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by Archaeology Newsroom

Man and technology in the 19th century

Science and technology may have caused the disappearance of religious man and of myths as a reference point for the organization of the world.However, mankind’s tendency for creating myths is a quality innate in human nature. It has been proved that the human mentality can be either mythical or philosophical-scientific. The first revolves around sentiment and the second around knowledge in the Aristoteleian context of identity, contradiction and the process of elimination. Thus, while at the beginning it was accepted that human thought had progressed from myth to science, it is finally believed that both ways of thinking coexist in the human mind and that the occasional superiority of one over the other is conditioned by the given social-economic data. Generally speaking it can be claimed that the civilizations of mythical thought belong to the pre-industrial phase, with the exception of ancient Greece and the Renaissance, where western rationalism is rooted, whereas those civilizations that are based on scientific thought are those belonging to our industrial – technological age. But what does the term “mythical thought” really mean? It is difficult to define all its characteristics here and thus we will only refer to one of its basic functions relevant to our topic; mythical thought invents correlations where they do not really exist between ideal and material objects and represents the invisible elements of nature, similar to human beings, but superior in potential so that they control whatever humans cannot. From the 18th century onwards, however,this approach and process changes. In the age of Enlightenment the individual realizes the unique character of his existence and his natural rights and becomes independent from the group, a development caused by the demographic increase, the rise of the middle-class and capitalism.