Necessary separation

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 "Print assured the victory of numbers or visual position early in the sixteenth century. By the later sixteenth century the art of statistics was already growing" pg.181-182

McLuhan 181-end

This ties in to the discussion we had during the last class. People really didn't begin to have major concern with dating things until around the 16th century. The writing process was still manual at the time, and people desired to find a way to speed up the accumulation and calculation of figures and numbers. Sveral different numbering systems were introduced (Roman, Arabic). John Napier, a Scottish mathemetician, invented the decimal system, logarithms (number to the the tenth, twentieth, etc. power). and the "Bones" instrument (a precursor to the calculator). It was sets of multiplication tables written on wood or bones. It was used for multiplication, division, and roots.

Then something separated letters and numbers forever. Instead of subtracting and adding from left to right (the way we read, at least in America), it was discovered that results came about much faster when operation occured from right to left. The reading habit was reversed.

This split, says Nef, that led to the discoverey and separation of letters and numbers, which is why the arts and sciences are still separate today. Their developments depended on the separation.

With print came the desire to organize information. If it was to be written for generations to view, it had to be correct and not just a paraphrase. Thus mathematical figures became of great importantce. In trying to economize time spent on work, the split of science and art occured. We went off in different directions, using different methods to discover, all because of manuscript and literacy. "without modern literacy...we would not have science, philosophy, written law or literature, nor the automobile or the airplanes" (Biakolo 43).


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1 Comments

Great observations, Dani. Of course, this combination of scientifically accurate observations and repeatable experiments has a lot to do with developments in theater technology, since the playwright's concept of drama developed in parallel with developing concepts of theater.

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