Before I get into the role and importance of engineering, I’d like to make the terms “Engineer” and “Engineering” clear in the reader’s mind. Webster’s Dictionary defines Engineering as “the applications of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, construction, and operation of efficient and economical structures, equipment and systems.” An Engineer is an individual who is educated to use the principles of Engineering to create technology and wealth for society.
The role of engineers in society and their importance is rather simple yet profound. Engineers are the designers for nearly all man-made objects and all others are still only made possible by the existence of engineers and engineering. The reason is simple. Anything that has to be built needs a design, a blueprint. All infrastructure in society, all vehicles on the road, air and sea, all technological and electronic devices, and so on—all these objects needed to be designed before being built. Those designers are engineers.
As you can see, most of the material world outside of Mother Nature herself was possible only because of engineers. Whether it be a mechanical engineer, civil engineer, electrical engineer, or another type of engineer, some kind of engineer was ultimately responsible. Besides the man-made objects that make up our physical world, there is also the interaction between peoples, countries and cultures that give us “society” and our current global culture. The means of interaction being the ability to travel (planes, cars, trains, ships…) and the ability to communicate (telephone, internet…). Again, both are made possible by engineers. So if you love your iPhone / Droid / Smartphone, don’t thank Steve Jobs or whoever else runs the company. Thank all the engineers working for him that actually made the phone.
Given the above, does it seem odd that this profession isn’t as recognizable as say, doctors or lawyers? When one thinks of a highly respected profession, doctors and lawyers are typically the first to mind. I credit this mostly to mass media (think of all the doctor and lawyer shows there are), their high paying wages, and their profession’s ability to make their line of work seem extremely vital. I will elaborate on this in a future post.
The point being, engineers are absolutely vital to the existence of society. Therefore, they should be given the kind of recognition that other so-called “top professions” get. It obviously seems ridiculous to consider this but the kind of treatment celebrities and professional athletes get is far more deserving of engineers, a profession that contributes more to society than all celebrities and athletes. When considering why you admire who you admire, one of the fundamental principles should be to consider how much that person contributes to the progress of humanity. Great leaders and thinkers, artists and poets, generals and soldiers, engineers and architects, these are the kinds of people we should look up to. Those who expanded our understanding, improved our thinking, inspired us to greatness, protected our freedom to live our lives, and allowed us the ability to live at all...those are the kinds of heroes humanity should praise.
Original Publication Date: June 6, 2011. Note: My general worldview remains the same but I would revise my opinions somewhat. See [bracketed comments] for my latest thoughts (11.15.16).
Throughout history, there has always been a ruling class and those who are ruled. The conditions of those ruled used to be barbaric, and in some places still are, but great advances have been made leading up to our current situation. Let's not forget the constant struggle humanity has fought for freedom even though we consider ourselves free1. Although our freedoms are greater than most places in the world, we are still not where we need to be when considering the influence of powerful corporations and special interest groups in Washington, overlooking the needs of the people2. So there is still much work to be done, both here and abroad3. Those who care about the future of our country, of our species, and of this planet, should care about these issues and others like it. Even if we can live our lives in relative comfort and let the world go to waste after we're gone, that's hardly an excuse not to do something now. Do it for your future offspring, do it for humanity, and simply do it on principle alone.
This is my overall view related to "Class Warfare and Humanity's Struggle". Now I'd like to elaborate on the three points referenced above.
1 - I'm particularly referring to Americans when I say "we consider ourselves free", speaking as an American.
As for our level of freedom in this country, I would say we are a very free people. [Five years later and I would say we've not only lost freedom, but I ranked it higher than I should have in the first place. What I describe next is about freedom of movement and speech, but speech has limits, certainly within corporate media and mainstream opinion. So overall, I'd say we're definitely not as free as we think but certainly better off than many other countries, if I had to rephrase that.] We can exercise a lot of freedom in the range of our actions and in what we can say, but there are some very fundamental freedoms we are not getting and that is still a big issue we must overcome. The real freedom that we are not getting is democratic participation in determining how society is structured and run.
