First there was a word
When they talk about signs of civilization, they talk about clay pots, obsidian spearheads, pyramids ... That is, about the material achievements of that very civilization. But there is another side of the coin, which, in general, is well known to everyone, but which is paid much less attention: information. This is, perhaps, no less, and often a more significant component of civilization.
Namely, the component informational... So I would still like to separate the purely material world from the world of symbols (usually everything is lumped together). The enormous superiority of a person at an early stage of development was the ability to communicate using articulate speech... Different herd and gregarious animals (and termites) can, of course, act together, but this is not at all the same. Only human ancestors could convey with the help of speech certain “abstract”, previously “not prescribed” concepts.
Which immediately provided them with a gigantic advantage over the animal world. The need to transfer information exists both in the community of ants and in the community of bees (otherwise joint activity is simply impossible), but in terms of the level it is seriously inferior to human speech. And it was the invention of speech that made it possible to create the first organized human communities (it was impossible to do this without speech).
That is, we can say that история humanity as humanity begins precisely with the invention of articulate speech. This is not "one of", it is base condition... Oddly enough, some animals can work with tools, only humans can work with information.
The invention of one form or another of writing was the essence of the next information revolution. Its significance was already difficult to understand in the era of universal television, and today it is all the more difficult. However, for most of their history, people have lived in a state of information hunger / information vacuum. “What I see, so I sing,” something like that. It was customary among the most different peoples to appreciate a variety of singers / ballad-writers, storytellers ... Until the 19th century, if anything, this was the case in Russia.
For most of history, a literate person is a big person. Not only everyone, few people knew how to read and write, most up to modern times did without this wonderful skill. That is, access to written information very clearly divided human society into the elite and everyone else. "We were robbed by literate foremen" - this is already from the era industrialization! That is, the invention of writing is the greatest invention of mankind. Even today, scientists are studying the records of the ancient Sumerians, Mayans, Romans, Egyptians. And this is the most valuable source of information about bygone civilizations.
Prior to that, information existed only on "biological media". A knowledgeable person died, forgot something with age - that's it, hello! Information has been lost. For most of human history, empires were governed, in fact, by "papyrus scribes." The management of society is the management (collection, processing) of information, therefore any organized society automatically generated bureaucracy. The more complex the society, the more flows of this very information. Moreover, this information is confusing.
It is possible to control "live" at the level of a local tribe, following customs. That is, both the efficiency of the economy and the "development ceiling" were largely set by the very "scribes" and their literacy. Without some form of writing (hello, Incas!), An empire is impossible.
The next "information revolution" in the course is the invention of the printing press. Literacy was not widespread, and books often cost a fortune precisely because of the complexity / high cost of reproducing them. This had to be done manually. It is clear that in such conditions, the cost of the book simply went off scale, and the library was available only to very high-ranking / rich people.
In other words, the “millennial wisdom” contained in the scrolls, it certainly took place, but only a few could use it. A poor agricultural society, super-expensive books ... It was a completely different world. The print press changed this world forever. The cost of the printed book (for obvious reasons) was much lower. It was this (along with other events) that literally blew up Europe. That is why, in most countries, printing houses have been under tight control for hundreds of years. So it was in the time of Philip II, so it was in the time of Nicholas II.
Circulations of "seditious books" were seized and destroyed, it was politically dangerous to be a "publisher" (tremble, bloggers!). The import of foreign books / newspapers was tightly controlled even in the XNUMXth century in Europe. But, we must admit that, despite all the censorship slingshots, the print press has changed this world much more than gunpowder.
Even an ordinary citizen got access to basic education and the opportunity to acquire ... Yes, at least the novels "about the stupid baron." And that is bread. Imagine living in a society where only source of information - the same illiterate people around ... Horror. For some reason, "funny cats" got into my head, but let's not talk about them, let's talk about inexpensive "folk" editions of ancient Greek philosophers. And, as you know, a person who has not read a single book is not so terrible as a person who has read only one book ...
Perhaps, the New Time and the European colonial empires, as well as the industrial revolution, are just a consequence of this print press and general reading. Breaking changes do not necessarily occur in finance / politics / technology. Sometimes this happens in the information field. The available printed information was just one of the reasons for the transition from the Middle Ages to the New Time.
It was not for nothing that at one time in Spain Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible, so to speak, in order to avoid misinterpretations. Padre knows what is best ... Otherwise people will start reading, asking questions ...
Telephone, telegraph ...
The next (fourth) revolution is the second half of the 19th century: the telegraph / telephone. Before that information "traveled" again at the speed of a physical carrier - a rider / ship, which created gigantic problems in managing large empires. It was then that the "surplus" of information appeared for the average user - as a result of a combination of telephone / telegraph and print press. Residents of the capitals were given the opportunity to read fresh news about what is happening almost all over the planet.
