If anything, we might even assert that certain 'ideas', those which constitute our knowledge, are more fundamental than the more complex material means of production, as may be seen from the following consideration. Imagine that our economic system, including all machinery and all social organization, was destroyed one day, but that technical and scientific knowledge was preserved. In such a case it might not take very long before it was reconstructed (on a smaller scale, and after many had starved). But imagine all knowledge of these matters to disappear, while the material things were preserved. This would be tantamount to what would happen if a savage tribe occupied a highly industrialized but deserted country. It would soon lead to the complete disappearance of all the material relics of civilization.
--Karl Popper, "Open Society and its Enemies", ch. 15
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Answer to Mr. Popper: Which situation can preserve humanity?
Preserving all knowledge, but losing all machinery and social organization.
Preserving all material things, but losing all knowledge.
It's a chicken-or-the-egg question.
Humanity is never conserved, but always in flux.
Humanity is generally preserved, but not through material things nor through knowledge.
all comments screened: please discuss or debate, but let me know if you don't want your comment unscreened. Not everyone might want to "get into it" but I would value what people can say.