JB: I wrote a book called the Identity of Man. I never saw the cover of the English edition until the book reached me in print. And yet the artist had understood exactly what was in my mind, by putting on the cover a drawing of the brain and the Mona Lisa, one on top of the other

A Man Without a Mask
by Jacob Bronowski

IT IS STRANGE to see that the spread of machines made the men who worked them conscious, first of their own work, and then of themselves as men. Yet this is what the Industrial Revolution did. It forced men in the long run to seek their destiny, and to find their station, not in the hand of God but in their own hands.'

'The machines changed the organisation of society, and shifted the centre of a man's life from his cottage home to the daily factory. In that shift, the man ceased to be a member of his family and his village, and in the long run become simply himself: a person. Because the machine in the factory changed the order in his life, it slowly changed the status of the worker who served it. It regimented and brutalized and starved him, it exploited him and (for a long time) his family, and it robbed him of everything but his skill. And yet, by these acts in the end it made him a man - a man alone.'

First Published by Secker and Warburg, London, 1944.

The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski

Copyright © 2000 The Estate of Jacob Bronowski. All rights reserved.