Chapter 2 RANKS, REVOLUTIONS, AND PAIDEIAS (c) 1991, 1993 by David G. Hays (c) 1995 by Janet Hays 2.1. THE FOUR AGES 2.2. REVOLUTIONS 2.3. FOUR RANKS 2.A. Appendix: Processes and Tech Evol Contents of Thought Each rank has a master concept, a _paradigm_, that fixes the structure and limits of reality. Only a few major varieties have existed in and beyond rank 2; we call these paideias. 2.1. THE FOUR AGES In Section 1.1.4, I told you how William L. Benzon, then a graduate student at SUNY Buffalo, generalized Walter Wiora's concept of four ages of music into a scheme for culture history. Informatics, I said, went through ages of Rank 1. Speech Rank 2. Writing Rank 3. Calculation Rank 4. Computation And perhaps I should tell you how we got that list. The 1st, 2nd, and 4th entries were given to me by Charles F. Hockett, a linguist and generalist, before I met Benzon. He called computation the third information-processing revolution. Since I already felt that computation was a revolutionary art, I liked his placing it in this grand context. When we began talking in detail about the four ranks, we saw clearly that Hockett had missed something (if the theory of informatic rank is to be taken seriously, it may not be permitted such a large gap). But what had Hockett missed? It occurred to me that he had missed the Renaissance, when life and art changed enormously and science began. Students in our seminar suggested the printing press. Well, it is certainly true that the availability of written material to many people made a fundamental change in all of life, but that is really a matter of diffusing the kind of thinking that goes with writing (rank 2) to a large part of the population. The printing press does not lead to a new kind of thinking. So we poked around. I got out James R. Newman's anthology _The World of Mathematics_ ( CALCBIBL* ) and found that arithmetic came to the western world at roughly the right time: "by the end of the thirteenth century the Arabic arithmetic had been fairly introduced into Europe ..." (p. 18, from a selection called "The Nature of Mathe- matics" by Philip E. B. Jourdain) Before that time, arithmetic might be done with counters on a board, with tricky methods by specialists, or by creative insight (no kidding). What Europe got from the Arabs, who had it from India, was a routine way of dealing with numerical problems-- calculation. Science needs calculation as you need your bones. So we had a list with four entries, as required. ( COGNBIBL* ) For a fresh example, and one from technology, take the task of moving a load on land: Rank 1. Human carriers Rank 2. Animals carrying packs or pulling carts Rank 3. Steam railways Rank 4. Jet aircraft The wheel has been found by archeologists in Mesopotamia at sites dated between 3500 and 3000 BC, during the long, slow development of writing, but carts frightened both people and horses in rural England around 1700 ( CART* ). The steam locomotive developed early in the nineteenth century. Jet aircraft appeared late in World War II and were made safe for commercial use some years after the war ended; without computers, both the design and the regular operation of jets would be inordinately difficult. 2.2. REVOLUTIONS 2.2.1. Growth Curves. Rapid but not instant ... 2_2_1* 2.2.2. Paradigm Change. Passage to a new reality. 2_2_2* Long periods of stability have been separated by shorter periods of rapid change, in technology and simultaneously in many other aspects of life. Although the change is rapid, it is not instantaneous. During a period of cultural growth, a moment comes when the earlier sense of reality collapses and a new sense, a new paradigm, crystallizes. The change from rank to rank, in the evolutionary view that Benzon and I have taken for some years, is as big as the change in biological evolution from fish to reptiles, or from amphibians to mammals. Recently two biologists, Niles Eldredge and Stephen J. Gould have argued that big biological changes occur in rela- tively short intervals ( PUNC* ). Everything is stable for a long time, and then a new major kind of life appears, perhaps in a rapid sequence of small changes, but in a brief moment as com- pared with the long, stable times. They call their theory "punctuated equilibrium". And it seems that cultural (including technological) evolution is like that (cf. Mokyr, pp. 290-292 BIBLNOTE* ). The short intervals of change deserve to be called revolutions. 2.2.1. Growth Curves But change is not instantaneous. Paleontology, the branch of biology that studies the history of life, is hampered by the loss of many examples. Only a few living creatures become fossils after they die; most dissolve forever into the universal muck. Whole species can be lost this way. Archeology and history face similar problems, but the time scale is different and the losses are less disastrous. We can rely somewhat more on our knowledge of our own species's past than on our knowledge of the transition from reptiles to amphibians, for example. In the history of technology we have enough material to show us many of the small steps from rank to rank, and can estimate how much time a revolution takes. We should not imagine that the change is like this: ____________Rank 2________________ | | | | _________Rank 1_______________| with time from left to right. Instead, let us think of rankshift as occurring like this: .....Rank 2...... ...... .... ... .. . . .. ... .... ..... .....Rank 1..... Rome wasn't built in a day. The trite saying reminds us that all growth takes time. ( Rostow* looked at industrial development this way.) We can go through the most significant aspects of the rankshift from Eden to Athens (R1 to R2) quickly, and it is worth our time to get a more concrete description. Agriculture began, very slowly, 10,000 years ago, in the region around the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The basic crops were grains. (Agriculture also started in America, in China, and in sub-Saharan Africa, at somewhat different times and with various crops.) We are on the left-hand end of the curve, rising very slowly. ========== On the origins of agriculture, I have accumulated a good many citations and taken extensive notes. For samples, consult AGRIBIBL* . But about 8,000 years ago agriculture began to spread across Europe at the rate of 1 kilometer per year, and went all the way to Scandinavia by 5,000 years ago. According to Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza ( AGSPREAD* ), now supported by Sokal, what happened was that the agriculturalists experienced faster popula- tion