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THE  GENIOUS  OF  A  PEOPLE

The Industrial Revolution in the history of Man

 

 

FROM   THE   PREFACE

 

  There are some historical processes, like the ones we are going to deal with here, which cannot be explained exaustively only with the immediate and contingent causes of the period in which they have come to maturity. The processes that have revolutionised man's way of life, that have changed his mentality, his psychology, his behaviours, his habits and that represented a turning point not only for the nation that developed them, but also for the entire humanity , that  was the true and ultimate beneficiary, need a wider and deeper explaination  just because they may be defined as the produt of man as species and not of the people that was on the front stage when they  were developed.

...

  This book is meant to be a history of a people - the English one - in a particular moment of its existence. The moment when it had the capability of putting itself at the head of humanity in order to reach two new attainments: the representative form of parliamentary  government and the Industrial Revolution ...(p. 9).

 

 

FROM  THE  INTRODUCTION

 

    All  the states of the modern world are founded on two fundamental structures: the representative form of parliamentary government (or political structure)... and the system of industrial production (or economic structure)...

 

      Both these structures, that have revolutionised man's life, were the final product of a single nation: England. Why were the English  that gave to the modern world those two structures and not another European contemporary people, which was partaking of the same civilization? What had the Europe of the XVIII century, of whose civilization England was the advanced point, that made her to succeed  where no other civilization of the past or contemporary had succeeded ?

    It is not sufficient to say that parliament was a widespread institution in medieval Europe and that only in England it found a fertile ground that made it grow as we know it to-day. One need say why, beyond the physical and political factors, this fertile ground could be found only in England and not also in Spain, where representative parliament was born, or in France, where the modern Cabinet Government was born.

   It is not sufficient to say that the Industrial Revolution was developed in England because that country had a favourable political system, a favourable geographical position, a deep experience in foreign trade, a favourable policy of free home trade, an accentuated population growth and a relative abundance of energy supply. One need say why all these conditions, taken by themselves, did not give birth to an industrial society in other civilizations of the remote or  recent past  and, on the contrary  created it in  England in the XVIII-XIX century ( p.15\16).

...

   Europe has been the melting pot of all the ideas, of all the technics and of all the inventions that had been produced by the preceding  and contemporary civilizations, and her product was superior to and qualitatively different from the single parts she borrowed: a man with a more sophisticated and better structured mind.  The birth of the Industrial Revolution and of the representative form of parliamentary government was not determined by the favourable geographical and political factors taken by themselves. They were the product of that new European man, a man who had a thirst for knowlodge,  who was eager to go to the school of the world in order to learn all that had been produced in the far and recent past and to build on it the future, his own and that of all mankind. And that better structured mind, which had been common to all the peoples who created an original civilization  ( Greeks and Renaissance), was peculiar, almost exclusively, as we shall prove, to the Englishman, who, fighting on the battle grounds, was able to preserve, and to raise to unknown before peaks, both the parliamentary institutions, that had disappeared in the rest of Europe, and the freedom of  selfdetermination   that those institutions garanteed (p. 17/18)

...

     Starting fron the XI century and until the beginning of the XX, the history of the world has been the history of Europe that was able to create a civilization that permeated of itself all the new continents and  imposed itself pacifically in alla corners of the worls thanks to its aknowledged superiority. And, inside this civilization, England represents the final and culminating stage, thereafter the leadership will be taken by another nation of a wider civilization, the Western one, that inglobates also Europe, but in a subordinated and gregarious position (p. 19).

...

      Man is the product of the evolution of the living forms on our planet. He comes from far, nay from very far, and, in his actual form, he is relatively recent (p. 42)...

...

      Primitive man, since Neanderthal man, and  modern man have had anatomically and biologically the same potentialities. But primitive man could not exploit them because he had no data (experiences and acquired knowledges), without which the specialization of his brain was impossible. His brain was a tabula rasa where the data that he progressively accumulated was being written.

   The History of man has been the history of this accumulation which made it possible a further specialization of his intellectual capabilities. Man learned to dominate the physical world not through the strength of his muscles, but through the power of his intelligence. And his intelligence consisted and consists in the fact that he became and becomes progressively able to utilize, always at a different level, the accumulated data  in order to solve his material and intellectual problems. But, in order to reach his present power, he had to take a long walk in history. For thousands of years he  piled up data (long period of accumulation,  which corresponds, more or less, to primitive man and to  Ancient Near East  civilizations). Later, he learned, with the Greeks, to organize rationally that data  and therefore he  developed a mental strucutre that enabled him  to produce the first great rielaborations and the first great generalizations of history  which laid the foundantions of thought for the incoming man; at last, in modern times, he learned, through the organised trasmission of knowlwge and the invention of the scientific method, to utilize that data still at a higher and different level and he produced a knowledge fall out  that have allowed him not only to dominate the physical world, but also to cast himself into the cosmos in order to search for the ultimate truth of his existence and that of the universe (pp. 45-46).

...