We have the illusion that we have the freedom to elect this official or that in Washington (and technically we do) [or to some degree not, maybe. I have since come into contact with the work of NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller who is a media studies expert. He's written a couple of books on election fraud, and although I haven't looked into too deeply yet, it looks like a legitimate problem to me from his work and testimony of a computer programmer admitting to doing this (Computer Programmer Discusses Election Hacking), among other evidence. Links to this evidence will follow shortly and be listed at the bottom of this post] but realistically we don't have any real power because regardless of who's in office, powerful elites in this country will influence our government promoting their needs over the needs of the whole. This corruption of government exists all over the world and is nothing new. History has shown that those with power try to protect it (and usually seek to expand it) at the expense of the masses. It follows from simple self-interested logic that drives most actions in the world, especially from the kind of people who seek and fulfill such positions of power. I would argue that a just society should not have such large inequities of power, wealth, and standard of living. [We don't have to all be the same of course, but there is more than enough wealth to eliminate poverty and still keep things largely the same, at worst.]
Point 2’s expansion will go into this further.
2 – I pick political corruption as my main example for why we’re “not where we need to be” because it is this unfair influence that will then skew legislation away from only serving the good of the people, therefore causing problems in all areas affected (which is pretty widespread). For many examples and evidence for how widespread corruption goes in Washington and their damaging effects, read any of the following books:
One quick point regarding the third book, written by Arianna Huffington. Forget the fact that you may or may not like her politics. This book shows a lot of clear examples of the abuses of lobbying (along with other undemocratic characteristics of our “democracy” and what we can do about it) but is certainly a good source of corrupt behavior in our government.
3 – I think our main focus at first should be to resolve national issues of poverty, education, and health care. [My new main focuses, in no particular order, would be climate change, regaining control of our government (through election reform/removing money from politics/etc), and promoting independent media. The issues I outlined before look at things from a different point of view. Those are the critical tools, in my opinion, to allow someone to have a fair chance at life so they can make something of themselves. Don't start poor (have bare essentials), have access to good education (which I'm still focused on actually, i.e. independent media), and ensure people have healthcare to remain healthy. My new focuses are climate (immediate largest existential threat, in my opinion), regain control of government so we can make smart policy decisions as a country, and education as always to help as many people understand what is happening and to join the fight against it (that's where Love Knowledge tries to come in). I think education is the key to everything.]
This will promote the health of our citizens and give them the tools to make it on their own. Once we get all our people on stable ground and have a very robust system of education in place, then we can start working to improve this world. In the meantime, I do not think we should abstain from helping others when needed but not spend as much as we do. If another country has a natural disaster or needs help in other ways to prevent human suffering, we should step in. But often our aid to other countries acts as a tool of influence in how things are done there and is not given in good conscience. Also, maintenance of all our military bases on international soil is unnecessary and very expensive. We should scale back our use of authority in other regions and focus more of our energies building internally. For more information about this and other problems with U.S. foreign policy, read this book: Failed States - Noam Chomsky. Just one of very many he's written on the subject.
As a final side note, I’d like to take a brief moment to speak about professor Noam Chomsky. In the course of my intellectual discovery as an adult, Chomsky has been one of the most inspiring, knowledgeable, and arguably the wisest person I’ve come across. [I have since learned of his opposition to conspiracy theories and draw disagreement with him there. I believe the JFK assassination and 9/11 were examples of proven conspiracies (evidence of this will be provided in future posts but for now here's a brief introduction into 9/11 evidence that challenges the official story Architects and Engineers: Solving the Mystery of Building 7) but not only does he try to discredit them, he does so while making some statements that are uncharacteristically illogical for someone of his intellect. To me, that indicates Chomsky is knowingly putting out disinformation. That is highly problematic and requires serious inquiry but I do still think his other works are worth reading. He could still write well on some topics while putting out mis/disinformation on others. Obviously that is a very unsettling to discover but one can understand why someone may want to disassociate themselves from conspiracy theory (i.e. for practical purposes like career, reputation, etc). This warrants a separate post in the future. For now, here is a video of Chomsky discussing these conspiracy theories Chomsky dispels 9/11 conspiracies with sheer logic and make illogical remarks like "even if these theories were true, who cares?" I will elaborate more in the future post.]