growth than the neighboring foragers. Farmers at the boundary were more likely to find room for their crops over in the foragers' territory. Some intermarriage occurred, but just how much--and how much genocide--is not yet quite clear. The Urban Revolution began in Mesopotamia, about 7000 years ago. V. Gordon Childe put the pattern together and gave it a name. Several technological inventions were made: "The two millenia immediately preceding 3000 B.C. ... [i.e., from 7000 to 5000 years ago] artificial irriga- tion using canals and ditches; the plough; the harness- ing of animal motive power; the sailing boat; wheeled vehicles; orchard-husbandry; fermentation; the produc- tion and use of copper; bricks; the arch; glazing; the seal; and--in the earliest stages of the revolution--a solar calendar, writing, numeral notation, and bronze." ( MMH* p. 227) By 5000 years ago, there were cities in the Mesopotamian plains, with a new kind of life. For Childe's list of new traits, see MMH* ; for some other sources see MESOBIBL* . Meanwhile, writing began with cuneiform--roughly 5000 years ago--and developed through several steps. About 3000 years ago, the Greeks adopted the alphabet from their neighbors, converting some of the characters that had been used to represent consonants and using them for vowels. Between 3500 and 2000 years ago, the Hebrews transformed religion. Earlier gods and spirits were not distinguished from the natural mountains, rocks, or thunderbolts with which they were identified, and they were gods of places or of tribes. The God of Moses (who lived about 3300 years ago) was more abstract, not to be represented in pictures or worshipped in idols. And this God was the lord of the universe, not a tribal god ( IKHNATON* ). Thus we may properly say that the invention of writing led in due course to the spiritualization of religion-- although a detailed argument would take a long time to construct (Logan, Innis in WRITBIBL* ). A much later contribution of the Hebrews was, of course, that of Jesus. (More on early writing in Chapter 4.) The Urban Revolution, the perfection of writing, and the spiritualization of religion are on the steepest part of the growth curve from rank 1 to rank 2--from 7000 to 3000 years ago. In the 5th century BC, Athens had its Golden Age: sculp- ture, architecture, drama, and government were great. They had obtained most of the achievements in technology that preceded them, and added their own. We still perform their plays and imitate their columns and facades--but it is more important that we still hold more or less the same concept of rationality. Socrates (470?-399 BC), Plato (427-347 BC), and Aristotle (384- -322 BC) discovered cognition. Put in the usual terms, they invented philosophy. Put the Golden Age of Greece on the growth curve just at the point where it stops rising and goes level. Braidwood (1952; see MESOBIBL* ) sees this whole curve as a single phenomenon. Foragers settle down as farmers and gradually add town life, markets, and organized religion. (I rely on Redfield 1953 for this summary, p. x, n2; see Po12BIBL* .) About antiquity, especially Greece, but omitting writing until Chapter 4, consult GREEBIBL* or Oleson* for bibliography. Just before the technology of rank 2 was made obsolete by the Industrial Revolution, Denis Diderot surveyed it in an illustrated encyclopedia (1751-1772). The growth curve from rank 1 to rank 2, with some periods of major events: .....Rank 2...... ...G.. ...M U.. UU U U UU AUU aAAA aaaaa .....Rank 1...aa | | | | | | | | | 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 Thousand years ago a: Agriculture begins A: Agriculure spreads U: Urban Revolution M: Moses G: Golden Age of Greece I will summarize the major events of the rankshift from 2 to 3 in an appendix to Chapter 4 ( 4_A_R23* ), but one is enough for now. And of course even this first and simplest rankshift is an enormous phenomenon. The creators of rank 2 civilization made something out of nothing, and for that reason they deserve the highest admiration. Yet at its best, rank 2 was unable to think of reasons for giving up slavery, ending warfare, or admitting that the powerless had any rights at all. As I write, the issue of political correctness arouses strong feelings in many persons, and with it the question of whether to teach the writings of "Dead White European Males" in preference to the writings of others. The ancient Hebrews and Greeks were the first who might, by the broadest definition, be called DWEMs. They introduced the concepts of spirit and of rational analysis, and no one else did. Subsequent rankshifts were made by persons who were adept in these concepts; we may well suppose that the later rankshifts _required_ those concepts. If that be true, then those particu- lar DWEMs were unique and essential. But they were not perfect, they were not of a nature superior to ours. If we give them the respect and attention they deserve, but no more, we should have room in our curricula to recognize other contributors, and in our lives to make our own contributions. 2.2.2. Paradigm Change Thomas S. Kuhn gave the word "paradigm" a new meaning in the history of science, and a vogue; the word is now used by everyone in Kuhn's sense. But perhaps not exactly his sense. What he wrote, in _The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_ (1962), was: "... a set of recurrent and quasi-standard illustrations of various theories in their conceptual, observational, and instrumental applications." (p. 43) Scientists of a given period and discipline do not write down their paradigm. They are not fully aware of it. They have to use illustrations, examples, to get their underlying ideas across. Neither the teacher nor the student can speak clearly of the paradigm, but after good training the student follows the same paradigm as the teacher. See PRDGMBIBL* . A scientist, then, is the living embodiment of a paradigm that determines what he or she will accept as a problem, as a solution. Not all scientists have the same paradigm, writes Kuhn. Paradigms are too specific to serve so widely. Each scientist embodies a paradigm in consequence of long experience, partly in formal education and partly in laboratory practise. No two have quite the same experience, so no two need have exactly the same paradigm. Since they are not aware of their paradigms, they cannot compare them as they would compare their theories. You can criticize another person's theory, because if it is not explicit enough to examine closely it is not a theory at all. But you can have, typically you do