      History tells us that man has gone through a mental evolution that took him from an almost blank mind, without any acquired konwledge, when he acted under the impulses of fear and sentiment, to a very deep knowledge. History tell us moreover  that that evolution took place in millions of years: from the man who worked the first stone  to the man who moves to the conquest of space in the era of artificial intelligence. This evolution at first was very slow, almost imperceptible. For millions of years, man, though he had a brain biologically identical to that of modern man, went on using almost exclusively the paleobrain and the overlapped one of the first mammals. The new brain, the neocortex, that was to prove to be the seat of the universe of human things, was there, ready to be used, but it was not. Only slowly, man has learned  to acquire his konwledges, to organize them,  to rationalize them and to grow, for this very fact, in his mental structure. This growth, as far as we know, has sped up in the latest six thousands years, from when there appeared what we call the civilised man, the historical man, the founder of the first great civilizations (pp. 47-48)...

...

     It has been the need to understand the outside world,  together with the need to solve problems as they presented themselves, without undervaluing the need to satisfy one's own  curiousity, that has created that activity of the mind, without which it is impossible to have any development, and that made it possible the accumulation of a bulk of knowledge that, raising constantly the level of his mental structure, has given to man, in modern times, that onnipotence that he had confusedly attributed to himself in the pre-logical stage of his historical development. And this revendication of onnipotence will take place in England, starting from the late decades of the XVI century, with Francis Bacon, even though the instruments will be prepared by others (p. 55)...

 ...   

     The European civilization, of which England is part, is the offspring of the social legacy of man, who has realized himsel in history. In the XVI century of our era, in England there were the conditions for the coming into being of a new man, but as old as history, who was to take into his hands the destiny of mankind in order to lead it towards a new and unthinkable attainment: the total subversion of the social and productive organization, which had been existing since prehistoric times, and the instauration of a new system of production, the industrial one, that would change  the face of the world (p. 61).

 

 

FROM   CHAPTER  ONE

The long walk of Man

 

      Thinking has been a relatively recent conquest in the history of man. The man who came out of the animal world did not possess it. He acted under the impulses of the primeval instincts (paleobrain) or of the emotions and feelings (mammal brain). Thinking will come when man will acquire the capacity-ability to organize the imitations and the interiorized actions in mental images in order to create some messages; that is, when man develops the capacity to organize a basic language, made of subjects, actions, attributes, etc., developing in this way a brain activity unkown before, to which nowdays we give the name of mind. It is from this moment that the dicothomy brain-mind comes into being.

       In the history of man, this organization of the information has been attained at different levels: from the simpler one, the sensomotory one of primitive man, to the more complexe, the formal operations one of contemporary man. That is why we speak of levels of mental structures or intelligence.

       The history of man has been the history of the evolution of these levels of mental structures. All the attainements of man have been closely and tightly bounded to his intellectual capacity. His capacity of coordinating his movements when he became bepedal, the scratching of the first stone in order to make a tool, the invention of the lance or of the arch for the big game, the invention of agriculture and of earthenware, etc, all represent stages in the evolution of his intellectual capacity (pp. 64-65)

 

 

FROM  CHAPTER  TWO

The discovery of the individue

 

      The Greeks, in a certain way, did as the English will do later on, who will become globetrotters in order to see  the attainments of  other peoples. The Greeks went to the school of the world as pupils, and the world then known was the Ancient Near East,  in order to become masters and  produce the Greek miracle . The English will go to the school of the world as pupils, and the world then known was the rest of Europe, in order to become masters and produce a new civilization: the industrial one.

      The Greeks were great travellers. All the principal thinkers of Ionia and mainland Greece made their journey (the grand tour of the English) to the land of the ancient civilizations (Babylon and Egypt)  and inside the powerful rising civilization: Persia. They went there as pupils, even if they never told, with the programmed aim to konw the world and learn everything, just as the English will do later on with the rest of the world. These men had the advantage of not being conditioned by the collective psychology of the existing  cultural paradigm and therefore their learning could be a critical one. As newcomers, they examined everything in the light of reason and they saw what those who lived inside the paradigm could not see.

      The Greeks were original, non because they were the beginners of the knowledge of man, because this is not true, but they were original because they were first able to learn, now we are sure, as good pupils, all that other peoples had created of good and then they were able to utilize the data the ancient civilizations had accumulated and to put it into a new and different order  establishing new connections with the tools of the rational thinking that in the meantime they had developed. That is what  their originality was, and this  was also the originality of the Italians of the Renaissance and will be the originality of the English of the Industrial Revolution (p. 107).

...    

       The Greeks  had two outlooks towards other peoples. In the period of their formation, they borrowed from all preceding civilizations, even if they never said it, but they were able to transform the borrowings  into an original Greek product. When, at last, they had created a new synthesis, a cultural paradigm of their own,  developing a new level of man's mental structure, they aquired a race pride that made them  shut themselves to any borrowing from outside, and the outside world became barbarian. A concept that was to be repeated by the Italians of the second Renaissance and by the English of the after Industrial Revolution.

