Time Binding

Humans as Time-binders

The most critical difference between humans and animals is our ability to create, manipulate, record, and transform symbols. The ability to transfer knowledge from human to human, within and across generations, is called time-binding. Languages and other symbol systems provide humans with the means to document experiences, observations, tips, descriptions. Knowledge among the human species can therefore accumulate and advance as a body, not as random lessons taught and learned by copying, mimicking, or experience. All human achievements are cumulative; no one of us can claim any achievement exclusively as his own.

We all must use consciously or unconsciously the achievements of others, some of them living but most of them dead, to do greater things by help of things already done by others. It is this ability to ‘bind’ time that makes humans human, and is the defining capability of human time-binders. The capacity for accumulating experience, enlarging it, and transmitting it for future expansion is the peculiar power, the characteristic energy, the definitive nature, the defining mark, of man.