Why the Chief Advantage of Language is Not Communication

The chief advantage of language is not communication but autogeneration“, says Kevin Kelly in his book ‘What Technology Wants‘. “Language is a trick that allows the mind to question itself; a magic mirror that reveals to the mind what the mind thinks; a handle that turns a mind into a tool. With a grip on the slippery, aimless activity of self-awareness and self-reference, language can harness a mind into a fountain of new ideas.”

idea generationLanguage allows us to create new ideas. Without language our own creative capabilities are limited. Putting words on things and concepts allows us to modify our views: shifting words does shift worldviews.

In addition, Kevin Kelly in this quote misses the view that language allows to mobilize the ideas and the creativity of many people at the same time. Brainstorming techniques demonstrate clearly the power of group creativity.

Hence language (which in our framework did create the First Revolution which brought us to the hunter-gatherer state) is a key part of creativity. Without language we cannot conceptualize, we cannot generalize, we cannot categorize and we cannot shift our views.

No wonder that one of the key benefits of speaking several languages is enhanced creativity and a great flexibility when facing diverse situations!


Publication of the first part of the Fourth Revolution manifesto!

The Fourth Revolution Manifesto part I – a short history of humankind – 100,000 years in 3 Revolutions is finally out !

This is also to announce the kick-off of the publication of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto!

Fourth Revolution Manifesto part I cover

You can access the first part of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto – a short history of humankind – 100,000 years in 3 Revolutions by clicking on the link. You can also read and share the Fourth Revolution Manifesto – part I on Scribd .

Don’t hesitate to comment and bring in suggestions in the comments to this blog post!

Note on the future publication of the manifesto

Because of the amount of information and to make it more readable, I have decided to split it into 8 parts. These 8 parts will be progressively released over the next 2 month.


  • Each part will be more readable, being around 30-40 pages.
  • The reader can focus on the sections he or she will want to read… and skip the rest!
  • It is expected that the progressive release of the Manifesto will foster its wide communication.

The first Part of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto is published for the New year 2011 as a good start for an exceptional year!

… and the plan is to publish one part every week for the next weeks, around Sundays!

To discover all parts of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto, here is the link access the Manifesto page on the Fourth Revolution website


A short history of human civilization

Human civilization is gone through 3 Revolutions since 100,000 years.

How do we know that there are only 3 Revolutions, and that these Revolutions have really changed the world? That’s easy. Just look at the world population estimates over time.

human population over time
That cannot be more clear. Each Revolution brought a significant change in the value production system. Many more humans could be sustained. Overall population increased by more than 100 times as each Revolution spread over the planet.

Our physical environment got modified by each Revolution: agricultural farmland, industrial and transportation facilities…

The new value production system of the Fourth Revolution will dwarf the Industrial Age production system. It will change our living environment and the world. Are you ready for the transformation?


Specialization and trade

From Age to Age, from Revolution to Revolution, specialization has increased.

Hunter-gatherers were mainly specialized between men (hunters) and women (gatherers and children-raisers)

In the Agricultural Age, priests, soldiers and specialist artisans were the specialists that did not produce their food.

In the Industrial Age, a multitude of specialist trades developed that did not produce their food and only contributed a small part of the production process.

Specialization cannot develop without trade. Specialists spend their time on their specialty and cannot get what they need to live without trade. Specialists need trade to develop to exchange their production and get what they don’t produce.

Beyond the Fourth Revolution, specialization will further increase. Even maybe to the point where each individual will be recognized as an individual specialist in it’s own self. In any case trade will also necessarily further increase.


The First Revolution

The First Revolution occurred around 100,000 years ago when humans invented speech.

This gave the Homo Sapiens a decisive advantage. Speech is the basis of conscious thought. It is also the basis of creativity because word associations are the first creativity mechanism. Putting together words that don’t fit logically is the start of creativity and poetry.

What about the famous sentence by the French poet Paul Eluard

“the Earth is Blue like an Orange?”