Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time.... it can take a bit.....

It took humans 500 years to figure out the circulatory system in the body. And over the course of those 500 years corpses and live humans bore the brunt of our scientific research. From the idea that the body was divided into “good” and “bad” humors and their imbalance caused illnesses. Then on to the idea that blood was digested food moving throughout the body. The misunderstanding became medicine of the times and leeches or other tools were used to bleed or restrict the flow of blood with dire consequences. The big breakthrough was the discovery of capillaries and it took a lot of seeming random discoveries and technologies over time to get there. I bring this up in order to illustrate the notion of research, discovery and the duration of journeying to a deeper understanding of something. To know something takes time, observation, patience, experiment, the willingness to make mistakes and great discoveries.

In the last 40 years of my life the telephone has changed. It has gone from hanging on the kitchen wall central to everyone and allowing for no privacy to something in your pocket that completely disregards privacy. Computers were large monsters that crunched equations at university campuses and now we can hold one in the palm of our hand. Photography was once dominated by light, film and the potions of developer, stop and fix baths. It now creates images in an instant with tiny pixels and software.

All this evolution in 40 years got me thinking about how we learn over time.

The ancient Egyptians were mud brick builders for a long time. And at some point they turned to building with stone. This was no small task and it took great effort to learn and acquire the skills to create giant works that we now visit as sacred sites. Yet it appears they grasped these skills in about 200 years and then perfected theses skills to create beautiful temples, pyramids and other wondrous things. Now, there are some who look at this and say it was impossible for them to have learned in such a short time these skills…. They must have had help from unseen forces or aliens or whatever. It fact we cannot replicate the engineering it took to move the large blocks of stone.

Yet if we think about it, if we focus our mind with a strong will we can do about anything. When President Kennedy started the space program he said we would have a man on the moon in 10 years… and we did. We have searched for an inoculation for Polio and Small pox and have succeeded in keeping these diseases from taking so many lives. We can now perform surgeries with minimal entry into the body.

Because of our understanding of the world we are moving into another wave or era. Some might call it the “Plastic” Age considering this is the material of the time and in keeping with the labeling such as Bronze Age or Industrial Age. Some might call it the “Technology” Age or if your of a darker more depressed mind set the Age of Destruction because we’re struggling with the by-products of our technology.

To give it some perspective… the ancient Egyptians had to figure out how to feed, water, remove human waste and manage millions of workers. It hasn’t changed much in fact it remain pretty much the same. We now have some different more enduring waste to figure out.

No comments:

Post a Comment