have, a paradigm that is not explicit at all. Anthropologists had been after the same idea. Ruth Benedict wrote a book called _Patterns of Culture_, and a pattern of culture is probably the same kind of thing as a paradigm. But Kuhn and not Benedict put the concept and a word into our common language. The idea of themata in science put forward by Holton is in the same vein (and see the discussion by Merton). See PRDGMBIBL* You can see that technology could have patterns or paradigms just as much as science does. Farmers learn as scientists do, and accept certain problems and solutions while rejecting others. A farmer puts up a scarecrow, but does nothing to frighten away airplanes even after one crashes in a neighbor's field and destroys a crop. Bridge builders accept and reject problems and solutions; would a contemporary engineer accept the job of building a bridge from New York to London? Now I want to go a little further, because I need a concept at a higher level. Take an American child in the late 20th century; put the child through good public schools and a good college; now offer the young person training in alchemy or psychology. Few will accept the first; many will accept the second. Why? Isn't psychology just as undisciplined a field of study as alchemy was at its peak? Psychology pays fairly well and offers a good many jobs, but that is not the point. Even if you establish a Foundation for the Advancement of Alchemy and offer lifetime fellowships, you will get few takers. Something in the educated modern mind rebels against alchemy (for example, the idea that material substances such as lead strive to become perfect), and it seems appropriate to call that something a paradigm. Alchemy and psychology have paradigms; now we encounter a paradigm that accepts and rejects the paradigms of alchemy and psychology as Kuhn's paradigms accept and reject problems and solutions. We will call this new something a _higher-order_ paradigm. Each rank has its higher-order paradigm. In China, at certain times and among certain groups, there was a rank 2 civilization that grew up almost independently of the west. Its higher-order paradigm was not identical with the European higher- order paradigm of rank 2, but we can safely assume that both China and Europe would reject rank 1 paradigms for serious matters. A little further on in this chapter, I will show you Raoul Naroll's list of _paideias_, China and the West being two of them. What was in his mind when he made it, I think, was that each paideia had its unique higher-order paradigm. You should be asking, about now, where on the growth curve the new higher-order paradigm appears. The finished version seems to appear on the shoulder, the top of the slope when the revolution is coming to an end. According to that view, a new higher-order paradigm formed in Greece during its Golden Age. But it seems to me that higher-order patterns must change a little at a time. Agriculture needs a different higher-order pattern from hunting and gathering. We can watch little-by- little changes going on all around us today, once we know what to look for. 2.3. FOUR RANKS 2.3.1. Knowledge. Lore, practice, engineering, systemics ... 2_3_1* 2.3.2. Materials. An example ... 2_3_2* 2.3.3. Paideias. Civilizations of Rank 2 and Beyond ... 2_3_3* 2.3.4. Antiquity, Renaissance, Industry, and Today. Creolization of cultures in contact ... 2_3_4* The means and quality of knowing change from rank to rank, and the range of materials changes likewise. Looking across civilizations and ranks, we see that rankshift typically comes when deeply different cultures meet. 2.3.1. Knowledge I love tools, as you would expect of a writer on technology. My computer monitor stopped working while I was writing the first draft of Chapter 1, and I replaced it instantly because I cannot write without it. But I love thought, and the cognitive tools of thought, even more. The changes in technology from rank to rank are wide and deep; they seem inexplicable without changes in thinking. For the kinds of thought that produce the technologies of the four ranks, for what I called know-how, Benzon and I have these names: Rank 1 Lore Rank 2 Practice Rank 3 Engineering Rank 4 Systemics ( Fig_2_1* shows some characteristics of lore, practice, engineering, and systemics, rank by rank. The content of the figure is speculative and a little more technical than the main narrative.) Let's look at the knowledge of each rank in turn. Rank 1 begins with speech and is transcended in classical antiquity. For the most part, rank 1 societies live by hunting and gathering. They make tools and weapons, houses and clothing, boats and ornaments. Almost nothing that they make has moving parts. For weaving, tie threads side by side along a stick and hang the stick from a tree. Pass another thread back and forth to make a strip of cloth. The potter's wheel appears late; it belongs on the growth curve toward rank 2. In the simplest societies, each man knows all of the men's skills and each woman knows all of the women's skills. In more complex societies of rank 1, some crafts require special skills. The number of specialties ranges up to 10 at most. Each specialty is passed from parent to child, although in some places a specialist may adopt and train someone else's child. Lore is the knowledge of an apprentice, acquired largely by imitation and practice with only a little talk about method. One theory has it that the date of the origin of language can be fixed by observing a change from stone tools that the apprentice can learn to make by imitation alone to more elegant tools that can be learned only by listening to explanations along with imitation. I won't vouch for the logic of this argument, but it is plausi- ble. Still, it can not displace the fact that most of the know- how in rank 1 is acquired by imitation; the talk is only to polish the fine details of the skill. Lore is the oldest kind of knowledge, and we need it today. What art can be mastered without imitation? Kuhn argues that even science requires imitative learning. Being knowledge we don't know we know, lore is hard for some to recognize. Zuboff* discusses the implicit skills of workers in modern plants at great length; her point is the undercutting of their skills by the introduction of computers. Gellner* also writes of lore: Modern society has many 'specialisms', but the few in agricultural society are more sharply distinguished. They are "fruits of lifelong, very prolonged and total- ly dedicated training ..." (p. 26) Two examples: 1842: Buddle writes that coal