     This same refusal  of any  idea , product or devise, that came from the outside world will be found in the later Renaissance and in the English of the XIX century. The genious of these two peoples (like that of the Greeks), their fundamental character, what has made their fortune, was the great receptivity they showed in the period of their formation. They, both, will prove to be great pupils and they both will go to the school of the world in order to learn all the knowledges that had been  produced and become masters in order to give  the world something new and different: the Renaissance civilization and the Industrial Revolution. The English, like the Greeks, will brand so markedly with the English genious all the borrowings from other peoples that, in the end, they will become a typical English product, hardly recognizable in their origin. Later on, they, too, like the Greeks,  will  develop that national pride, a superiority complex, and they will shut themselves to the outside world, considered barbarian, and this will be the starting point of their decay (pp. 109-110).

 

 

FROM   CHAPTER  THREE

The discovery of man and the disappearing of the individue

 

...

   Europe, contrary to what happened to Islam, did not experience a decline because she was not united politically, but was subdivided in many small nations that alternated to the  leadership of the cultural and scientific progress of the ampler geographical unity. This was the original sin of Islam: to the geographical unity  corresponded a political unity. When the second fell, with it fell also the impulse to the progress of science and knowledge. Europe, which was a reality of so many small separate and distinct political units in everlasting struggle between them (a sort of emulative competion similar to that of the Greek city-states), never experienced such a decline bacause the torch of the cultural and scientific progress shifted costantly from the declining unit to the nation that was on the avanguard at that moment.

    After the barbarian invasions of the V century A.D., the first nation that took the leadership, the first nation that became a centre of cultural aggregration, was the France of Charles the Great, who, even though he could neither write nor read,  called to his court scholars from all over Europe, and who, with his policy of establishing a school in every cathedral, prepared the ground for the Renaissance of the XII Century. From France the leadership shifted to the Germany of Ottons, they too emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. In the XII-XIII century  and the first half of the XIV, the cultural centres of Europe were England and again France, where the schools of Charles the Great had become forges of scholars. At last, in the second half of the XIV century it shifted to Italy that, with its flourishing towns and the renaissance of the study of law and medicine, had become the nation where culture, at last, had abandoned the cloister in  favour of the talented individual layman. In the last quarter of the XVI century, it crossed again the Italian borders in order to return again, through France and the Netherlands, to England , where in the meantime a new man was coming to life, a man who had put aside the caps of an almost exclusively intellectual culture  and was heading towards a pragmatic culture, where economy played a great role. The outstanding man of this new mental attitude will be Francis Bacon, who will synthetize the cultural foundations of a movement that will aim consciously, in the centuries to come, at making of man the new Adam. England, in this period, will work out the intellectual foundations of the great economic revolution that will upset the social and productive organization of the society which had been lasting since neolithic times: the world of land economy will be pushed in the back  and will come to the forefront that based on  industry. In this new world, social change will no longer be measured in thousands of years (as in Ancient Near East civilizations), nor in centuries (as in classical Greece), but it will be measured in tens of years  at edification of the power of man's intelligence (pp.160-161).

 

 

FROM  CHAPTER  FOUR

The return of the individue and the forge of the new era in the world

 

    While the scientific receptive capacity of the Greeks dried out and desappeared as soon as the new synthesis was produced, in Europe it will never desappear because it will shift from one nation to the other. When it will dry out in Italy (first half of the XVII century), England will take the stage (last quarter of the XVII century). When it will dry out in England (first quarter of the XVIII century), France will take the lead (XVIII century), and, at last, in the XIX century, the Germans will occupy the scene.

   Europe had the chance to act as a great geocultural area with a polycentric political reality. We can say that the conditions classical Greece experienced, when, in the same geocultural area, different quarrelsome political units were in eternal competition, happened to be present also in Medieval and Modern Europe in a wider dimension. The geocultural area was no longer a single nation, but a continent, and the political units were not city-states, but a series of quarrelsome nations. And in this different geocultural and political reality, there will come about a shift of leadership in the cultural, scientific and technological field. As long as there was to recover on the past, the political reality of the Italian Communes (similar to those of classical Greece)  will play an outstanding role because knowledge was an amaturial and individual fact, but, when the gap between  past and present had been filled, that is, when the European man will achieve the same mental structure of classical antiquity, having assimilated all their intellectual achivements, and knowledge in each single field had become wider and wider, the town and individual dimension was no longer sufficient and, for this reason, the leadership will shift to national political units that will institutionalize the research in the cultural and scientific field.

      The genious of the English, we will talk about in chapter VI, relied just on this: they will institutionalize the research and imitation (borrowing) and this will turn to be a progress respect to the Greeks, who borrowed individually but never told, to the Muslims who borrowed as a general philosophy of life, and to the Italian who introduced the individually programmed imitation. The institutionalization of research and borrowing will turn to be a higher form of imitation, and it will bear better results (pp. 174-175).

...

