How... now?

How... now?

Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 7 August 2018

A friend recently recommended a book to me that turned out to be a rather enjoyable read. The book is “How we got to now” by Steven Johnson. It is a book that, in layman’s terms, describes the path followed by associated inventions or discoveries and how they led up to the wonderful technological world we live in today.

Some chapters deal with things like how learning to melt sand into glass, and the shaping of the glass into lenses brought us into today’s world of reading glasses, microscopes, and telescopes which pretty much allows us the understanding of the universe as we now understand it. Other chapters explain how the invention of artificial light, through candles, whale oil, gaslight and the electric light has completely changed how and how much we humans now sleep and therefore accomplish so much more with each 24 hour day. The idea of disinfection of our water and our hands before performing such acts as assisting in childbirth or performing medical operations, and idea we take for simply obvious today, was not realized until very late, and it made a huge impact on our mortality. It is a fun book.

It took me back to my early general college courses in chemistry and physics. In such classes, it is common to follow the history of inventions and ideas that were breakthroughs from then-current thought. By following those paths the student is given an insight not only of how science works but also of the fundamental principles that make up current rules and laws.


And, as usual, my thoughts eventually turned to flyfishing, and fly casting in particular. I may have missed it, but I don’t think we have that book on how we got to now as far as casting theory goes. I cannot count the number of fly casting books I have read. I know there are many ways to skin a cat, but it seems most books are skinning the same poor cat over and over.


If someone (or someones Cool) were to write that how-to-now flycasting book I think I can guess at a few stepping stones that would be mentioned. Quite possibly Charles Ritz’s book on high line/ high speed would be mentioned. The Gammels’ 5 Essentials probably would have some pages too. Personally, I think Server Sadik’s concept of the self-decelerating mechanism would need mention. In fact, I think there are a number of SL members or sometime contributors that would definitely deserve some ink.


One of the common historical facts that showed up time after time in the book I just read was the reluctance of powerful established institutions to accept groundbreaking ideas. One needs to look no further than how the Roman Inquisition sentenced Galileo for having the audacity to suggest that the earth was not the center of the universe!


Such reluctance in fly casting theory is easy to see today when one still finds “teachers” on Utube insisting that all the energy in the cast is stored in the rod then released in the “spring”. I’m sure others here on SL can suggest a number of relic ideas that some supposed gurus just cannot let go.


I think someone should write that book for flycasting! In fact, I think Sexyloops just might be the best “author” of a book on how we actually did get to now!


Would anyone like to help fill in the blanks?