plate Technology as an activity with recognizable styles.

symbolic communicating | production spheres | huge changes | Lechtman's opinions | terms | qualitative changes | the point

The physical, emotional and mental characteristics related to tool use are one of four extraordinary qualitative changes in our prehistoric past that define the human species.

The history of technology examines these behavioral shifts and four subsequent transformations of society due to the acquisition of new tools, crafts associated with new techniques, and the unique roles of manufacture, industrialization, and automation in the past to better comprehend the tools we work with that so powerfully reshape our lives that we do not even know to what extent and depth our personality, performance, and potential are redefined by using tools.

Symbolic communication through technical products.

"Thus for Heather Lechtman, 'technological behavior is characterized by the many elements that make up technological activities, for example ... "

Tools and the technological conditions their use facilitates are more than mere objects and more than a range of behavioral responses to their power given our relative facility in using the appropriate tools.

All technologies possess

operational attitudinal organizational ritualistic

The four facets that amount to complex formal, technological styles arising from how these behavioral expressions that accompany tool use are manifest.

Lechtman is quoted near the end of this section of Pursell's introduction be because e she so well summarized the scope and components of tool use when she wrote:

"technologies are performances; they are communicative systems, and their styles are symbols through which communication occurs."

Heather Lechtman, MIT archaeologist and Materials specialist.

Lechtman on the meaning of the archaeological discoveries in the South American Andes.

Cerro Rico, Bolivia: 1000 year old silver smelting sites.

That project has unearthed many silver artifacts, including ceremonial masks, rings, and tubes packed with pigment. Kolata finds it "somewhat surprising but plausible" that Tiwanaku society produced thousands of tons of silver, as Abbott and Wolfe contend.

"The [new] estimate of the tonnage of silver produced prior to Inca involvement is remarkable," comments archaeologist Heather Lechtman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, the latest archaeological evidence indicates that Tiwanaku society collapsed between A.D. 900 and A.D. 950, before the proposed start of silver production, she says.

Archaeological investigations under way in central and southern Bolivia need to identify other early cultures that may have initiated silver mining and smelting, Lechtman holds.

From: Science News, Volume 164, No. 13, September 27, 2003, p. 198.

Spheres of influence due to technological change over time.
Four huge changes: tectonic organizational ideo-technic
hand craft      

Spheres or planes of interacting influences are three facets of technology

tectonic means focused on the actual material, functional, and architectural forms tools take; including how tool complexes converge to form technological systems that work and impact outcomes.

organizational means focused on use, conveyance, spread, formation, behavioral, and social conditions of any technological complex such that agricultural societies are different from industrial societies because of how work is deployed to sustain their respective populations.

ideo-technic means the explicit and implied influences some technological complexes have on people from one generation to the next because of their power (tectonic), influence (socio-technical), imaginative appeal, and literary impact, such as to sway our attention to some tools and not others.

Pursell, p. 33.

Terms used:

A) Four extraordinary qualitative changes: These arguably are:

1. upright stance and pelvic girdle; hand, eye, tongue and larynx coordination

2. fire use

3. domestication of plants and animals

4. the size of a group of cohabitant members

B) technics (singular or plural) referring to the technical details, means, methods or terms; usually how and to what purposes technology is used by people to accomplish tasks.

As in "Tool, technics is but a fragment of bio-technics: Man's total equipment for life."

Pursell quoting Lewis Mumford, White Heat, p. 27.


symbolic communicating | production spheres | huge changes | Lechtman's opinions | terms | qualitative changes | the point


Snow's words | Snow's essay interpreted | The Two Culture's context | The Redux Essay | Siry essay

Tulips as tools?
Tools of Toil: what to read.
Tools are historical building blocks of technology.
Technology can be understood if tools have three facets.
Tools used in both Music and Architecture led to mechanization and automation.
Tools and the study of technology require us to reflect on the power of instruments,


The Two Cultures

Pursell | Pacey–World | Postman | Head | Tenner |Pacey–meaning| Eberhart | Snow | Kaku | Boulding | Delillo | Kranzberg

| Postman–Tech | Postman–Television |

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