 

FROM   CHAPTER   FIVE

The new dimension of Man

 

   The changed philosophy of nature was the foreword to the development of modern science and it represented the final arrival to a problem that had haunted man since when he first appeared on earth. And it had been a long, difficult ad involving travel. At the first stop (prehistory and first civilizations of the Ancient Near East), man identified himself with the world of nature to which he partecipated; at the second stop (classical world), he became aware to be a reality to himself, but nature was stronger than him and, above all, it was unknownable; at the third stop (the christian West), he learned that nature had been created for him who could benefit of its fruits, could contemplate it as the most edificant work of its Creator, but he had no power over it: only its Creator or the Saint, as His go-between, could change its course; at the fourth stop ( Renaissance), he discovered that God had created nature according to mathematical laws and to man had been given the power, always in greater glory of God, to discover them in order to learn its workings; at the fifth and last stop (XVII century: the century of geniouses, as Whitehead will call it), God will be put aside and Man will reclaim all power over nature and he will make of it his domain after learning the laws that regulated it. It was the total subversion of the starting point: Man, from a creature not distinguishable from nature and a prey of all wild forces that surrounded him at the beginning of his history, will become the master, the absolute lord of that world to whose "mastery he had renounced when he committed the original sin" (Bacon, 1975: 23). And this evolution of thought, on Man and Nature, will find its final systematization in XVII century England.

...

     ,,, However, Man did not want to go beyond the mechanical functioning of nature. He was not interested to its final aim. He did not want to know why God had created it, he just wanted to know how  its mechanism worked. Why it had been created remained an unscrutable act of God's will. Man did not want to eat from the tree of knowledge. He did not want "to arrive at God's misteries" (Bacon, 1949: 8). He wanted just live in his world, but he wanted to know its mechanical functioning for power reasons: to dominate it rather being dominated by it. He wanted to retake possession of the power to which he had renounced at the moment of the original sin. He wanted the power Adam had before the Fall. Nothing more (pp.221-222).

 

FROM  CHAPTER SIXTH

The genious of a people

 

  England, in the last quarter of the XVII century, was the natural heir of the scientific movement that had developed in Europe from the XVI century and to which she had partecipated even if with small contributions...

   The Scientific Revolution, through which man acquired a new level of his mental structure, the formal thought, the highest man has ever reached up to now, found, in Newton's isle, and with Newton, its final sanction, its fullfillment. Newton was the last, but not the least, of the great intellects of the Scientific Revolution; the last of the three men who founded  modern science: Galileo, De Cartes and Newton. He had a total decentered thought and, following Bacon, according to whom the basic knowledges are limited in number, just as the letters of the alphabet, and on learning to correlate and  associate them  man would be able to produce an infinity of Knowledges, just as from the letters of the alphabet one can produce an infinity of words, he was able to associate and correlate the knowledges others had produced in order to give to the scientific movement its over all picture, its frame: the theory of universal gravitation... After that, all the scientific movement will take a new road. The continent will remain attached to the science of why , to the science that will search for "the laws of fenomenen, of the explanation of causality" (Bairoch, 1967: 8)... England instead, will take the road, only exception Newton, to the science of how... the road to  mechanical invention. Not the road to science, but the road to scientism, a road which will lead to the Industrial Revolution...

   ... The Industrial Revolution will be the unconcious product of the English people, that, from the second half of the XVI century, will give free course to its genious, running along roads completely different from those of the other European countries, without braking the historical continuity...

     With the Industrial Revolution, England will give to man a new dimension... It will no longer be the natural cycle that will dominate in the world of production, but it will be a new cycle overimposed by man: the cycle of the machine. The machine will be the symbol of the power his forefather Adam had before the Fall...  Neolithical man, even if profoundly different from paleolithical man, had only learned to take from nature. In order to learn to dominate it, in order to recover  "that sovereignty and that power  that man had when he was created" (Bacon), it took eight thousand years. But, in the end, Bacon's dream will come true. Man will become the new Adam and God's  original deseign  will be fullfilled: Man at the centre of all created things...

    England, like the other great nations of the past that worked out a new advancement for man, will contribue with the genious of her people, which had the requirements for taking into its hands the torch of progress that was languishing on the continent... (pp. 255-257).

     England represents the climax of the Scientific Revolution. The moment when man draws the balance and  incontrevertible and final (up to that moment) truths are established. But science in England will take a different path from  continental science. The latter will  remain attached to pure science, the science that seeks theoritical knowledge, that seeks the "why" of things, even if it is a different "why" from that of the Greeks, and will never bother to see whether its attainments, which were so many and outstanding, could find  a practical  application or were of any utility to mankind in the immediate... English science, on the contrary,  will adopt  Francis Bacon's teaching, according to which science has a meaning as long as it helps to  promote the material wellbeing of man... In this meaning, Newton, the great sinthetizer of science, will be an exception in England. But he   " was a too serious philosopher and scholar in order to bother whether  the ideas he gave to the world were of any utillity in the immediate, but in the following century the confidence in the possibility of attaining an industrial progress through the method  of observation and experiment came from him" (Ashton).

