In the past, there came multiple civilizations to high flourishment but yet, after reaching a peak, slid back. They left behind impressive buildings as evidence of their high spirit.

Think of the Easter Islanders, the Mayas, the Egyptians, the Mesopotamians, the Chinese and many more.

Why did those civilizations come to an end and why didn’t they invent the steam engine? As the Western civilization did?

I think they lacked new challenges. They lived in a habitat in which all possibilities to devise new manipulations were used, there was simply no more material to think of something new. I have explained earlier that this is the core of people’s existence.

In Europe, where Homo sapiens arrived 40,000 years ago from East Africa, the changing climate was a new challenge. He had to protect himself from the cold: he built cabins, he sewed bears skins onto each other as clothing, lit fires to warm up. He built a society with a lot of comfort and convenience.

And then the particular geography of Europe started to play a role.  

That began when the middle ages were already behind. Europe stands out from other continents by its extraordinary long coastline that surrounds the people.

This created a thriving marine shipping that was matched nowhere else. Thanks to the great inland seas as the Eastern and Mediterranean Sea, sea-going vessels had access to wood, corn and tropical fruits areas.

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There was mass transport of such products, that didn’t succeed on camels backs. It was the shipping that would uncover the whole world.

The habitat of the Western civilization was not limited to an island, nor to a strip along the Nile or an area of Euphrates and Tigris. No, they reached around the whole world and the challenges would not dry up and that applies to the present day.

Especially the Spanish, Portuguese, English and Dutch excelled in it. This made the exploitation of other parts of the world possible and I think this is one of the reasons why Western civilization took such a high flight and still has.

Shipping with his ropes, pulleys and levers were the prelude to the mechanical technique with the steam engine as the beginning of an unbridled technical development.

© Max Farjon 2017