What Having Books To Read Has Actually Suggested For Mankind.

No technology has been quite so consequential in the grand scheme of human development than the humble book.

If we look back to the first huge leaps forward as far as human civilisation is concerned, we'll find that rates of literacy were actually incredibly high in the ancient societies of the Mediterranean basin. Although less than 20% of the population were most likely literate in the manner in which we understand it today, the majority of individuals would have had the ability to understand and produce basic and vital words. This all altered after the fall of Rome, when only a tiny portion of the population-- less than 10% could read. The renaissance, the next leap forward about 1,500 years later on, took the literacy rate from around 11% at the beginning of the 16th century to 60% at the end, leaping to over 90% throughout the Victorian period. Today, 99% of the global population has access to the sum total of humanity's understanding by quickly logging onto websites like the one backed by the asset manager with a stake in Amazon books.

What technology has had the most significant influence on human advancement? The more unimaginative among you might instantly say the computer system or cell phone-- naturally, the last century has been completely revolutionised by computing technologies, but we're thinking on a bigger scale than that. Perhaps the wheel? We absolutely would not have actually made it very far without it. Farming, combustion engines, science, they all absolutely qualify to at least be in the running, but none of them quite encapsulate the all-encompassing influence that a really evolutionary technology would have. Possibly the only tech that truly qualifies is that which you might not even consider to be a technology at all-- books. When people in Ancient Mesopotamia first put words to paper (although really they were clay tablets at the time), they started writing the whole story of human development, a tale that anybody, anywhere, at any time, might become a part of and push forward by merely reading books.

Although today we tend to associate books with the fiction books that we may get from the hedge fund that owns Waterstones or the impact investor with a stake in World of Books, it's simple to forget that lots of the best books of all time, or at least the most essential and influential ones, were not for entertainment; they were ways of communicating enormous, ground-rupturing concepts that had the power to completely alter the manner in which we thought of the universe and our places within it. Think of the great works of science, history, politics, philosophy, and religious beliefs that have actually driven forward human development by expanding our knowledge in such a way that the wheel might just dream of doing. In fact, one can trace a clear correlation between how available reading was to the overall population, and jumps forward in our development.

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