    English science will be a science that will search for the "how", in the meaning we have described in the previous pages... While for Galileo or Descartes science found a justification in itself, for the English it will find a justification only if it is of any utility to the real progress in the material condition of man; only if it will succeed to establish the mastery of man over nature, a goal Bacon had  preconized and assigned to science in oder to cancel the original sin and give to man the kingdom of abundence he enjoyed before  The Fall... In the first forty years of the seventeenth century also in England there prevailed the continental science of  "why". In effect, in this period there will predominate the science of "why" of Gilbert, even if Gilbert himself was closely linked with the world of businessmen.

    The Greeks had exspressed their vitality and their genious in the form of speculative thought and created the intellectual framework of the modern world; the Italians of the later Renaissance  had given free space to their energy and their genious  scientifically and delivered to the world a scientific method based on a rational and abstract mind structure; the English will take the path more congenial to their genious, the economic one, and will lead humanity towards a new goal, towards a new type of society, towards a new and revolutiozing type of productive and social organization. And they will do it not out of an ideal motive, but will do it  out of a strongly concrete motive: profit, the thirst for gaining. Even if the ideal motive will come soon after and will justify the earthly motive, the English will be interested in the science of "how" because their aim will always be the solving of problems as they arised in the economic world . .. The spring that will push the English, even if unconciously, towards tle Industrial Revolution will always be the thirst for gains.

    Profit will never be the mainspring that will push the continent to act in the scientific research. The continent will be moved by intellectual value and for this reason its theorethical attainments will never find a concrete application on its soil, but they will find it in England, which will make them hers and with them will build something originally English, as the steam power, for example: it will be discovered by a Frenchman, but the steam engine will be a product undiscussbly English.

   France and England will find themselves on two different grounds. The former will be scientist and philosopher. Even if she had played a great role in the scientific movement of the XVII century, in the XVIII century, she will develop those attainments into a vision of the world which put at its centre the power of reason. It will be this the legacy she will value most of the scientific movement of the XVII century. She will not be interested in practical attainments. The latter, on the contrary, will value most what seemed to her the most outstanding factor for the real advancement of civilization and of man: the real and practical applications of the scientific experimental method which  would lead, according to her vision of things, to the realization of the baconian programm. The former will produce, with the Enlightenment, a movement of ideas that will upset the political and institutional foundatios of all the continent. The latter will produce, in the same century, a new productive system which will upset the economic foundations  of humanity. France will search for knowledge in books, in  experiments and in philosophical speculation. England will search for it in all the world, among the man in the trade (artisans) and among the applied scientists.

        The genious of the English will consist principally in the fact that they will be able to put together, as no other people since the Italian Renaissance, the scientific and the practical activities in order to draw from them an advantage in the economic sphere, which will bring a betterment of society, thanks to the "invisible hand", as Adam Smith will say later. These ideas will find a great vector in the protestant religion and in the puritans in particular. And the idea of progress itself will leave the restricted circles in order to become a patrimony of society at large.

   The climate of applied research, within an applied science, and the baconian idea that any new invention must prove to be of utility to the general betterment (progress) of man , will spread in all sectors of society. But in particular they will spread among the artisan-inventor, who will be moved by an economic interest, by profit to be clear, that the church will no longer condemn. Success in the world of business  will become a sign of distinction, a means in order to show to be a chosen one, the one  who was to be saved. " Serve God and become rich, serve him by reading the bible not contaminated by the secular thought and become reach following the experimental philosophy that promises you material goods". That will be the predominant thought of the puritans (pp. 258-260).

...

  The English will be the first people, as a whole and not as single individuals, that will make theirs the Renaissance faustian spirit for  knowlwdge and will be the first people, as a whole, that will have a completely decentered thought so that they will be able to correlate, associate and sinthetize more information in order to draw from them a knowledge that will be qualitively new and different.

   The originality, or if we want, the genious of the English people resides just in this capacity to make rielaborations and to make a new sintheses out of all the knowledge piled up until then. The originality of a Shakspeare had proved it. He had drawn from all parts. At times,  he depredated the others' works. We can uncover entire passages and entire stories from others, bu in his hands everything transfigurated, everything became different and acquired a flavour and a universalism  that before was lacking: it was a new and very original product that had come to light, which could not absolutely be compared with the works from which he had drawn. It was something  original and unique because, on associating some ideas, he created a message that overstepped the world of man in order to reach that of humanity. So for Newton. He will add nothing to the knowledges already produced, but with those knowledges he will be able to create, by associating them, a very original sintheses that will constitue the spearhead of modern mathemathical thought. He will unite sky and earth, unifing their phenomenon into one theory. And he will be the uppermost expression  of abstract formal thought. It will be so also for Boyle. He will invent nothing new, but he will be able to give a different order to the things other had invented and this different order will produce a new knowledge that did not exist before. He will transfer to chemestry what had already been accepted in physics: the corpuscolar nature of matter. Democratis' atoms  had been accepted and utilized by Newton and Boyle will accept them also in chemestry (Westfall, 1980). And in doing so, he will create a new science: chemestry.

