Does Jacob Bronowski Think Outside the Box?
When Bronowski says that “man is a singular creature” and not merely a “figure in the landscape” he is saying that man is a unique creature among animals. He believes that man is the shaper of the landscape and that he explores the nature of the world. Bronowski believes that man’s brain makes him adaptable to most environments. Bronowski says “humans can adapt, because of his imagination, his reason, his emotional subtlety, and toughness and it makes it possible for him not to accept the environmental change but to change it.” One example that Bronowski uses is the Ice Age, many animals died out during the ice age and were stuck under the snow, while humans adapted to the Ice age and the humans survived. Bronowski believes that the humans are a shaper because of all the things they have done. One thing is they learned how agriculture research papers to create and master the control of fire. Fire used to and still does kept warmth at night and they could have warm food, when before their food couldn’t be warm because they didn’t use fire to heat it. The humans’ life expectancy was 20 years old and that is a long time for back then, and Bronowski says that 20 years old is an incredible age for this time. Animals usually don’t live to be 20 human years, but they can be 20 in their calculated age.
Humans started to have forward thinking, and for example this would be cave paintings, and that is Bronowski’s main topic for forward thinking. Cave paintings were done around 30,000 B.C, and animals never really had forward thinking. Bronowski says that animals have not developed forward thinking, but that is how human are distinguished from animals. Bronowski says that humans are more distinguished from animals, because we have imagination. Imagination lets us have thoughts in the future, and at this time animals didn’t have imagination. A few examples Bronowski uses are when an athlete is pole vaulting over the bar and he has to imagine that he can vault over it. Bronowski says “The athlete’s mind us fixed ahead of him, building up his skill; and he vaults in imagination into the future.” He is saying that the athlete has to picture it or see jumping over the pole in his mind. He has to picture the bar, himself, and the pole to jump with. Then as he starts he must see the pole hit the ground, and himself flying over the bar and landing on the mat. So that is a specific example of how Bronowski says humans use imagination.
Humans also develop opposable thumbs, and animals don’t have thumbs in general. Opposable thumbs let us be able to do more things, because our hands can move in directions that animals can’t and ours now can. As of this time humans have evolved. For example: they’re not as big and hairy like gorillas. Bronowski says that animals haven’t made progress, and that humans keep making progress all of the time. Another thing Bronowski says is that 2 million years ago humans had 1.1 pound brains, but as of 1 million years ago humans had 3 pound brains and today we have a 3 pound brain. This is a great example of evolution, because in 1 million years humans brains got bigger and humans became smarter. Bronowski says that humans have been given imaginative gifts and animals haven’t.
Examples that Bronowski says are ” making plans, inventions, new discoveries, by putting different talents together; and his discoveries become more subtle and penetrating, as he learns to combine his talents in more complex and intimate ways.” Animals don’t make plans or invent things, because their brains aren’t as functional as humans brains are. Bronowski says “among the multitude of animals which scamper, fly, burrow and swim around us, man is the only one who is not locked into his environment.” He means that humans can get out of their environment if necessary, but animals can’t get out of there if necessary. When Bronowski says “exaltation not fear,” he means that we shouldn’t do something out of fear. Animals for example have to run from their predator so they don’t get eaten or killed. Humans really don’t have to run from predators. Man has joy in life Bronowski says, and animals don’t have much joy in life. An example is that humans can have fun like playing sports or play games, while animals can’t really play many games, or have fun. Animals as I said before spend most of their time running for prey or running from their predators. Humans do not need to run from predators as often or ever like the animals have to.
Those are the features and qualities that make man unique and how Bronowski distinguishes humans and animals.
Bronowski says that we see changes in the humans’ skulls, but that we see little or no change in animals’ skulls. Bronowski says that “the head is more than a symbolic image of man; it is the seat of foresight and, in that respect, the spring which drives cultural evolution.” The humans head has evolved a lot in the past 30 million years while the Topi antelope has not. Bronowski also says that humans would never be able to know that we were humans. They wouldn’t be able to for many reasons and I will explain this by using many details. Bronowski also says that a Topi antelope from this back then could find a Topi antelope today, and I will explain this by using many details.
We see a lot of changes from the human skull and one is the teeth. Teeth from our ancient ancestors weren’t level, and they also didn’t have the same kind of K-9 teeth we have today. They used to be less sharp, and the teeth of our ancient ancestors were lower and higher in certain parts. The Topi antelope’s teeth have not changed much, which we can notice since the beginning of time. So we would not be able to tell a difference with the teeth of the Topi antelopes.
We also see a change in the level of man’s head. Our ancient ancestors’ heads were tilted at a down angle, and our heads currently are level. We can make our heads move in many different directions that Topi antelopes can’t now or back 30 million years ago. The Topi antelope that Bronowski showed in the film was severely twisted, and it is nothing like man’s head. It had many differences and one was that it was slanted downwards; back then it couldn’t sit its head up straight. Mans shape of the skull has changed, since the beginning of time, while the Topi antelopes hasn’t changed. Mans has become a new shape since the beginning of time, and has a different spot and shape for the spinal cord. Topi antelopes still have the same basic shape of the skull, and their spinal cord is the same shape and is in the same spot. The reason we see so many differences is because an ancient human could spot a Topi antelope today, but not its own developed self. The antelope hasn’t changed because has no need to adapt to a new environment. The Topi antelope has stayed in the same spot for millions of years, because it has it’s living in an environment that hasn’t changed. Those are the differences that we see in the human skull, but we see no significant changes in the Topi antelope’s skull.