From Wodehouse to Wittgenstein: Essays

From Wodehouse to Wittgenstein: Essays

From Wodehouse to Wittgenstein: Essays

From Wodehouse to Wittgenstein: Essays

Synopsis

Anthony Quinton's sparse text sets him apart as an elegant writer who engages the reader pleasurably, as he addresses some of the central political, philosophical and religious issues of our day.

Excerpt

The most important event in the history of mankind since the neolithic revolution which turned human beings into farmers is industrialisation. It began in a small way in Britain in the middle of the eighteenth century, transformed Europe and North America in the nineteenth century and continues to develop explosively in technological sophistication and geographical range today. Eight or nine thousand years ago our species began to give up the hunting and food-gathering on which, like other animals, it had relied for subsistence since its inception perhaps a hundred thousand years before.

In broad terms the industrial revolution reproduces many of the novel features of its predecessor. First of all, each has made possible a vast increase in human numbers by enlarging the supply of food. Secondly, each has drawn people closer together: once in villages and market towns; now in great urban centres. The original agricultural surplus allowed for a division of labour which separated specialists in learning, religion and warfare from the general productive mass. Industrialisation has gone some way in the opposite direction with universal education and the mass, conscript army. But at each stage mankind has become less exclusively bound to satisfying the requirements of subsistence.

Industrial technology is a Western invention. I mean by Western here 'of European origin' and intend it to cover Russia as well as the West as it is defined in current political discourse. It remained a complete Western monopoly until comparatively recent times. Aspects of it were imposed marginally on India, particularly in the form of a railway system, by the British colonial rulers and it is still only weakly installed there now that they have left. In China, much less thoroughly colonised, it was even more superficial until resolutely imposed at the command of rulers professing an imported Western ideology. Japan adopted it with enthusiastic vigour a hundred years ago, without a major break in the continuity of its culture, and has become today the world's economically most successful power. But the West is still dominant as a source of new . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.