You have to understand that even in the first half of the XNUMXth century the situation was completely different, news reached for months ... Sometimes for six months. We have already developed a habit / indifference to news from all over the world (especially today), but this situation has arisen quite recently. And again, the societies that fell under the information skating rink were rapidly transforming. The balance of forces on the planet also changed dramatically. It is impossible to imagine the First World War without railways / large steel steamers (means of transport), but even without a telegraph / newspapers / radio it is practically impossible to imagine it.
The same can be said for the revolutions that shook the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. Without mass literacy, newspapers, telegraphs and railways, all this was unrealistic. And we must remember that it was Germany in the 20s and 30s that was the most radio-equipped country in the world. And Goebbels is primarily a radio ...
Implicitly, the information revolution here led to very serious socio-political consequences, almost completely reshaping the structure of society. And a radio playing music / broadcasting news, and a fresh newspaper with a wide range of news from other cities / countries in every apartment - these are just the consequences of the fourth information revolution. Yes, in France, for example, the Gazeta began to be published in the time of Louis XIV, but until the end of the XNUMXth century the press was not mass.
Television, for all its spectacularity, is just one of the components, and in time, it is more likely the fifth than the fourth revolution (author's opinion). The very "fifth", which was already marked by the widespread introduction of personal computers and the Internet into our everyday life. For those living nowadays, it went virtually unnoticed (TV came to every Soviet house 15–20 years earlier than personal computers. That's all. Cable TV / Internet via fiber ... Romance.). And after all, back in the 70s in the same USSR, our information capabilities would have seemed absolutely incredible. Libraries (the relevance of information is sometimes several decades), cinema, television (a couple of programs), newspapers (local, paper). These are the sources of information available to the "ordinary user".
And that was literally yesterday. That is, “about America” one could read an ideologically consistent article in the newspaper, an equally seasoned book from the regional library, watch the program “Vremya” about her ... Well, and discuss it with friends in the kitchen. However, not a lot. Absolutely. And just then about the same America it was possible to tell any kind of fairy tales: they believed / did not believe in them, depending on the political views of the narrator / listener ...
It is clear that today all those "discussions" of the 70s / 80s are of little interest to anyone and are not at all relevant. Although sometimes some relics (about gigantic salaries and unlimited freedoms in the West) are still found. But the situation inside the country was little and poorly known. Also for obvious reasons. So it was easy for a resident of Tobolsk to find out what was going on there in Uryupinsk, it was oh, how difficult it was ...
That is, mass cellular communications, the Internet, computer technologies have fundamentally changed civilization (for the umpteenth time). To understand this, it is enough to compare the world of the late 80s of the XX century with the world of the early 10s of the XIX century. The availability of information, the saturation of society with information, the ability to manipulate it have increased significantly during this short time by historical standards (information has come off the physical medium and got the opportunity to "live" in the virtual world for an unlimited time). Think back to the angry tweets of the current president of the United States that are available to people around the planet at the time of writing. The funny thing is that then they talk about them on TV, and then they can even be printed in a paper newspaper (the author himself saw it!).
And even his very election, which went in addition to and contrary to the giants of the media sphere ... These very "giants" were for Clinton, but the world had already changed, and they did not understand this. This, unfortunately, happens. Today, for almost a penny (with a basic knowledge of the language), we can communicate with almost almost the majority of residents of any developed countries directly. Well, to throw off the "cats" for sure. You get used to good things quickly.
Everything was different yesterday
Back in the 80s, the only widely available form of communication in most countries (including Russia) was a landline telephone, paper letters and telegrams. Not much. Moreover, the letters took a very long time, and the telephone connection was not so cheap. And landline telephones were not in every apartment. Darkness. The main form of communication was just "personal communication". Now it is remembered as history.
Although, of course, this had its advantages: most of the available entertainment information (if there were two TV channels on b / w TV) were, for example, books. So it goes. Today, in the presence of the Internet, the volume of entertainment information, such as videos, films, games, is such a volume that more than one human life is needed to "use" them completely, which, by the way, leads to a certain "segregation" - division into those who read, and those who are no longer interested in it at all.
That is, today for the first time in the history of mankind, the volume of artificial audiovisual information is such that it makes reading practically unnecessary for many. After all, any interesting, popular book can be used to make a movie or even make a computer game. That greatly facilitates the perception of information. And people don't have much free time.
The brain of a normal person needs new information - and that's okay. Why TV used to be, and now the Internet is addicting? And this is the simplest way to get the very information the brain needs. Note that with a certain degree of fatigue, for example, you can no longer work with documents and write reply letters, with very serious fatigue you cannot even read a good book, but you can always watch TV. Even when you are terribly tired or even drunk. Therefore, both "dependence" on television and watching it for many hours every day became characteristic of industrialized countries in the 70s - 80s.
