Information is at the tip of our fingertips. It would not be possible without the internet. Even if we are in remote areas, we can still access them with the help of portable satellite internet. This technology also brought us closer. But this would not be possible without the progressive ideas of some of our ancestors.
These people brought humanity out of the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. Unfortunately, some of their contemporaries did not appreciate what they did. As a result, the very people who they tried to help condemned them. Let us take a quick trip through history to learn about the many brilliant minds whose revolutionary ideas seemed scandalous during their time. It was their beliefs and theories that transformed the world.
His name conjures up terms such as conniving and cunning. It even became an adjective for a ruthless political operative. Some even consider it as an insult if someone describes you as one. But why is he vilified?
He lived in uncertain times. The states that now form Italy were often at odds with each other. One of the Popes even led a war against his neighbor. This air of distrust might have been the driving force behind Machiavelli’s masterpiece, The Prince.
Machiavelli rose to prominence a few years after the Medici were out of power. In 1498, the Republic of Florence elected him as their chancellor. He went on his first diplomatic mission later that year. His work took him to the Vatican and France.
During this time, Machiavelli worked on several minor works and published them. He successfully turned farmers into efficient soldiers. In 1509, they defeated a force from Pisa. Unfortunately, their victory was short-lived with the coming of the Papal-backed Spanish troops.
It was this defeat that led to the creation of his most infamous work, The Prince. Unlike other philosophical books, it does not convey Utopian concepts of a society. Machiavelli’s cynicism was on full display in The Prince, as he said that people are evil. This belief led to several suggestions about the use of force and deceit to maintain power.
He is another controversial but brilliant mind. Sadly, his notoriety overshadows his scientific achievement. Although we know him for his work on the cell theory and law of elasticity, we also know him for his fight with Sir Isaac Newton.
Due to his weak constitution, young Robert studied at home. But even at this age, he took great delight in observing and drawing. Hooke also kept a close eye on mechanical works. He later disassembled a brass clock and used the broken parts to create a wooden replica.
His brilliance caught the attention of Dr. Richard Busby. The older man persuaded the young Hooke to study in Westminster School. It did not take Hooke a long time to master Latin, Greek, and Euclid’s Elements. On top of that, he also learned the organ.
Hooke effortlessly garnered a position as a chorister at Oxford. His idol later hired Hooke as his assistant. Another great mind employed him as an assistant. He relished his time at Oxford. Hooke would later describe credit his lifelong love for science to his stay at this prestigious institution.
At the young age of 25, Hooke formulated the law of elasticity. Two years later, he became responsible for experiments performed during the weekly meetings of the Royal Society. Unfortunately, this position brought some conflict with other brilliant minds.
Johann Konrad Dippel
We know him as the creator of Prussian blue. But more importantly, he was supposedly Mary Shelley’s inspiration for Frankenstein. You might see the close connection because Dippel was born in Castle Frankenstein.
At the young age of 20, he obtained a master’s degree in theology. Under a pseudonym, he published several theological works. Dippel took further studies but focused on alchemy. His ideology caused many conflicts between him and other theologians.
One of his embittered enemies used to be his disciple. But his follower eventually condemned him as a vile and evil man. Dippel’s highly controversial theories brought him to prison for heresy. He also had many monetary problems.
Dippel tried to buy his childhood home with a questionable potion that he claimed to be the elixir of life. He found a better use for this when he inadvertently created Prussian blue.
Ideas transformed the world. Just like it pulled humanity out of superstition, it will continue to mold our future. These revolutionary beliefs might scandalize us. But in the end, it is what makes our world.