What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word technology?
Well, all that’s really cool, but there is so much more to technology beyond your typical sci-fi. Hang around for a bit, and I’ll tell ya.
The first known use of the word technology was in 1829, in the midst of the First Industrial Revolution, just as the factory system was burgeoning, and smokestacks of factories were slowly encroaching on the vast empty skylines of humble towns.
Great. Sounds like everything you’d think of when someone says the word technology. But surely, technology didn’t just randomly appear out of thin air during the industrial revolution? Of course, it didn’t. Believe it or not, technology has always been with mankind in one form or the other, only its role in society has changed over the centuries. So, if you’re ready, I am. Let’s take a little walk down memory lane.
Not mine. I’m not that old.
I’m talking about the collective memory lane of the human species if you haven’t guessed.
Right. So, the word technology comes to us from the combination of the Greek words: techne (meaning art or skill) and logos (meaning: an expression of inner thought). Thus, the bare-bones definition of technology is the art or method of expressing one’s inner thoughts. An early form of which can be seen in the ancient cave paintings that have survived the test of time. Today they look primitive, and definitely not worth being categorized as technology, but I want you to think for a minute; think about the people who made them and their environment.
Consider that in an era, where people did not have permanent shelters or definite means of finding food, someone took the time to mix a bunch of chemicals together and paint shapes on a stone wall; shapes that meant something. In caves such as the ones in Lascaux, France, the paintings are so high up on the walls, that they could not have been painted on without erecting some sort of scaffolding. And surely enough, traces of such a scaffolding can be seen even today. So, along with the flint knives and spears of stone-age man, these paintings found all over the world serve as an excellent example of the earliest form of technology mankind has ever known, and from then on, we have been on a rollercoaster that only goes up. (Bonus points if you get the reference.)
As the civilization experiment turned out to be successful, technology took on a completely different role in society. It was no longer painting on cave walls to tell stories, or ensure successful hunts, or creating stone implements to maul bears and mammoths with. Man could now farm and raise animals, and control food quite literally. And how exactly did that happen? Why, technology, of course.
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