In Kabbalah, there are four worlds, the World of Emanations, the World of Creation, the World of Forms (if you know Plato, you’ll get that one), and the World of Action. We live in the World of Action, which is the world change occurs in, and those changes ripple back up to the higher worlds. Everything in our world begins in the the World of Emanations as seeds of an idea. You can see these as pre-thoughts, pre-ideas. This is the Yod floating in the Zoid that will become creation. In that Yod are all the letters. It is the seed from which everything comes, the DNA of the universe, if you will. From the seed of an idea in the World of Emanations grows an idea fully formed. This idea is in the World of Creation. This idea grows into a plan, in the World of Forms. The World of Forms, or Plato’s World of the From, is the blueprint for what’s in our world. And the plan is put into action in the World of Action. All Hebrew roots are verbs, not nouns.
The Gather has spent generations gathering berries, gathering nuts, gathering herbs. She (or he) has seen that the seed falls to the ground, and that from it grows a new plant. This is the seed (ha!) of an idea, the World of Emanations. It dawns on her one day, after all those generations, that maybe the seeds she gathers can be grown, so she doesn’t have to worry about where to find them. This is the idea, the World of Creation. She decides to try it, decides which seed to try, where to plant them. This is the plan, the World of Forms (I typed World of Farms; lol). She gathers them and plants them and they grow. The action in the World Of Action. Previous generations might have had the seed, but never had the idea. They might have had the idea but never formed the plan. They might have made a plan but never put it into action.
The Gather is now the Farmer. She watches the plants grow. And one day, made her, maybe a later generation, notices that when one left or branch becomes sick, it spreads through the plant. There is another seed. She realizes maybe she can cut the deceased leaf or branch off to save the rest. Another idea. She figures out she can use the knife she uses to skin animals or cut herbs to cut off the leaf or branch. Another plan. She does so. Another action, and pruning becomes part of life. And so on.
The Hunter has been watching the wolf hunt for generations. He (or she) has learned from it, improved how he hunts, generation by generation. One day, he wonders what it would be like to hunt with the wolf instead of watch, instead of hunt apart from the wolf. This is the seed of an idea, the World of Emanations. He wonders if he can catch the wolf, and train it to hunt with him. This is the idea, the World of Creation. He makes a plan to lure the wolf in with food, get the wolf comfortable with him. This is the plan, the World of Forms. He does it, and ends up with a wolf half trusting him, eventually hunting with him, sharing life and food with him. The action in the World of Action. And, once again, each step might have happened in previous generations, but it wasn’t until him that it was carried out.
And he or his descendant observes the wolf, seeing it’s strengths, it’s weaknesses. And they make the connection that with humans, a strong father usually has stronger children, a smart, sunning father usually has smarter children than the ones that aren’t as bright. This is another seed. He wonders if he got two wolves with the strengths he wants with another one with the same strengths whether the pups would be better than normal. Another idea. He decides to observe more wolves, either wild ones or the ones he’s hunted with, find the ones with the strengths he wants, and get them together to bred. Another plan. And he does so. Another action. And so on.
A man named J. H. Muller, in 1786, wondered if a mechanical machine, a difference engine, could be designed that could do calculations for him. This was the seed of an idea, the World of Emanations. A man named Charles Babbage proposed such a machine in 1822 and set about doing so, designed an analytical engine and an improved difference engine. They were built but too expensive to manufacture. This was the idea, the World of Creation. A man named Konrad Zuse in 1936 designed a new machine from the idea of a difference engine. His design didn’t do one operation, or several operations like the ones before, but could be programmed to do different things. This was the plan, the world of Forms. And from there, the modern computer evolves, the action in the World of Action.
I could go on, but my point is that an idea forms that leads eventually to an action. The idea comes first, not the technology. Sometimes the idea is successful, sometimes not, but often the failure leads to new seeds, which lead to new ideas. In scientific terms, the seed is a question, the idea is a hypothesis, the plan is the design of the experiment, and the action is the experiment itself. And it’s our culture, our lifestyle, our setting (which is the term I use in my Social Dynamics) that provides the experiences that bring about the seed of an idea. Our Gatherer wouldn’t have thought to plant seeds if she didn’t gather them first. Our Hunter wouldn’t have thought to domesticate a wolf if he hadn’t been following the same herds. Muller, and engineer in the Hessian army, wouldn’t have thought of building the difference engine if he hadn’t seen the steam powered machines of his time. He also, by the way, designed and built and improved version of Leibniz’ adding machine. Leibniz added division and multiplication to Pascal’s calculator and invented the first mass produced calculator. Without Pascal’s seeds, ideas, plans, and actions, Leibniz couldn’t have done what he did. Without Leibniz, Muller couldn’t have done what he did. All this lead to the first computer, which changed the world. So the seeds that brought about the computer, the ideas, the culture, started at the latest in 1642 with Pascal’s mechanical calculator. The ideas that led to the computer took almost three hundred years to get to the first computer and it’s been almost 80 years to get where we are. Technology comes from ideas. Then technology spawns new ideas, which spawn new technology, and so one. A cycle, a process, thought begets change, change begets thought. Technology doesn’t develop apart from thought, in isolation from an idea that came from the culture and the setting of the culture.
“Before Noah flood there was a man called Lamech as is written in the Scriptures in ye Chatr of Genesis And this Lamech had two wives ye one named Adah by whome he had two sons ye one named Jabell ye other named Jubell And his other wife was called Zillah by whome he had one son named Tubelcaine & one Daughter named Naamah & these four children founded ye beginnings of all ye Sciences in ye world viz Jabell ye oldest Sone found out ye Science of Geomatre he was a keepr of flocks and sheep Lands in the Fields as it is noted in ye Chaptr before sd And his bother Jubell found ye Science of Musicke Song of the Tongue harpe & organ And ye third brother Tuball Caine found ye Science called Smith Craft of Gold Silvr Iron Coppr & Steele & ye daughter found ye ara of Weaving And these persons knowing right well yt God would take vengencance for sinne either by fire or water wherefore they writt their severall Sciences yt they had found in two pillars of stone yt might be found aftr Noah his Flood And ye one stonbe would not burn wth fire & ye othr called Lternes because it would not dround wth wtr etc.”