Alexander Fleming was conducting experiments that potentially could produce a cure for bacteria-borne diseases. One night, inadvertently, he left some culture in a petri dish overnight, left for home.
When Fleming arrived in his laboratory the following morning, he discovered that the mold which had developed in the dish seemed to be eating up the bacteria. Some more experiments later, Fleming had arrived at Penicillin, the base model for all drugs that cure bacteria-borne diseases.
If Fleming had not himself acknowledged his fallibility and humanity, that is, his arrival at the discovery in context of a mistake, none of us would know.
In today’s world, with all of the self branding that has become essence of society, to the extent presidential candidates have to boogie to music, take selfies with crowds, and appear not to be boring, Alexander Fleming sorely would be tempted not to tell us the truth, would be tempted to act as if he got things right, because he so brilliantly knew exactly what to do.
When self branding of presidential candidates becomes more important than an assessment as to whether they know what to do, and will be able to do it, society really, really has begun to value branding over substance.
The sad reality of failure of the internet is that the internet has turned out to be even more fragmented than physical life.
Everyone on the internet wants to build a brand, and make thousands of dollars, with outcome very few if any are interested in adaptation of the internet towards building of community.
With the internet becoming mostly about dollars and cents, as opposed to opportunity for closing gaps of communication and interaction that subsist within society, the soul of the internet has been gobbled up by spirits of hedonistic capitalism that are bane of all that is wrong with western civilization.
Only persons who are engaged with doing of things that are worthwhile can, in context of a mistake, arrive at discoveries that change the world. The fact that Fleming discovered the path to Penicillin in context of an inadvertent mistake ought not to take anything away from his brilliance.
During Fleming’s time, scientists did not take themselves too seriously, did not have to play to some ‘rock star’ status.
In today’s world, Fleming surely would second guess himself, would wonder whether acknowledgement of his fallibility and humanity would not engender too high a cost on his person.
Just imagine what late night comedy shows could do with such material.
“Turns out you and I can, without any scientific experience produce a cure for diseases by leaving a pot of uneaten food on the stove overnight. Ha Ha Ha,” some might say.
A world within which ‘Alexander Flemings’ would rethink value of acknowledgement of their fallibility and humanity is a world of which none of us ought to be proud.