Research is what made us who we are. We are research, but what is it?
Modern research originated in Ancient Greece.. When the ancient Greeks travelled the world they encountered an array of different cultures and people. From this, philosophy was born. Society was faced with new questions, in part due to the plethora of cultures they became exposed to. The answers to these new questions posed was what led to the works of the likes of Socrates and Aristotle.[i] When the human species was faced with profound questions about life, philosophy was born. Through philosophy, more questions started to be asked, which in turn led to answers. Sometimes the answers led to more questions, other times they simply led to us knowing and understanding more.
With every year we are becoming more and more advanced as a species; we have achieved feats once considered impossible. Man has walked on the moon, our genome has been edited, we are on the verge of creating artificial intelligence ex nihilo.
Research is the pillar upon which modern medicine stands. Every drug, every procedure in medicine has been subject to extensive research. All of it was done to make things better, every question that can be asked was asked. We do research to make things better, asking questions, probing for the truth.
There is no one true answer to why we do research, the answer to this question is akin to asking, “why are we human?” Humans are a curious species, constantly asking questions, constantly seeking answers; constantly doing research.
Doing research is one of the best ways to be able to contribute to a greater goal and finding meaning in life. A life of research is not one that leads to money, one does not find fame and glory in doing research, often it involves blood sweat and many tears. However, nothing that is easy is worth fighting for, knowing that as an individual one is able to be an agent of change, leading to the world becoming a slightly better place. Research is in itself a noble goal, one worth fighting for. We do research because it is what makes us human.
[i] Peterson, J. B. (2018). 12 Rules for Life. Random House USA. Forward page “xxii”