I was listening to my favorite podcast today (Dear Hank and John) and somebody sent in this question that had me thinking. "If there were never birds or things that could fly, would we have ever built planes?" Would we have a concept of flying if we never saw a bird or an insect do it? I mean we would know about dropping and jumping because we can jump and we can dive off boards and cliffs. Would we only know about flying as something hitting the ground and never just going up?
We would probably call it floating. Somehow, someway, someone would have discovered a floating object from the pressure of the air beneath it. Then that someone would have wondered, because boy, can we wonder. And that wondering would have asked, "Can something move while floating?" And then it would've been called mloating instead of flying.
woahhhhh, that just blw my mind.
I love CherryShark's response. It makes a ton of sense. I had another thought, that humans have always been able to come up with concepts for things that we've never seen before. Our imaginations are part of what it means to be human. So imagining that humans could 'turn invisible' or 'read thoughts' would be just as mystical of an idea as 'flying'. Perhaps it wouldn't have developed as soon as it did if we had never seen something fly, because we'd have to be aware of the physics of it in order to come to the conclusion that it was possible. Knowing that wind can carry an object would probably be enough, but humans would have had to invent the concept of 'wings', and I imagine it would probably take a while to get there if you'd never seen them before.
That would leave the bugs there would have gotten some idea...
I'm sure eventually we would have developed planes. We've done plenty of other stuff not seen in nature like MRI scanners to (sort of) tell what people are thinking. (Well at least what parts of the brain they're using)