In this episode, Ben reviews the history of the discovery of the longitude - a problem that vexed humanity for a millennium. Eventually solved by John Harrison, who spent the majority of his life on the problem, the solution of the longitude marks an important moment in social history when mankind ceased to look to the majesty of nature for external inspiration, and instead turned his attention to the mechanisms of his own contrivance. This symbolic shift from the natural to the manmade represents the ascendency of the empirical method, the coming of the modern age, and the emergence of the Anthropocene. But also, perhaps, the loss of something much larger.
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