medieval Lives: The Philosopher

Once upon a time, when all was shrouded in ignorance, there lived a philosopher. He sought the Philosopher’s Stone, that would transmute base metal into gold, and the Elixir of Life, that would bring eternal youth. “Philosopher” was the closest term the Middle Ages had to “scientist”, but of course we know that they weren’t real scientists, because they had no idea of scientific method. The Medieval world floundered in superstition and ignorance. The Church persecuted seekers after knowledge, medicine was more likely to kill you than cure, and people didn’t even know the shape of the world. But are we sure they were so very ignorant? Or is it us, who don’t know as much as we think we do, about them?