The Mechanic's Wisdom

The Mechanic's Wisdom.

Probably the most characteristic attitude of the mechanic toward the forces and materials with which he deals is unquestioning acceptance of the fact that he cannot change or anywise modify the laws of nature or the qualities of materials.

The mechanic, like the rest of us, wants to accomplish a multitude of purposes. Having determined upon the object of his desires, be it a machine to do something, or a change in the location of physical things, he proceeds upon the assumption which I have indicated: that he is debarred from changing or even modifying either the laws of nature or the character of materials; and so sets to work to get a clear understanding of these laws and of the characteristics of the materials involved. Then he so selects his relation to the appropriate forces and materials that thereby (through their natural causc-and-effect functioning) his purpose is accomplished.


Some of you will remember the time, not so very, very many years ago, when aeronautics was still in the balloon stage, and when at our own university here in Berkeley one of our most revered and renowned and forward - looking scientists "demonstrated" that flight by a heavier-than-air contrivance was a physical impossibility — as contravening certain laws of nature.

As we all know, the Professor was wrong. But his error did not come from overrating the laws of nature, but from underrating man's freedom and ingenuity in choosing his relation to them.

The fact of gravitation is beyond the will of man and mechanic — leave it or lump it. It is just the same as it was when the Professor asserted the impossibility of the aeroplane. Yet now the overhead whirr (that still thrills some of us) has become so familiar that busy men hardly look up.

How was this seeming miracle accomplished?

In essence: by a design calculated to put the aviator in suitable speed relation to that proverbially lightest of things, the air, and thus its natural (upthrust) resilient energy counterbalances natural (downthrust) gravitational "pull".

In short, the mechanic utilized natural forces appropriately — placed himself in appropriate relation — and thus attained his desired objective.


An insightful and empirical perspective of our place in the Universe and our potential.

Folksonomies: humanism empiricism perspective

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 Technocracy, First, Second and Third Series Social Universals
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Smyth, Admiral William Henry (2010-08), Technocracy, First, Second and Third Series Social Universals, Nabu Press, Retrieved on 2013-11-08
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