Similarities Between 'Ladder And The Cone And Measuring Heads'

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The texts "Ladder and the Cone" and "Measuring Heads", both by Stephen J. Gould, examine the concepts of superiority and evolution. The history of the two concepts have had large impacts on human thought for very long periods of time. Different cultures have interpreted the two concepts to fit their ideologies, specifically the British Empire and Nazi Germany are two notable examples of influential countries whose histories and cultures were greatly affected by their own ideas of supremacy. Their views on superiority were drastically different in how they were implemented and yet very similar in their goals, in a superficial sense. To put it simply Nazi Germany sought to exterminate foreign cultures, while the British wanted to either expel…show more content…
The average adult German citizen at that time would have probably have been born towards the end of the second German Reich right after WW1 and have little experience in the height of its imperial power but their elders would have probably instilled a sense of past glory to the reader. At the beginning of Nazi Germany in the early 1930 's, ideas of German superiority would have been permeating throughout society establishing a sense of optimism in its citizens after suffering through two decades of hardship. Ideas of racial superiority would have played a major role in the thought process of the reader of course, this means that even reading a text that opposed their viewpoint and critiqued its faults the reader would have misinterpreted its message. Such as in reading Gould 's "Ladder and the Cone" essay, the reader would have misinterpreted how people misunderstand evolution into people should not just think of humans as the peak of perfection but specifically the white German male as evolution 's summit. In "Ladder and the Cone: Iconographies of Progress" Gould constantly refers to the human interpretation of the progress of evolution and how incorrectly it represents the reality of evolution, "The familiar iconographies of evolution are all directed−sometimes crudely, sometimes subtly−towards a comfortable view of human inevitability and superiority…show more content…
Depending on their upbringing and social status a Brit may convey dissimilar thoughts on Gould 's works. A working class factory worker would think of how he couldn 't enjoy the benefits of being in the so-called elite of society, while a member of Parliament may consider it his right to order the spreading of his ideas to lesser people and how Gould 's essays were proof of right he is. Granted this false impression of Gould 's work would be the very thing he disdained about how people viewed evolution and superiority wrong. It assumed that British civilization was inherently superior to those it was subjugating. Gould expresses in "Measuring Heads" how starting with an assumption causes no advancement in thought, "They began with conclusions, peered through their facts and came back in a circle to the same
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