We quickly achieved a precision and widespread adoption of clockwork unmatched previously. And that process is, I think, uniquely Western. and why we think that 'invention' (which can be hard to define if you look at it too closely) is something the West does much better than anyone else.
People of my culture do think this and that is wrong and damaging. Which does not mean that thinking about this is always wrong and damaging - in fact, it has to be considered if it is to be understood and progress made - but I'll freely admit that the former is the common, unconsidered default in the culture I'm mostly made of.
Why is invention seen as proof of Western exceptionalism? I think it's because the unique environment that fosters this as a cultural norm is the industrialisation that promotes invention as a social good (and boy, does that have light and shade). I don't think that exceptionalism under any circumstances is right, I don't think that using invention as part of exceptionalism is right - in fact I particularly resent that - and I don't pretend that this doesn't happen. But I am trying to understand the mechanism.
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