Category: Quotes

Even the effects already discovered are due to chance and
experiment rather than to the sciences; for our present sciences
are nothing more than peculiar arrangements of matters already
discovered, and not methods for discovery or plans for new
operations.

Aphorism VIII. Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Book 1, 1620

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The secret of our success

The secret of our species’ success resides not in the power of our individual minds, but in the collective brains of our communities. Our collective brains arise from the synthesis of our cultural and social natures—from the fact that we readily learn from others (are cultural) and can, with the right norms, live in large and widely interconnected groups (are social). The striking technologies that characterize our species […] emerge not from singular geniuses but from the flow and recombination of ideas, practices, lucky errors, and chance insights among interconnected minds and across generations.

— From Chapter 1, “A Puzzling Primate”, in “The Secret of our Success” Henrich, Joseph Patrick. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter. Princeton University Press, 2016.

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