Man is an information dependent creature
Today, "gadget addiction" becomes the same disease, when a person "sticks" to his phone from morning till night. The normal need of an intelligent being for information and an abnormal method of satisfying it.
Remember the players who played games day and night and ... died? It's from there. Homo Sapiens are "informational" creatures with all the pros and cons of this as follows. Organized human society (starting with the Sumerians and Mayans) is built on the collection, processing, storage and use of information, and, therefore, a radical change in these issues inevitably leads to a radical reorganization of society, whether we like it or not.
It is not for nothing that they say that the past XX century is the century of cinema. Was it cinema that largely shaped our idea of the world around us and our consciousness? Meanwhile, cinema is just an information technology for the transmission of audiovisual images, no more and no less. Speaking about the industrial revolution of the late XNUMXth - early XNUMXth centuries, they usually list different technologies from metallurgy, chemistry, and electrical engineering. But human consciousness and human society were much more strongly changed not by open-hearth furnaces, dams and blooming mills, but by radio, cinema and the mass press, available for a penny to everyone.
This had both its pluses and minuses: it is clear that the Holocaust, as well as the destruction of “racially inferior Slavs”, were physically impossible without a broad propaganda campaign through mass media and such mass means of transportation as rail transport throughout Europe. Today we have "Twitter revolutions" ... Moreover, as it was correctly noted, a person who calls on Twitter to "go to the streets and overthrow the government" physically may not even be in a "Maidan" country, or maybe even sit on an American military base in USA... Even so.
One cannot but recall Navalny, who at the time of Nemtsov's murder tried to hand out leaflets in the subway and was detained for this. Simply, the comrade acted "in Lenin's way", that is, relying on the technology of 100 years ago ... True, there were not so many "revolutionary workers" in Moscow in 2015. But, as it seems to me, Ulyanov-Lenin, of course, would immediately have appreciated the capabilities of the Internet for the fight against autocracy ...
It means that you sit in a Bernese cafe, chew a bagel, wash it down with coffee, write political articles on a laptop, and "every St. Petersburg worker" reads them on the same day on his smartphone ... Babble! And the autocracy is simply obliged to collapse! Seriously, today for the first time in history there is a possibility of almost unlimited horizontal exchange of information. For the first time in history, the direction of flows has changed. This has almost never happened before.
Even in the era of the Enlightenment, it was enough to control the universities and printing houses, as well as the capital's cafes and salons ... And seditious people found it difficult to roam. More recently, the one who controlled the “buttons” on the TV remote controlled the mass consciousness in many ways. Today the situation has changed dramatically. Symposia and conferences of the past (congresses, ecumenical councils, plenums) were associated with the physical movement of their participants, which was difficult, time consuming and expensive. Today, the discussion of this or that issue can go on continuously, practically "on the job" ... And with a very wide range of participants (those who are interested).
Imagine, quite recently, the only form of discussion of some historical events, but at least on June 22 - a conference, participants, speakers, a presidium, decanters of water ... Publication of the materials of this conference ... In principle, today everyone has the technical ability to address millions, tens of millions with a presentation their ideas on any range of issues (not extremist). Of course, not everywhere, oddly enough.
Overcoming the curse of the physical host
Nevertheless, if earlier the publication of books / articles was limited purely physically: cost, opportunities of printing houses, effective demand for printed literature, etc., and sometimes even talented writers over the years pounded the thresholds of publishing houses, today it is no longer relevant. The problem is in the "content". And again, the volume of, for example, printed articles in traditional paper newspapers was strictly limited to very small sizes. For quite objective reasons.
In rich countries, newspapers could be larger. The magazines were expensive, and again the circulation. Why was “subscription” limited under the USSR? And it's expensive. In fact, these "thick" magazines were expensive just to be published. But they were subsidized, and there was not enough “subscription” for everyone. That is, the clay / papyrus / parchment tablets themselves are a revolution, but the printing press / cheap paper is a revolution, and the transition from physical means of displaying information to electronic ones is also a revolution.
Almost the entire history of human civilization, its information component was limited by physical media. And manuscripts, alas, are burning, and libraries. And Akaki Akakievich (in the XNUMXth industrial century) worked only as a "copier". And remember the "stamp paper". More recently, a completely new, "breakthrough" machine was designed entirely by hand - with a pencil on paper. And they learned how to make copies of drawings on paper quickly and cheaply also quite recently.