    This, in the last, had been the history of man's intellectual evolution since the Sumerians. Each new people, each new society, that had something to say, that had an original contribute to give, always started by acquiring the knowledges produced by others (learning phase), but after having assimilated them through imitation , gave to them a new order, created with them a new association, a new elaboration (creating imitation phase) and, at last, produced a new sintheses (original creation phase) which was qualitively different from the previous ones and was original as a sintheses even if its components could be traced in the information produced by others (pp. 262-63).

...

    But a new sintheses never it is a defitive arrival point. It represents only a turning point in the ladder of human knowledge. It represents the maximum intellectual effort man is capable of up to that historical moment. But in respect to the future attainments of human intelligence, it represents only an analythical moment togheter with the other analythical moments produced in the history of man. That is why " allow us to dare a comparison... Newton's attainments represent the decentering of thought, the moment of sintheses, if compared with the egocentrism, with the analythical moment, of Aristotle's physics, but the newtonian concept of time and space absolute, though represents the moment of maximum sintheses according to the past, remains egocentric from the point of view of Einstein's relativity because it contemplates just one reality in the universe among the many which are possible and real" (Piaget, 1985). That's why a Boyle represents the final product, the sintheses, the form of the preceding thought, but, in Piaget's words, he is, on his turn, the content of the successive form. That is, he represents the sintheses respect to the preceding thought, but he represents the analythical moment respect to the successive thought. He represents the archeology of modern chemestry. He too submitted to the law of the evolution of human thought and he could not see the connecting links or the new interrelations among the knowledges he had produced or that he had contributed to produce (pp. 263-64)

...

   The English peoples of the Industrial Revolution represent the final stage of an historical process which had begun with homo sapiens: the slowly evolution of the structure of his mind. By learning gradually to decenter his thought, this man produced a unreapetable tool (the intelligence he did not have when he left his animal state) that enabled him to reelaborate constantly, and always at different levels, all the information that had been piled up in the different historical epochs. In the Industrial Revolution man had arrived at the final stage (but not the definitive one) of this process and that ability had become the endowment, no longer of single great intellects, as in ancient Greece, but had become the endowment of large layers of persons (the men in the trade), who had the ability to associate, to correlate more information in order to solve their problems, which, by chance, had predominantly  an economic and productive nature. And this collective ability of the English people was expressed by Bacon, who, referring to nature, will say "the forms or laws  of simple or abstract natures are few in number, but they can be combined infinitively so that it is possible to reproduces with them the infinite variety which exists in nature. LIke the letters of the alphabet, which, though small in numbers, they can be combined in different ways in order to formulate an infinity of words.  If man is capable to apprehand those forms, he will be able to combine them at will in order to reach any result that is given in nature and so he will be able to command her" (Foster Jones, 1980).

     Many inventions of the Industrial Revolution " are the result of two or more ideas or processes that, combining [associating], in the mind of the inventor had as a result the creation of a more or less efficient mechanism. So, for example, it was necessary that the principle of the jenny was united, [associated], with that of the spinning ... in order that the mule came to life, and the iron rail, which was used since a long time in the coal mines, was associated to the steam engine in order to have the railway" (Ashton, 1972) (p. 265).

   ...

  The great number of inventions that we find at the outlet of the Industrial Revolution are due to the great number of information that man had acquired in the previous centuries and millennia. The English people will go and search for them in order to bring them home (Bacon's programm). That great number of information, coming from all corners of the world, will have them to develop a mental cap more flexible and more open to innovations and this will create the premises to the Industrial Revolution.

   The Industrial Revolution is not the product of an individual  man of genious, but it is the product of the "spirit of man" (Nef, 1958), of which the English people represented, at that period, the final stage. Its origins cannot be ascribed to this or that historic epoch. They cannot be traced in the XI-XIII centuries (Cipolla, 1974), nor in climate conditions or in the availability of raw materials. The Industrial Revolution is the offspring of a long historical process in which man first built up himself and his mental structure, then he built up his social and economic-productive world, rejecting the natural cycle that nature had imposed on him in order to run his dayly life, to which all mammals are still bound, and establishing his own cycle in which nature is only a referring point. He put aside the natural cycle in order to adopt a social cycle (pp. 266-67).

...

 But what had the English that, at a certain point of their history, put themselves as the only candidates to the final stage of a many centuries old historical process and produced the Industrial Revolution ?  They had their historical development, which was quite different from the continental one and that different historical development produced a type of mentality not new in history, but certainly peculiar and exclusive to the English people in that particular historical moment: it was a pragmatic, utilitarian,  receptive, businessminded, libertarian mentality...

   England, at the beginning of her history, had been a conquest land and, up to 1066, will be the melting pot of all European peoples... This blending of peoples from different origins contributed to the creation of the composite and original character of  modern Englishman: an adventurous and warrelsome spirit widely open to external influences. The formation of the English language is, pehaps, the best witness of that blending of peoples on English soil and of the ability of the English to absorb all the influences and make out of them a very original blend, whose constituing elements are scarcely important taken by themselves. The English language belongs to the germanic group, but it presents a fisiognomy of its own that characterizes and distinguish it from the other languages of this group. While the other languages have maintained  the predomminance of the germanic core, in the English language, after the strong influence of Latin, French, etc., that core has strongly faded away, at least in the vocabulary if not in the structure, so that " now it is a blend of German and French" (Durant, 1950).