miners must begin work in mines from before age 13. They have to get a feel for the coal. HBC2 340 1780s: Operation of the mule can be learned in a few months, but maintenance takes several years. And only for those who grew up in the mill. Estimates by Harold Catling. TIRv 30 Growing up in mine or mill, one becomes a miner or miller just as one becomes a native speaker of English by growing up among speakers of English. Possessing the lore of mill or mine, the adult is no better able to teach it than the ordinary sapient can teach a language. Rank 2 in Europe begins on the growth curve described above and is transcended on another that will include the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. Rank 2 and all later ranks rely on agriculture (and animal husbandry) for most food. Rank 2 makes and uses simple machines, sometimes driven by water wheels or windmills, or turned by animals walking in circles around capstans or on treadmills. These machines grind grain, hammer iron, and eventually do many other tasks. As it happens, agriculture did not get much help from simple machines. The great bulk of a rank 2 population must therefore work on farms, plowing, planting, and harvesting the crops. Rank 2 produced many, many thinkers who looked at the work being done around them and wrote manuals describing agriculture, the making of machines, and other techniques. Chapter 1 mentions a manual from China. In 1122, a German Benedictine monk named Theophilus wrote _De diversis artibus_, "a religiously motivated codification of all the skills available for the embellishment of a church, from the enameling of chalices and the painting of shrines to the making of organ pipes and the casting of great bells for the tower. ... the first flywheels ... a new and cheaper way of making glass ...; the tinning of iron by immersion ..." ( MRTe* _, page 245. And there are hundreds or thousands more manuals. These are works that describe the best known way to do again what has been done before. The knowledge gained by studying them is more explicit than lore; call it practice. Rank 3 begins with the long growth curve of 1300-1900, and we are now watching its transcendance. Rank 3 built what and where no one had built before: Machines with thousands or tens of thousands of parts, performing all sorts of tasks on farms and in homes and factories. Tall buildings and long bridges, from the Arctic to the Tropics. To make a new kind of thing by following established practice does not succeed. Rank 3 was possible only because a new kind of knowledge arose, a new kind of thinking. Certain persons in rank 3 knew how to solve new problems. They published books and founded educational institutions to transmit this knowledge, and called their new system of thought engineering. A craftsman works on a thing; as he makes it, he encounters problems and solves them. An engineer works on an idea; as he thinks about it, he foresees problems and solves them, then gives his solutions to craftsmen to execute. His thinking has to be more abstract. Rank 4 is only now forming itself around and within us. The computer is its most obvious emblem and tool. Some computers have more parts than any machine of rank 3, millions or tens of millions ( 486* ). But more importantly, the design of a new computer is different from the design of a new bridge. For the engineer, the river already exists and so does the traffic. Persons and goods are moving in vehicles either by boat across the river or by highway in a roundabout route that uses an existing, smaller bridge than the new one will be. For the computer designer, nothing is given except everything. From very general knowledge of the universe, including us, and wide know- ledge of how computers are made, the designer invents the problem first and then the computing machine to solve it. We are trying still to understand what such a person needs to know, and what methods will be useful. We train electronic engineers, and mathematicians, and computer programmers. A few of the best of them then go beyond what they are taught to make innovations in the art of computation. For the emerging kind of thought that we expect to have wide application in the future, Benzon or I suggested the name systemics. Looking backward, we see that systemics will be of no use without engineering, which needs practice to get jobs done, which needs lore to fill in the innumerable details of working in the material universe. Looking forward, we see that lore is acquired so slowly that a person in rank 1 can master only one rich art in a lifetime, and the art cannot be so very rich at that. Manuals of practice let the student learn faster, but are good only within established limits; engineering reaches further, but the engineer cannot begin without a stated requirement. We need systemics, because we need people who can look around and perceive requirements that have been invisible to us. In an appendix, I have included a short statement that I prepared for a course on cognition. You may want to concern yourself with the way changes in cognition from rank to rank can be correlated with changes in technology; or you may not. If you read the appendix, be aware that its argument is speculative in the utmost extreme. (Benzon and I have published a paper on ranks of cognition; see COGNBIBL* ). 2.3.2. Four Ranks of Materials We have seen some examples of change from rank to rank, but with each example we have more ideas to apply and more background to help us understand. Thinking about the materials used in the four ranks will give us a chance to see how lore, practice, engineering, and systemics generate technological change. RANK 1. Materials are used as they are taken from nature, with few exceptions. In this section, we ask only about changes of substance. Spinning and weaving, cutting, and assembly of parts are changes of form, not substance. The original great exception, then, is cooking. Claude Levi-Strauss, a French anthropologist, had good reason to call one of his books _The Raw and the Cooked_ ( R&C* ), contrasting raw nature with culture. Two other exceptions, which may derive from cooking, are the preparation of leather and the firing of pottery. Untanned leather stinks and rots; tanning, you might say, cooks the leather. Unfired pottery is fragile and softens in water. These treatments are simple and obvious. Another rank 1 exception is work with ores to obtain metals. Some metals, such as gold and copper, occur free in nature but mixed with rock. Heat a rock containing gold in a hot fire, and some of the gold flows