By Lewis Mumford
This e-book is an try and clarify the forces that experience formed know-how from prehistoric occasions on, and feature more and more been shaping smooth guy. rather than starting with the issues of our personal iteration, Lewis Mumford is going again to the origins of human tradition; yet to date from accepting man's upward thrust as due more often than not to his command of instruments and his conquest of nature, he unearths strong grounds for rejecting this view. He demonstrates how instruments themselves didn't and will now not boost a long way and not using a even more major sequence of innovations in ritual, language, and social association.
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Extra resources for The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development
Such firm knowledge as we have of prehistory rests precisely upon this kind of identification and inference, usually of commonplace, 'uninteresting' objects, like potsherds, animal bones, or pollen grains. In the realm of prehistory the generalist has a special office, that of bringing together widely separated fields, prudently fenced in by specialists, into a larger common area, visible only from the air. Only by forfeiting the detail can the over-all pattern be seen, though once that pattern is visible new details, unseen even by the most thorough and competent field workers DEDUCTIONS AND ANALOGIES 17 digging through the buried strata, may become visible.
In short, without man's cumulative capacity to give symbolic form to experience, to reflect upon it and re-fashion it and project it, the physical universe would be as empty of meaning as a handless clock: its ticking would tell nothing. The mindfulness of man makes the difference. 6: MAN'S UNCOMMITTED CREATIVITY Since man comes at the end of a long, widely ramifying evolutionary development, his singular capacities have, as their underpinning, the cumulative organic experience of many other species that preceded him.
But all we actually know is that the bones of unidentifiable humanoid creatures were cracked open, under special conditions that caused them to be preserved. Apart from marks left by blows on the skull, which might have been made in a futile attempt after death to split it open, or even have happened earlier without causing death, we have no evidence to indicate whether these creatures were killed or died a natural death. If we suppose they were killed, we do not know if homicide was the custom of the country, or whether this was a particular case: certainly no statistically valid conclusions can be drawn on the basis of the few specimens discovered on a single site.