  This pronefulness of the English to be receptive, to accept and to borrow  all  the good and useful things that other peoples had, was strong and present in all layers of the political and social structure: from the political institutions to  economy and to applied science. The Englishman, in short, was open to all external influences and will remain so up to the Industrial Revolution. Better, the Industrial Revolution will be just the product of this assimilative and rielaborative capacity of the English people: it will be the product of this capacity of making one's own all that was useful and advantageous for the individual interest, which, for the English people, at least from a certain period, corresponded to the national interest. "Since the beginning of modern times, the Englishman has begun to think that his own interests correspnded with those of the nation. 'He who helps himself, helps the nation' or ' the individual prosperity leads to the prosperity of the community' were, and they still are nowdays, formulas used in this meaning" (Barbu, 1960: 203)

     The Englishman will remain a pupil that learns from all other peoples up to the Industrial Revolution, when his genious will come out and England will be recognized as the most powerfull nation of the XIX century (Barone-Ricossa, 1974). After having reached this ambitious, but not sought for, goal, she will develop his arrogance concept  and will shut herself to all external influences. She will refuse them just because they come from the "barbarians". She will behave just as had behaved the other great nation-pupils of history that created a turn in the progress of civilization. Like all the other great pupils of history, England will not be able to be at the same time pupil and master. She will forget Newton's words, according to whom "the most important thing is to learn not to teach" (Landes, 1969) and she will be only teacher, like all the other great nations that had preceded her in the development of civilization, and this will cause her decay and her ousting from the frontal stage in order to become a second rank nation. The decay will peep in when she will consider herself "arrived", as had done the Greeks, the Romans and the Italians of the Renaissance,  so that she will lose that ideal tension and that spirit of openness to renewal and innovations that had made her fortunes. The decay will come in when this collective psychology will develop and will assert itself, so that she will be no longer ready to be receptive, to accept the stimulations which will come from other quarters, as she had done in the heroic stage of her development, but she will attach herself, naughtly,  to her presumpt superiority and will develop that arrongant pride, characteristic of all great civilizations (Greeks, Romans, Italians of the Renaissance), which will not allow her to be no longer pupil or "apprentice" (Wilson, 1979), and she will consider the others as "barbarians" (Pollard, 1989). Her decay was written in history, but no one had read it (268-71).

    ...

    For England it was the heroic moment of the crysalid of the Industrial Revolution, but, before becoming butterfly, she had to go a long way. However, the energy and the collective mentality that will lead to that conquest matured in this period. In effect, " The modern English character may be traced, in his fundamental traits, at the end of the XVI century and on " (Barbu, 1960: 45-46).

   The collective mentality of the English people was pragmatic and utilitarian. They will never be "geniouses of inventions" (Plumb, 1979: 889) in any field, but they will apply, methodically and patiently all that others had devised or just sketched and will give it the possibility to be developed up to its mature form, after having modified, corrected and bettered it. That is where the pragmatic genious of the English people showed itsel. They developed that kind of organization that would garanty success in business and would bring a great change in the social structure. Everything sprang and was devised out of functional necessities and not because someone had elaborate a new theory. Theories will not be lacking, but they will follow the pratice (praxis) and will justify it. If "the state acted controlling and manipulating the economy to its own advantage, the theory would soon follow ( Landes, 1969). What Hobbes will write, what Locke will write what Smith or Hales, or Mun, will write, was already present in everyday life. They all will make it only explicit theorizing it. Here it is the genious of the English people: from pratice to theory and not viceverse.

   As Italy had been during the Renaissance, England will become a laboratory where a new form of government (the parliamentary representative form), a new form of economy ( the industrial one) and a new form of society (that of the machine) will be experimented. Hales, Bacon, Mun, Hobbes, Locke and Smith will not invent anything (that's why they succeded on the contrary of the comunist utopic theory of the XX century). They will sinthetize what society was experiencing or had already experienced in the dayly pratice without being conscious of it. They will elevate to the dignity of theory what was happening or had already happened in a nation that gave free play to the human, social and productive forces. The English will theorize what existed, what had already been checked (Hales and Mun Mercantilism; Bacon the scientific utilitarism; Hobbes the secularized absolute power; Locke democracy; Smith liberism)( pp. 290-91).

...

