a perspective on the pace of evolution
Added on 22 Apr 2017
Watched 3,349 times

I think archaeology does genuinely give us a perspective. It gives us some impressions of how humans have interacted with the world. And there are lots of things we don't understand very well. We really don't understand very well how the belief systems of humans, including the specific religions, how those have structured or shaped the environment in which individual communities have developed.
But certainly, if we look at the pace of things, using archaeology, we can see how the pace of things has quickened in various ways. I think it's true that we don't really understand still very well what the relationship is between the development of new technologies and the existing social order.
Some social environments seem to have been very fruitful for the development of new technologies. Ancient Greece was an example of that, where the thought was enormously sophisticated, even though the ancient Greeks didn't actually apply things in a very striking way. We admire them for their thought, and yet they didn't do very much from the technological point of view that amazes us, really. And that is partly perhaps because their science didn't mesh very well with their technology. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that that match was effected.
So I guess there are lessons to be learnt in the relationship between the science and the technology and the social context and the belief system in which these things work together. It would be very interesting to get to know more about Maya science and technology. I think we have lost a great deal in the Western world by the loss of the wisdom and the skills of the Meso-American societies and the South-American societies. On the other hand, the wisdom of ancient China has not been lost, because we have the written records, it's a continuous civilization, even though the temporary Chinese society doesn't lay all that much emphasis on the wisdom of ancient China: They feel they have turned over a new leaf, it's a new world and so on. But there must be a great deal to learn there. And I think there is a great deal to learn from those early societies of the Americas, which seem so strange to us, so different, and yet so complicated. There must be a lot to learn from them.

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