out. Is this a change of substance? Other exceptions arise. Dyes are leached out of plant or other matter. Sometimes poisonous parts of plants are made safe to eat by boiling in water and squeezing, as certain native Brazilians do with manioc. So a rank 1 society has vegetable and animal fibers, wood, stone, clay, shells, feathers, bones, and perhaps copper and gold to work with. Societies of this rank use water and fire to prepare food and sometimes other materials. RANK 2. Don't expect too much here. The most significant change for most societies of rank 2 is commerce. Trading in materials across wide areas greatly increases the diversity available to each society. Bleaching and dyeing are improved, but not greatly. Leather is surely better prepared. And the smelting of metals becomes common. First bronze, made by alloying copper with tin to harden it. Then iron, which occurs as oxide and has to be reduced by heating very hot with charcoal--the carbon wants oxygen more than the iron does, and takes it away. Iron was made by 3000 BC in small amounts (Maddin in GREEBIBL* ). Mining of coal began, but the main fuel for iron smelting in rank 2 England was still wood (charcoal) (Nef in InRvBIBL* ). Paper was produced in small quantities. Petroleum was extracted in very small quantities. The glazing of pottery seems to fall in rank 2. A most useful new material used in rank 2 societies was bird manure, which can be collected on certain desert islands remote from Europe. It contains phosphates and serves well as a fertilizer. In 1900, caliche--a mineral found in Chile--was the only material known to provide nitrogen for crops. To produce food, fabrics, leather, and metals in moderately large quantities, as rank 2 societies have had to do, they needed more than artisans trained by apprenticeship. They needed manuals of practice. The arts they applied were more complicat- ed, the contingencies more demanding. RANK 3. Engineering may not have introduced many new materials, or many important transformations of materials. The effect of engineering was to increase the abundance of the familiar ones. The steam engine made possible mining for coal on a large scale (Church, Jevons in InRvBIBL* ). Machine production of thread and cloth made it possible for many people to own more garments. Production of sulfuric acid increased, bleaches could be made cheaply in large quantity. The railroads needed iron; new processes came into use and iron became a cheap commodity. The ability to plan products and facilities, which is what I mean by engineering, delivers the goods in volume. But the world of materials is not so much changed since rank 1. RANK 4. Argue with me if you will, since I am not as sure as I would like to be about the analysis that I am about to present. It seems to me that although the major phenomena of 19th century Europe belong to rank 3, some rank 4 events took place. Notably, the development of an organic chemical industry in Germany (Clow in IR2BIBL* ). The aniline dyes were a new class of substances. After them, in several countries, came celluloid, bakelite, rayon, nylon, and polyethylene--and man-made ammonia, for fertilizer and military explosives, first produced in Germany in 1913. The growth curve reaches far into the 20th century, but seems to be connected all the way back to the first German inventions. We have, at last, a group of non-natural products. We also have a host of processes that transform substances by impregnating them with chemicals: no-rot wood, no-iron cotton, no-stain carpets, and so on. And other transformations such as ceramics that can serve as stove tops; ferrous metals that do not rust (easily); artificial diamonds; and on and on. Systemics, looking at the world in a broad way and asking, "What is both useful and possible?", comes up with surprises when it is supported by enough science. 2.3.3. Paideias: Civilizations of Rank 2 and Beyond Let my old friend, the anthropologist Raoul Naroll, explain his own concept: "By a paideia I mean an intellectually influential higher civilization. ... one with a written literature which has been extensively translated into another script and whose moral or scientific ideas have been advocated by writers in another script (i.e., belonging to another civilization)." ( MILDET* p. xxxi] Naroll sought out all the paideias in the history of the world, and found nine, displayed on the next screen. Naroll's Paideias Name Script Period 1. Mesopotamian Cuneiform 2500-600 BC 2. Egyptian Hieroglyphic 3000-600 BC 3. Hebrew Hebrew alphabet 900-600 BC 4. Islamic Arabic alphabet AD 600-present 5. Greco-Roman Greek alphabet 600 BC-AD 450 6. Western Latin alphabet AD 450-present 7. Russian Cyrillic alphabet AD 1350-present 8. Hindu Devanagari script 300 BC-present 9. Chinese Logographic script 600 BC-present [Names and scripts from MILDET* pages xxxiii-xxxv; dates from page 29.] Notice carefully that these are not governments. Each paideia may contain several governments at the same time, and many governments in succession. Egypt went through a long series of dynasties, and wars to determine who would found the next dynasty. China has had many governments, some established by invaders who, as is often remarked, were assimilated to the Chinese civilization. In Mesopotamia there were Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, and Chaldea--and more. India was not unified until the British came. Greece was a turmoil of small governments, and Rome conquered them--adopting their civilization. Look at Europe in modern times. In the west, the area from the North Pole to the southern edge of the Sahara, from the Atlantic to the Urals, the sequence of ranks runs from Egypt and Mesopotamia ( MESOBIBL* ), through the Hebrews and Greeks, to the Romans. With the fall of Rome, Europe declined to a sort of rank 1 life; only isolated remnants of rank 2 thought continued. In Byzantium and around it, rank 2 life went on. With the little Renaissance, around AD 1000, rank 2 returned to Europe. Then the big Renaissance started the growth curve to rank 3. I prefer to set the beginning of Western civilization with the Renaissance, later than Naroll put it; my choice corresponds to Kroeber's in his Roster* . Islamic civilization stands at rank 2, deriving from the Byzantine version of Greco-Roman thought. (References: ISLMBIBL* .) Russian civilization, which I would call Muscovite if I were allowed to give it a name (because it is centered on Moscow as the Roman Empire was centered on Rome), was at rank 2 until recently. Several czars brought ideas from the West, and