I, The Absolute

Archive for March 29th, 2005

Leisure as the cornerstone of knowledge

Posted by itheabsolute on March 29, 2005

I used to wonder how ‘prehistoric man’ found time to build so much of knowledge, practices and customs. He had to go out to hunt everyday to bring home food. There were innumerable risks associated with hunting. Group effort made some difference. But then the number of mouths to feed also increased. There was no way man could have improved if he was just incremental in thinking. He was improving his tools of hunting continuously to improve his strike rate. But the biggest break through for improvement came when man invented refrigeration. Once this was done, man had all the time in the world to orient himself towards knowledge / taste, not just tasks.

Once refrigeration was invented, man could kill hundreds of animals and store the food for months. Earlier he had to hunt for the day and then any remaining food would turn rancid and un-edible. With his invention of refrigeration, man invented new techniques of hunting. The group of hunters used to drive the cattle towards a mountaintop and have the cattle fall from there into the valley. At one go, man managed to kill scores of cattle. Food was secured for months. Refrigeration is then the key to making leisure available to man. Once man didn’t have to work all the time to feed and had free time available, he ventured into various other aspects of life. Totems and tattoos; polygamy and wars; pottery and architecture; painting and science. Leisure thus afforded knowledge.

Come to the modern day world, we have well defined set of people (scientists and the ilk) who are authorized to relieve themselves from physical and unthinking jobs and get involved in invention and innovation, which help build further knowledge.

Knowledge is thus built on the foundation of leisure.

I am now freeing up myself from the job to get leisure to build my knowledge.

PS: Discovery and NG channels have some fantastically educative programs. They also show a lot of crap.

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