Well, and "finalizing the drawing" meant drawing it, in fact, anew. Handles. Today, people who are thousands of kilometers from each other can work on the same "set of drawings". And the same drawing can be edited endlessly, without fear of "wiping the paper to holes." Because there is no paper. Absolutely. Which radically changes the picture. And it changes civilization as a whole. Earlier, again, (continuing the theme of the sets of drawings), if the design bureau made edits and changes to the product, then a gigantic work was to be done to introduce them into numerous copies scattered across different factories ...
The work is complicated and expensive, and it did not always go smoothly ... The paper carrier, in principle, by a certain moment, completely exhausted its capabilities (like clay tablets at one time, and calfskins, a little later). It was simply impossible to develop further on such a basis. That is, the very "fifth revolution" was provided by developments in the field of computers, television, electronic communications. And it was in fact inevitable.
Revolution is not always good and not for everyone
But, of course, along with the positive, there are also negative aspects of the same revolution: along with the already mentioned unhealthy TV / Internet / gaming addiction, there is the fact that the so-called "social networks" from the very beginning were closely guarded by the special services (no one to interrogate: a person “starts a case and conducts it” on himself, and there are pictures). Also, if the printed circulation is extremely difficult to withdraw, then the electronic database (for example, historical information) "to correct" is much easier and faster. Imagine the Ministry of Truth from 1984 in modern realities ... No need to burn any newspapers and tear down posters ... Oceania always fought against Eurasia ... or Eastasia? Not important. It is enough to start the "information update" and everything changes. On tablets and TV screens in places where "voters" gather.
The funniest thing is that "robots work in - a man is happy", it was predicted for himself, although it did not come true, man's flights to Mars did not come true unambiguously, but the general network horizontal somehow none of the "futurologists" foreshadowed the exchange of information. By the way, the outright trash around "Russian interference in the US elections" is largely due to the West's horror over the loss of the information monopoly. The so-called "freedom of speech" and "freedom of the press" existed there exclusively in the field of propaganda.
Thus, Russia is given to understand that Any trying to work with an American audience will be seen as aggression. That is, oddly enough, the same Americans nobody at all do not want to start up on their information plot. Nobody at all. And from this it is necessary to draw appropriate conclusions. But it became clear only after the next information revolution.
By the way, you can learn about real life in Germany from the German press or from the Russian, or from the electronic network biographies of the Russian Germans, who were en masse in Germany after 91. The difference is amazing. The author himself was deeply shocked, in particular, by the presence of a powerful organized crime in the Bundes Republic. It's like describing a flood in New Orleans (and our bloggers were there!). From first hand it looks very different.
In any case, the revolution took place exactly where it was not quite expected. And as a result of this revolution, the transformation of modern society inevitably occurs. As it was after Bell and Gutenberg. Inevitably. After all, no one today will deny that without writing the existence of a complex society is, of course, possible, but very, very difficult. Scribes in Ancient Egypt, scribes in Sumer, scribes in China, it was they who constituted the basis of civilization in terms of information support. The invention of simple (non-iroglyphic) writing made literacy accessible to the broad masses and completely changed the societies in which it became possible.
The printing press literally "blew up" Medieval Europe, and it was the unwillingness of the same Ottomans to publish books in large quantities (for religious reasons) that determined their lag. The print press is getting close (historically) and an obvious revolution. No, of course, no one hid Gutenberg's achievement, but this is presented somehow in passing, along with gunpowder and geographical discoveries. So to speak, "in a bundle". So, I would like to note the particular importance of this very printing press of Gutenberg, which is no less important for the development of European civilization than the creation of ocean-going ships and a compass combined, and, plus, nautical charts.
This invention (and its widespread introduction into the life of Europeans) in itself changed a lot. Information component. The printing press destroyed feudalism no worse than gunpowder cannons and muskets with arquebusses. The ability to virtually instantly transmit information over vast distances has once again changed human history. Radio + telegraph / telephone are not just "inventions" as they like to present them, they are revolutionary changes. It was they who largely predetermined the onset of the XNUMXth century with its cinema and television.
The end of the XX and the beginning of the XIX - this is the very "fifth information", the computer (in any form) plus the network completely reshape civilization. Well, there has never been a "horizontal communication" so cheap, simple and global. No one could easily transfer entire libraries from continent to continent in tens of seconds. On the other hand, the ability to read / write for the last thousand years has been absolutely necessary for a serious exchange of information, recently the situation has changed dramatically not for the better.
That is, again, the norms and rules (and technologies) of human society were created in the “previous information era” and are very poorly suited to the new one. In any case, the society that was "standard" in the era of the 80s, as if suddenly became history. That is, a smartphone, oddly enough, will inevitably play the same role as the Gutenberg press in the XNUMXth century or the telephone / telegraph / cheap mass printing in the XNUMXth century.
In other words, it will completely reshape both human consciousness and the entire civilization.