Galileo Exposes the Fallacy of Others Through His Own Work

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

In popular media, there is a fiery debate taking place on whether Climate Change is caused by humans. Perhaps there is a historical lesson in a similar debate that occurred in the early 17th century. At that time the issue of the day was wheher the earth or the sun was at the center of the known universe (the solar system was the known universe at the time). Science was pretty clear that it was the sun, but the church, and consequently most folks, wanted to believe that it was the earth. I say they wanted to believe, because most people who read the pamphlets and books that were widely circulated at the time, or who spent any time looking up at the heavens, realized that the theory lined up better with the sun at the center of it all. This was the world of Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), a scientist who believed, along with many other scientists of the day, that the sun was at the center. Unfortunately for him he lived in Italy, the home of the Inquisition. He was put on trial, and after being shown the tools of torture and reading a detailed description from a colleague who had suffered the rack, he made some carefully-worded changes to his original theory. That said, he walked a very fine line and did his best to remain true to his ideals. To say this was easy would be an understatement, but he managed to avoid too much punishment while pushing through what he could of his ideas. Today he is still remembered for his contributions to science as well as for his courage against the church and the authorities.

What is perhaps lost in the drama of this story is that Galileo was an early Gigster: his work was contract-based, he had many clients, and he worked part-time (the rest of the time he spent in court, apparently). He was also very careful to accept some of the views of the church, even ones he knew to be false. He had the wisdom to know that over time others would eventually disprove them. So he brought the ideas of the church into the light, along-side his own ideas that would undoubtedly be tested by others and especially by his critics …and it was those critics that he needed to convince. In doing so, he essentially helped to further expose the fallacies of the church and the state.

What today’s Gigsters can learn from this is the following: if a client insists on unrealistic expectations, the better approach may be to proceed with the errors in plain sight. One common example is when a client suggests a ridiculously low cost for a project. In this case, it may be best to put the client’s figure prominently in bold letters in the contract, As a matter of fact, a good place would be right above the section that itemizes the expenses. The two likely won’t add up, but that will then be for others to point out.

So, I suppose the real question is whether this stratagem can work today so that we can finally agree on a course of action for Climate Change. I believe it could, but only if both sides have an opportunity to be heard equally. Scientists will need to include the arguments of business leaders and likewise business leaders will need to acknowledge the science. This is not happening today, either in court rooms or the media. Perhaps it will be up to an enterprising Gigster, one who knows Galileo’s story, to lead the way.

This blog post was previously published in The Gigster 'Zine, our free newsletter discussing new and innovative part-time opportunities & strategies for anyone with a college degree. To sign up for the newsletter, click here.
Colegas Group2018