Thursday 11 November 2010

Musing on ancient worlds and civilisation

Watching Ancient Worlds on BBC2 last night, I was wondering to what extent 'civilisation' is defined by the manipulation of information?

I was marvelling at the firing of bricks 5000 years ago. It is common to talk of the role of technology in civilisation, but is there a storyline that says it is the manipulation of information that 'really' defines civilisation?

The programme emphasised the importance of writing, and the information link is obvious there, but is there any value in arguing that the firing of bricks and building of walls is also dependent on information?

Partly I'm wondering about the distinction - if there is one - between firing bricks to build a house, and, say, a House Martin using mud to build a nest.

Something to do with abstraction, which you can only do with information.

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