the Soviet Union began quite early to import ideas from as far as America. The Hindu and Chinese civilizations developed from independent origins of agriculture. They rose to rank 2 in their own distinct ways, and to high rank 2. I have been told that I do not understand them well enough to place them correctly, that they reached rank 3, and that my idea of calculation as the pivotal cognitive phenomenon is mistaken Western prejudice. Perhaps. (See CHINABIBL* INDIABIBL* .) Of this much I am sure: The rapid passage of the West from rank 1 around AD 900 to rank 3 by 1800 owed much to borrowing. Both technology and mathematics flowed into Europe from Islam, India, and China. A number of routes were open. They may have been slow as trade routes, but as channels for ideas they worked much faster than new invention could have worked. Some of the paideias produced prophets and philosophers whose names we know: Confucius in China, 551-479 BC approximately; Buddha in India, 563-483 BC approximately; the Greek philosophers that we have noted; Moses of uncertain date and Jesus, 4 BC-AD 29 approximately, among the Hebrews; Muhammad, AD 570-632. Of course there were many other prodigious contributors to the growth of thought in each civilization. A question that often arose in my mind over the years was, what filled the parts of the Earth that did not belong to one or another of the civilizations? By 10,000 years ago, the Earth was full of people, still living from plants and animals that they found growing in nature. By 2000 years ago, Eurasia and Africa had almost filled with farmers. In the Arctic, in mountains, in deserts, and in tropical forest there were still hunters and gatherers; in Australia and the Americas, there was not yet agriculture--or only a little. By AD 1500, when Europe began to explore the rest of the world, there were civilizations at or near rank 2 in part of America; but societies and governments of rank 2 and rank 3 did not by any means cover the Earth. The answer to my question was simple enough: There was a little of everything in the areas that were not up to rank 2 yet. There were areas where families lived as independent political units, and areas of agriculture organized into independent villages, chiefdoms, kingdoms, and small states. The trouble is, there were so very many independent units, and each of them so very small. We have names for between 4000 and 10,000 languages, but we can reasonably surmise that at least as many more have vanished without a trace. If we had a list of all the political units of chiefdom size or larger, gathered from every available source, we would still know that very many more had flourished and disappeared before anyone could write down their names. For a map of the Earth in the year 1500: Hewes* If I could, I would draw material for this book from all of Naroll's nine paideias, and from preliterate cultures as well, in proportion to their technological richness. But until recently American scholarship did not give as much attention to eight of the paideias as to its own, and I am a product of American culture. Even now, of course, America does not draw on all cultures fully. But there are further difficulties. Archeologi- cal work in China has lagged. The soil and climate of India do not preserve the remains of older cities and farms as well as the dry climate of Iraq and Egypt, or the cold climate of the north. We will hear more of rankshifts in the West than of those else- where, by necessity and not by choice. Figure 2.2 ( Fig_2_2* ) shows a few major events from each paideia in chronological order. 2.3.4. Antiquity, Renaissance, Industry, and Today Ancient history is generally told as the story of the birth of civilization. That is to say, the events from the origins of agriculture and government in the Nile Valley and Mesopotamia to the fall of Rome are treated as the growth curve from rank 1 to rank 2. We should tell the stories of ancient China and India, of the Andean people, of the Mayas, and of the Valley of Mexico people in the same way. General references for prehistory: ARCHBIBL* On Greece and Rome: GREEBIBL* On the Maya and the Aztecs: MaAzBIBL* . In each of these ancient civilizations, technology surpassed the standard of the hunter-gatherers. A greater proportion of the population practiced a greater variety of technical specialties, producing more kinds of things of better quality. But I am sure that in Greece and Rome, and I am fairly sure that in the other early civilizations, the making of things was not respected as much as it is among us today. (The peak may have passed, the 19th century may have respected technological success more than we do.) In other words, the higher-order paradigms of the Greeks, the Romans, and the rest excluded technology from the purest reality. I give you an example. The Romans built a few water mills, and continued to grind almost all of their grain by hand. Why? If you ask the historians, they explain that the Romans had too many workers and not enough work. That "explanation" does not sound to me like a real explanation. The historians who use it have never heard of higher-order paradigms. They want a practical reason for the failure to exploit and develop labor-saving devices. Now, it may well be true that certain Roman rulers said to certain Roman innovators, "I don't want your mill, I want more work for the unemployed who only become trouble makers if they are unoccupied for too long." But a ruler who had a taste for machines would not say that, even though it were true. We today go on building labor-saving machines, even though they tend, at one and the same time, to produce > a surplus of uneducated persons without work > a shortage of educated persons to use the new machines If we were practical, we would not do that. Lately I read that the USA lags Europe in retail-sales automation, perhaps for the practical reason that we have plenty of persons who will work for minimum wage as retail sellers. I predict that we will go ahead with automation and increasing technological unemployment, because we are machine-minded. And I am convinced that the Ancients were not, although they could have been. White, in _Medieval Religion and Technology_ ( MRTe* ) , argues that Europe then understood God as a clockmaker, thinking of the Universe as a great Mechanism and every earthly mechanism as a good thing inasmuch as it was done in the manner of God's own work. Braudel, in his economic history ( FBCC* 2:578), tells us that in Florence, in a single century--the Quattrocento, or 1400s--people changed from