The Discoverers is a non-fiction historical work by Daniel Boorstin published in 1983 and is the first in the Knowledge Trilogy that also includes The Creators and The Seekers. The book, subtitled A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself, is the history of human discovery. Discovery in all its many forms are present - exploration, scientific, medical, mathematical and the more theoretical ones such as time, evolution, plate tectonics and relativity. He praises the inventive, human mind and its eternal quest to discover the universe and our place in it.
In "A Personal Note to the Reader" Boorstin writes, "My hero is Man, the Discoverer. The world we now view from the literate West...had to be opened by countless Columbuses. In the deep recesses of the past, they remain anonymous." The structure is topical and chronological, beginning in the prehistoric era in Babylon and Egypt
This is a very interesting read. The Discoverers is a big book, it is 700 pages of knowledge. I will update as I read. It opens up by looking at the concept of time. Time is unique in the fact that there has never been a universal constant in how it is measured and documented. Time is a man made creation that has the potential to faults in how it is perceived, and measured. Time from the understanding that I gained from the book has been experienced by people differently all through “history”. I believe “time” maybe a control or barrier to man’s understanding of his reality. Picture man in standing in space, he then decides he wants to build something to protect him from the dangers of the open space. He builds four walls and with a roof. Then has a barrier that protects him from the space outside the walls. With the help of windows he has the ability to see outside, without the dangers of being outside. So what if we live in all “time” but we choose to live in this moment by believing in the concepts of “time” and using a watch to take a peak at a time.
Here are few things I have picked up from The Discovers
There was a time when the Chinese thought of themselves as being in the center of the universe. And I quote the words of a young Jesuit Priest Matteo Ricci “ Because of their ignorance of the size of the Earth and the exaggerated opinion of themselves, the Chinese are of the opinion that only China are among the nations that are deserving of admiration. Relative to the grandeur of Empire, of public administration and reputation for learning , they look upon all other people not only as barbarous but as unreasoning animals.
Chinese officials were horrified by the bleeding figure being crucified, which they feared as a instrument of black magic.
It appears the Clock was the mother of all machines
I found this very interesting as well. "Repeating imperial edicts enforced state security for calendrical science , astronomy, astrology. In A.D. 840, for example, when the empire had recently been disturbed by the appearance of several comets, the Emperor ordered all observers in the imperial observatory to keep their business secret. “‘If we hear of any intercourse between the astronomical officials or their subordinates and officials of other government departments or miscellaneous common people, it will be regarded as a violation of security regulations which should be strictly adhered to. From now onwards, therefore, astronomical official are on no account to mix with civil servants and common people in general’”