    For the English, society, the social change was to be described, analyzed and explained as it was happening under the impulses of the genuin forces of society which expressed themselves without a rational plan or an overall scheme. It was to be theorized in the making in order to understand it and, eventually, correct it or to push it on a more rational and concious path, as Bacon will do with the Great Instauration. It was not to be theorized a priori  as Marx will do in the XIX century. That is, for the English people, society moves on trends of its own that cannot be laid down a priori, nor stopped  but with the violence of the law. For example, Hales, in the XVI century, held that the enclosure movement, which had become harsher in his days, but which had medieval origins and will have great developments in the following centuries, could not be stopped with antienclosure laws. It was a spontaneus social phenomenon and it was necesary to the development of society itself (with all its defects and stortures), if it is true, and it was true for him and the collective mentality of the future ages, that " the real target of human life is  to become rich and... the wealth of each is the condition for the enrichment of all others" (Denis, 1973). But, for Hales, this spontaneous trend could be and had to be corrected and rationalized in order that the greater costs would not be paid by the weakest, and he fought his battle for this.

   We can say that Hale added a third element to the saying of the bible "grow and multiplicate yourselves". He added: "and get rich". This third element was to be taken, not longer after, by the puritans. True, it was a new philosophy of life, but it was not new in the dayly practice (Denis, 1973) or in the individual conscience. What Hales did was to acquire it  to the collective consciousness in order to justify it and make it legitimit so that among the interests of the state, those of the individual and those of religion there would be no longer conflicts, but there would be convergents and it is what will happen with the puritans. The wealth of the individue makes the state stronger and, on the religious level, showed that he was the elected and it was the highest acknowledgment for the church (p.292).

...

   This was the greatness and the power of the English genious: to be able to learn, to be open to all influences, to be able to be a pupil, to be able to recognize the masters, to imitate them, to reproduce them at first in a passive form, then as creative imitation and, at last, as original creation. This had been true for the Greeks, had been true for the Italians of the Renaissance, it will be true for the English and it is true for the Japonese of our days. The English will import all the ideas, all the technics, all the raw products in all fields, from agriculture to  watches, from textile to pottery, from culture in general to literature, and they will make of them the starting point in order to produce their system, their own technics, their own products, which will be different and better than the one they had imported. The English will do in the economic field what other peoples done in the intellectual field (classical Greece) and in the scientific field (Renaissance). So Man will aquire his third dimension, the economic one, which will also constitue his third revolution. He had done the first (the intellectual one) thanks to the Greeks; he had done the second (the scientific one) thanks to the Italians of the late Renaissance; the third will be the work of the English, but they, too, will have to pass through the same stages, even if in a different field, from which Greeks and Italians had gone through (learning, imitation, creative imitation, original creation) (pp. 299-300).

...

   "The changes in technology, the discovery of new markets in distant lands, the introduction of new plants, were not the products of chance: they were the fruit of a precise scheme" (Plumb, 1978: 122). There was to be a people that gathered all knowloedges produced by the Ancient Near East, by the Greeks, by the oriental and islamic world, by the Renaissance and by all peoples of the contemporary world in order to put them in a melting pot  and create with them the dimension that man still lacked: the economic one, not the productive one (note: the latter had been existing since neolithical times). And this new people was to be the English one. The English people will cause the coming of a new and different man: the homo economicus. The Greeks had created the philosopher, the Renaissance had created the scientist, the English will create the homo economicus. It was the figure which was lacking. A figure that completed  all figures of Man(p.301).

The English genious  was to continue to show itself, at least up to the Industrial Revolution, in the fact that England will always be able to give a strong response to the challenges that  history will present her. That is why her crisis will be solved,  almost always, with a further advantage for her development. In other words, the English will be able "to make virtue out of necessity" (Bindoff, 1967: 61). They were able to give a good response in the Middle Ages, and the first who gave it was William the Conqueror, when he decided  that the English feudalism, he himself had introduced in the island, was not to reproduce the illdoings of the continental one;_they were able to give it with Henry_II, when he put an end to the anarchy in the administration of justice  and unified the law, creating the only true original native juwel in English history : the Common Law, which will play a great role in all English attainments, both in the field of institutions and in the commercial and industrial one;  they were able to give it with the landowners of the XIV century, when, in order to face the scarcity of manpower after the Black Death, they comverted their lands in pasture lands, increasing the wool production of which there was a great demand both at home and abroad; they were able to give it with Edward III,  when, calling the flemish textile workers in the island, he decided to convert the English  exports from raw material (wool) to (wool) manufacts, even if unfinished; they were able to give in modern times, and the first who gave it were the Tudor sovereigns, when, after England had come out of the tunnel of the civil war of the Two Roses, they established the special courts in order to curtail the quarrelsomeness of the nobles and of the gentry and pacified the country; they were able to give it, still with the Tudors, when they lost all the lands on the continent and, instead of recoiling in the periphery of Europe, they became conscious to be an island and that their future was on the sea and began to build their naval power; they were able to give it with Elisabeth, when ousted from all traditional markets, they responded first with piracy, doing their training on the high seas against a great power like Spain, and then they responded with the formation of the great monopolistic commercial companies, which adventured themselves to very far away marktes, of North Africa, of the Near East and of Russia; they will be able to give it in the XVII century, when their wares were  excluded from almost all the most important European markets and they took the world for market. Circumstances will make her to become  a global power. Challenges will serve to magnify her possibilities (pp. 302-303).

 

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