disdain for earthly things and a hope of paradise to an interest in their well-being here and now--not without a hope of heaven, but in the belief that God wanted them to have as much of a foretaste as they could get. And so they invented "a new art of living" and, moreover, "new ways of thinking". Florence produced Benvenuto Cellini, a system of commerce that brought good things from as far away as they could reach ... and a new beginning for science and technology. Braudel gives credit to Sombart, who wrote on the history of capitalism around 1900. "Sombart finds ... a new climate: praise of money, recognition of the value of time, the need to live thriftily--all good bourgeois principles in the first flush of their youth." ( FBCC* 2:579; and see SCIBIBL* ) What happened? How can a higher-order paradigm change so much in so little time? Historians always point to the renewed availability of Greek and Roman writings, and to contact with Islam and the Asian civilizations. Here I agree with them that contact is important, but for reasons that I do not see in history books. Some linguists believe that big changes in language occur only when different languages come into contact; their name for the process of mixing that then occurs is "creolization"--Creole is a particular mixture of French with African languages. And I think that higher-order paradigms change most readily, and perhaps only, when cultures come into contact. Indeed, the contact may be tenuous: "But quite often ... the achievements of one society stimulated people elsewhere to make different but related inventions. "Just the knowledge that Indians could spin fine cotton yarns, weave delicate fabrics, and dye them with bright and fast colors ..." stimulated work in Europe. (Pacey 1974, p. vii in BIBLNOTE* ) At the time of the rankshift from rank 1 to rank 2, many rather advanced rank 1 cultures came into contact around the eastern end of the Mediterranean ( Gordon* ). There were migra- tions into the area from several places in Eurasia. But later, Roman culture had absorbed what it could from the others, and stood alone. There was at the time no other rank 2 culture for it to mix with. By the Renaissance, rank 2 cultures from several sources had achieved contact with each other. Partly it was a matter of getting out old manuscripts and translating them into the language of the day, and partly it was a matter of bringing home what the traders found at the ends of their long journeys. The people of northern Europe were more interested in machines than the older Mediterranean cultures had been. "although the barbarian peoples derive no power from eloquence and no illustrious rank from office, yet they are by no means considered strangers to mechanical inventiveness where nature comes to their assistance" (Anonymous Roman, AD 370; see LSDC* ) In 1235, a sketch was made of a sawmill that correlated two motions: The spin of the blade and the lengthwise movement of the log. No machine like this is known from earlier date ( MRTe* 80). Machinery became elaborate where Germanic and Mediterranean cultures were in contact. So I think that the formation of the original Greco-Roman higher-order patterns, and the formation of the later Western patterns, took place under conditions of culture contact. The Industrial Revolution, which began in the late 18th century, was like the Roman Empire--a culmination, made in fairly strict isolation. It happened in Great Britain, specifically in England and Scotland, and overflowed onto the continent, Europe and also America. At the end of World War I in 1918, Britain had lost world leadership, both politically and technologically. By perfecting its craftsmanship, with only a little application of science, Britain had invented the industrial system. But it had neglected science and education, and held firmly to a pattern of governance that came from rank 2. Meanwhile, in America, something different had happened. Our ancestors here arrived from many places. They came from several parts of Europe, all of them Western but having slightly different versions of the Western higher-order paradigm. They also came from Africa, and--by the middle of the 19th century-- from Asia. And some were descended from Americans who had been here for thousands of years. America became a melting-pot quite early in its modern history. Furthermore, the dominant Westerners in America believed in education. First for religious reasons--to read the Bible, and to have learned preachers. Second for political reasons--so that the voters would understand the issues of government. Not all Americans held these values, and those who held them did not believe that all Americans need be educated, but education did spread. A national movement led to almost universal elementary education in the 1830s and 1840s--universal for whites, that is. The Morrill Act supported the creation of colleges for agricul- ture and mechanics in the last quarter of the century--it gave grants of land. See EDUCBIBL* . The contrast between Britain and America is sharp. Britain did not want the working class to be educated, lest it become dissatisfied with its place in the world. In fact, it seems to me that Great Britain lost the 20th century around 1800 (1790- 1820). Mechanization of the textile industry frightened the workers. The beginning of science frightened the religious. Loss of the American colonies frightened the government. The French Revolution frightened everyone. Science was radical enough to be associated in the public mind with revolution. Education of the people was considered to promote radicalism. So Great Britain did not extend education at any level very widely. See Argles, Russell in EDUCBIBL* . Early in the 19th century, the USA stole the beginnings of industrial technology from Britain, soliciting the illegal emigration of expert craftsmen and smuggling plans and machines that Britain protected with laws, as the USA today protects nuclear technology and advanced computers (Harper, Jeremy in XFERBIBL* ). By 1851, Britain was buying technology from the USA (Rodgers, Rosenberg in XFERBIBL* ). By 1900, Kipling was asking America to pick up the white man's burden because Britain could no longer carry it. In my view, what happened was that an industrial revolution based on science took place in America after the Industrial Revolution based on craftsmanship took place in Britain. Ours perhaps included some of the early part of the growth curve from rank 3 to rank 4. Theirs was the last part of the growth curve from rank 2 to rank 3. Ours continued rising far into the 20th century; theirs turned flat by 1900, and we can argue for an earlier date. In the 1990s, we have gotten so far along that no higher- order paradigm of a rank 3 kind is acceptable to those who have recently completed a good education, but no pattern of a rank 4 kind is strong enough to rely on. We feel the effects in many ways, and they are uncomfortable. Some among us would actually accept a fellowship in alchemy, feeling that a rank 2 pattern is no more obsolete than one of rank 3. Sorry, but there is nothing I can write that will solve this problem. If you agree with my analysis and feel less uncomfortable because you can now say what is wrong, I am glad. But the rank 4 pattern will emerge, if at all, from the spontaneous and unconscious workings of many minds, and not from the writings of one thinker. 