The members of the Lunar Society were interested in science, yet their foremost concern was how science could be used, especially for manufacturing, mining, transport, education, healthcare and much more. They were, as it were, the revolutionary committee for the major revolution of the 18th century: the Industrial Revolution.
Full of conviction and very self-aware, they wanted to change the world forever, and they believed that what they did would improve the lot of mankind.
The good life is more than material decency, but should be based on material decency
According to Jacob Bronowski their motto could have been ‘The good life is more than material decency, but should be based on material decency.’ They believed that by increasing production capacity they could bring ‘material decency’ to everyone, and to a large extent (as far as the developed world is concerned) they were proved right.
Historians speak of the ‘Midlands Enlightenment’, with the Lunar Society at its heart. More than others from the same era their emphasis was on ‘Going beyond thought, putting theory into practice and translating ideas into action.’
They were almost without exception very sympathetic to the human condition, concerned about the fate of the ‘ordinary’ man, and opposed to slavery. They believed in private property, capitalist ‘self-help’ and entrepreneurship, and the ideals of the enlightenment and sought a reduction of the power of the aristocracy and religion as an institution. A number of them were very active in society.
They also enjoyed themselves immensely. Their meetings were fun and intellectually stimulating, and the members were not above joking at their own expense, even calling themselves the ‘Lunartics’ (a pun on ‘lunatics’).
History does not repeat itself, but we do live in more interesting times. We all experienced – or are still experiencing – the beginning of the Information Age. The Digital Revolution, or what is also referred to as the ‘Third Industrial Revolution’, as the first stage of the Information Age, is still in progress and is causing a major transformation of entire economic sectors.
Just like the members of the Lunar Society, 300 years ago, we once again see an opportunity to harness science and technology through plenty of blood, sweat and tears and the work of ‘a lot of good men’ to change our world fundamentally and for good.
Perhaps we at Cronos Groep can make a very small contribution in that respect.