The history of humanity can be thought of as a great evolutionary continuum of the mind. Over different periods of time people have gravitated toward different beliefs, held onto them, then often let them go as new ideas or ideologies took their place. In this way people have learned from, and built on, the knowledge or ignorance of those who have gone before them. A great example of this can be seen in the transition from the Age of Reason and the Industrial Revolution. The developments in thinking that occurred during the Age of Reason enabled the vast amounts of doing that happened during the Industrial Revolution.
The Age of Reason saw the development of a new kind of thinking. People broke free of the shackles of mysticism and superstition and embraced a belief in the power of science to solve problems and answer questions. This had an incredibly empowering effect, as now people could be more self-reliant and look to find their own fact based explanations for things and take responsibility for improving their situation. People could turn to the microscope instead of the pulpit to explain natural phenomenon, and could try to engineer solutions instead of looking for divine intervention to save the day.
This thinking gave rise to an attitude of action in people, and that attitude is exemplified to the extreme in the Industrial Revolution. Energy sources were found and exploited, which fed the incredible number of machines and factories being built. Our entire society was transformed into an industrial juggernaut, and manufacturing processes grew to a size never before seen. It is debatable if the long term transformation effects of the Industrial Revolution are a societal improvement over more agrarian societies, but it is a fact that the Industrial Revolution saw a scaling up of production to previously unseen levels. This rise in technology can be attributed to the developments of the Age of Reason in two ways: when people began to embrace science they began to make technological leaps and when people began to believe they were the authors of their density they began to believe anything was possible.
Just as nature develops and adapts via evolution, the human mind has shaped history though the story of its evolution. Throughout history we see examples of people building on the ideas of those that have gone before them, evolving those ideas and taking them to the next level. One of the best examples of this can be seen in the relationship between the Age of Reason and the Industrial Revolution. As this essay has discussed, the developments in thinking that occurred during the Age of Reason enabled the vast amounts of doing that happened during the Industrial Revolution.