2.A. Appendix: Processes and Tech Evol Contents of Thought In rank 1, thought is analogous to action, as observed in small children in contemporary life ( Vygotskij* ): I get on my tricycle. I push the pedals. I ride away. Such self-describing, self-guiding thoughts belong to a self- organizing system, and therefore constitute a medium in which training can be more than mere imitation, and one in which evolutionary improvements can occur. The beginnings of tool making, plant growing, and group organizing must occur in this way, without analytic guidance. Thought guides action, but thought does not guide thought. The abstractions of rank 1, expressed in metaphors and proverbs, are as spontaneous as the concrete objects that emerge by virtue of abstraction in the visual field. On the growth curve to rank 2, at the level we call 1.5, the transfer of knowledge from one material domain to another has come to be substantial. The most important mechanism of transfer from tool making to agriculture, from both to society, from family to petty kingdom, can only be the mechanism of metaphors and proverbs. In rank 2, the processes of thought are analogous to first- order relations over the concrete materials of action. Cognitive theory provides several kinds of first-order relations, among which each culture can make its own selection. The cultures that reached this rank independently are those of the Hebrews, Greeks, Hindus, and Chinese, and the West in the little renaissance. I am not capable of identifying the cognitive relations chosen in most of these, but for the Greeks I believe that the relation of assignment was dominant, and in the later West the relation of participation. (Assignment is the relation of the Aristotelean "rational soul" to the animal, resulting in a sapient; participa- tion is that between a thing and an event ("John runs" or "Mary eats apples".) In consequence, the ontology of Greek thought was that of ideal entities, whereas the West created an ontology of real events. In this and following ranks, the processes of thought at the highest level remain just as spontaneous and undirectable as the processes of rank 1. But from rank 2 forward a certain degree of deliberateness emerges. By isolating thought from action, and by designing a new mode of conversation--the Socratic dialogue--the Greeks made the most of this capacity. But the assignment relation offers little to simple technologies, and the ontology of ideal entities even less. All in all, the Greeks separated their philosophy from their technology--and then gave positive value to the separation, disdaining the practical arts. The Romans and others who continued the Hellenistic culture were less disdainful of practical affairs, but they inherited the relation and the ontology and could do little with them. Some deliberate description, management, and improvement of mechanical and agricultural arts occurred in antiquity, but so little and so slowly as to make it clear that the processes of thought were not well adapted to the purpose. The originators of rank 2 culture in the West after AD 1000 had access to Germanic cultures of rank 1 or 1.5, as well as what little of Hellenistic culture they had retained--or the larger portion that they regained by way of Islam. That they chose participation instead of assignment is interesting, but for me almost entirely inexplicable. Perhaps there are explanations to be found, in the grammars of the Greek and Germanic languages for example, or perhaps not: Sometimes a road is taken at random. And it is quite thinkable that not all of the West chose the same relation, since the appearance and continuation of mysticism in the same populations that carry scientific and technological culture could be ascribed to differences as fundamental as this one. Art and religion reached new heights along with machinery, and may be further examples of diversity in processes of thought within the larger culture. As the Renaissance began, the West had achieved rank 2.5. That is to say, the products of deliberate thought about one matter were being applied wholesale to other matters through metaphorical correspondences. Rank 3 thought is at the level of second-order relations, which means that Renaissance thinkers could operate deliberately on relations among events; in language, intersentence connec- tions. The one that had the greatest significance for the future of the West was causality. Because the highest level of thought processes cannot be controlled, the scientific revolution could not explain its concept of causation adequately. But it could operate in accordance with the principle, and build theories. Science, as practiced through the late 19th century, used an ontology of microscopic concrete entities: Molecules, atoms, electrons. Causality in physics and chemistry was understood in terms of contact between entities. Light was thought to be carried as waves in a material ether. The growth curve toward rank 4 can be seen in attempts to transfer concepts metaphorically from astronomy to physics, from the hard sciences to the human sciences, and so on. But electromagnetic radiation proved not to belong to a world of concrete entities and material ethers. The phenom- ena were not only invisible but also ineffable. Reaching the level of third-order relations, rank 4 thought became capable of operating on causal structures. Relativistic physics, quantum mechanics, metamathematics, and cybernetics are major examples of intellectual structures of this rank. The ontology required for such conceptual formulations is perhaps that of fields; but I do not feel confident of my own understanding here.
[Mind-Culture Coevolution Home] [Tech Evol Contents]
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