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The Ascent of Man has ratings and reviews. Joshua Nomen-Mutatio said: It’s said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. Tim Radford finds Bronowski’s history of humanity, The Ascent of Man – reissued with a foreword by Richard Dawkins – as compelling as ever. With Jacob Bronowski, Joss Ackland, Roy Dotrice, Stefan Bor-Grajewicz. An account of man’s development through his scientific and technological.

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The Ascent of Man

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Ascenh Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Bronowski’s exciting, illustrated investigation offers a perspective not just on science, but on civilization itself. Lower than the angels Foreword The harvest of the seasons The grain in the stone The hidden structure The music of the spheres The starry messanger The majestic clockwork The drive for power The ladder of creation World within world Knowledge or certainty Generation upon generation The long childhood Bibliography Index Paperbackpages.

Published September 1st by Little Brown and Company first published California Book Award for Nonfiction Gold To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Ascent of Manplease sign up. I have read Cosmos by Carl Sagan and loved it so much that I read it k.

I am sure that I’ll like this one too. In other words, I want to know if reading this will feel exactly like Cosmos, because I look for something new in every book. Richard Kolivoski One thing that Carl Sagan asserts is the wonders of the Cosmos and the comparative insignificance of mankind.

Bronowski is not Sagan.

He will …more One thing that Carl Sagan asserts is the wonders of the Cosmos and the comparative insignificance of mankind. He will demonstrate with equal vigor and insight, that mankind possesses the one thing that no other being or known force in the universe can– the ability to change the environment through thought and action.

I agree with Sagan that mankind is not the pinnacle of all creation. We are not the center of the universe, nor was the universe designed for us. Bronowski, in contrast, reminds us that humans are still fascinating, inventive, beings capable great things. See 1 question about The Ascent of Man…. Lists with This Book. That’s false, tragically false. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Thee this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people.

And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance, it tbe done by dogma, it was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how the “It’s said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers.

When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods. Science is a very human form of knowledge.


We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in ascentt stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end, the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: Think it possible you may be mistaken. We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power.

We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act.

We have to touch people. View all 7 comments. Mar 20, Roy Lotz rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Ascent of Man is a remarkable program. I had doubts that anyone could produce a series to match Civilisationbut Bronowski made something that might even be better.

Bronowski was a polymath: In this program, his topic is the history of science. We thus begin with Homo erectuslearning how to chip away stone to make tools. As Bronowski notes, this simple ability, to chip away at a stone until a cutting edge is left, is a remarkable indication of human uniqueness. Since the behavior is learned and is not an instinct, it requires a preconception of what the toolmaker wants to create, a certain amount of imagination is required to picture the goal before it is realized.

Even with an archaeologist giving me advice, I was only able to create stone tools of the sophistication of an Australopithecus—randomly beating the stone until a sharp edge was created. Thus both our creative drive and our knowledge are involved in this quintessentially human activity. Man alone leaves traces of what he created. What is this human spirit? Indeed, these can be pithily described by saying that humans retain many childlike characteristics throughout their lives.

Each of these structures, he explains, is a more sophisticated solution to this problem: The lintel and post system used by the Greeks leads to a forest of columns, and the Mezquita, although less crowded, is still filled with arches.

Mna Medieval Christians achieved a magnificent solution by placing the buttresses on the outside, thus leading to the towering, open interior of Reims. This progression represents better and better understandings of the structural properties of stone, of the force of gravity, and of the distribution of weight. Bronowski hte to talk about how humanity has come to understand space, and how this understanding of space underpins our knowledge of structure.

How does he do it? He goes to the Alhambra, and analyzes the symmetry in the tiles of the Moorish Palace. Then, he bends down and spreads a bunch of crystals on the ground, broonowski begins to talk about the molecular symmetry that gave rise to them.

How many people would think to compare Moorish architecture with modern chemistry? As the title suggests, this series is not simply about science or art fo, but about science through history. Bronowski aims to show how bronoowski, once mwn from the constraints of instinct, used a combination of logic and imagination to achieve ever-deeper conceptions of our place in the universe. This is the Ascent of Man: Imagine not knowing any of that.


This means spreading a understanding and an appreciation of science, as his programs tries to do. This strikes me as terribly important. Science can solve some problems, and can do so very well. And bronowsji, as Bronowski points out, is the very opposite of dehumanizing and arrogant.

Science is a most human form of knowledge, born of humility of our intellectual powers, based on repeated mistakes and guesses, always pressing forward into the unknown, always revising its opinions based on evidence. Atrocities are committed, not by people who are trained to question their own beliefs, but by ideologues who are convinced they are right. But like in any good story, the telling is half of it. This not only gives him a n for similes, but helps him to explain how science is fundamentally creative.

As he explains, both the portrait and these readings are interpretations of their subjects. The cinematography is also excellent. There are some sequences in this documentary that are still jan, saturated as we are with CGI. There are even some jj psychedelic sections.

One of my favorite of these was a sequence of microscopic shots of human cells with Pink Floyd who contributed music jamming chaotically in the background. Yes, there are some parts of bronoweki that are outdated. Most obviously, much of pf scientific information is no longer accurate—particularly the information on human evolution in the first episode. This is unavoidable, and is in fact a tribute to the ideals Bronowski championed. Less controversially, he also has some negative words to say about Hegel.

The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski – review

Did you know Hegel published an absurd thesis when he was young about how the distance of the orbits of the planets had to conform to a number series? This would never fly on television today, at least not in the States. But these flaws thhe minor in such a tremendous program. The Ascent of Man is a landmark in the history of science education and of documentary making, and a stirring vision of the progress of humanity by an brilliant and sympathetic man.

I hope you get a chance to watch it. View all 20 comments. Nov 05, Tony rated it really liked it Shelves: I immediately went out and bought the companion book to the series and read it straight through.

The Ascent of Man (TV Mini-Series ) – IMDb

This edition, published by The Folio Society, is a reprint of that edition with a new foreword by Mervyn Bragg, and was one of the presentation volumes for members. Aside from that, this volume provides an excellent history of the development of intellectual progress that led to man being what he is today.

There are thirteen chapters, corresponding to the thirteen episodes on PBS.