Almost everything to do with the evidence of modern civilization is the manifestation of thought.
Think about it, from primitive huts to heaven-kissing skyscrapers, from Stone Age doodles to the Mona Lisa, the significance of the dollar bill, the footprints on the Moon—all is but a product of thought.
Applicably, the most productive and the most destructive of inventions trace their way back to some knowledge in a human mind.
In a legendary two-minute YouTube clip, Steve Jobs explains the “secrets of life”, essentially corroborating that we can change the world by rejecting a conventionally popular pessimistic notion about life. He says:
“… when you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. But that’s a very limited life.
Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use…
… That’s maybe the most important thing – to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.Steve Jobs, 1994, interview with Santa Clara Valley Historical Association
I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, ’cause it’s kinda messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
Ideas have the power to shape and mold the physical universe not unlike any other force of nature.
Hence, “the terrifying power of ideas”, as philosopher Karl Popper wrote, “burdens all of us with grave responsibilities. We must not accept or refuse them unthinkingly. We must judge them critically.”
This critically rational eye should apply to every idea. Including the pessimistic ones about the limitations of human agency and the reach of knowledge specifically. Progress depends on it.