Editorial: Science cannot be placed above its consequences

In Greek mythology, the parable of Icarus illustrates the human desire to always go farther at the risk of colliding with the limitations of our nature. It also evokes the ambiguity of our thirst for knowledge and progress. Icarus and his father Daedalus are attempting to flee their enemy in Crete in order to reach Greece. Daedalus has the idea of fashioning wings, like those of birds, from wax and feathers. Intoxicated by flight, Icarus forgets his father's cautionary advice and flies too close to the sun. The heat melts the wax of his artificial wings, they crumble, and Icarus plunges into the sea and perishes.

About the author

Vincent Bernard

Vincent Bernard

Vincent BERNARD is editor in chief of the International Review of the Red Cross, a leading academic journal on humanitarian law, policy and action published by the ICRC and Cambridge University Press. He is also the head of the Law and Policy Forum, which leads ICRC’s engagement with expert audiences interested in teaching, researching and debating international humanitarian law (IHL). The unit runs the Humanitarium conference center in Geneva, the new Humanitarian Law and Policy blog, the IHL online training center etc. Vincent joined the ICRC in 1998 and worked in the field for 6 years in Dakar, Nairobi and Jerusalem. As head of the ICRC’s field communication set-up from 2006 to 2010 he travelled and worked in most of ICRC’s operational contexts. Prior to joining the organization, Vincent studied political science, law and international relations at the Political Science Institute and Law Faculty in Strasburg, The King’s College, London and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and taught law at the University of Marmara in Istanbul.