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A list of some things that have been appropriated by some cultures from others

Writing. Roman letters. Arabic numerals. The number zero. The horse (by which I mean, horses).

Stirrups. The guitar and piano. The blues. Prussian blue. Circumcision. Photography. Aristotle. The scientific method.

Paracetamol. Electronics. Steam and internal combustion engines. Cotton. Vulcanised rubber. The bicycle.

The sewing machine. The motorcycle. Imperial units. The metric system. The compass. Silk. Algebra.

Roses. Chickens. Terrorism. Vaccination.

Plastics. Money. Powered flight. So many words in so many directions. Kimchi. Sushi. The English language. Tea.

Surfing. Sailing. Jazz, rock n roll. Ragtime. The piano. Cinema. The production line.

Coffee. Holy books. Geometry. Astronomy. Shakespeare. Badminton. Samurai stories. Cowboy stories. Stories.

The novel. The national anthem. Chocolate. Tobacco. Tabasco.

The haiku. Dreadlocks. Double-entry book keeping. The backbeat. Noodles. Gunpowder.

The electric guitar. Dhansak. “Western” medicine. Martial Arts. Rifling. The postal system. Soap.

Pizza. The chilli / tomato / potato. The potato dibber.

Yams. MSG. Bronze. Iron. Steel. Accents. Screw thread standards.

Napoleonic law codes. Cricket. Skateboarding. SOCCER. Sarongs.


The printing press. Eye glasses. The arch. Nylon. The zip(per). The newspaper. The internet.

The research university. Poker. Many songs and tunes. Thatch. Pyramids.

Bricks. Concrete. Money. Radio. The limited company. Skyscrapers. Tango.

The stock market. Modern sanitation. Rice cultivation. The Haber-Bosch process.

Recorded music. Portable music players. Pavlova.


In short:

It’s (shoulders of giant) turtles all the way down.

Why not add your own?

See also:

Cultural Hybridity, Fast and Slow
Utagawa Hiroshige and Jakob Nielsen: Art vs Design
Zen Hae on cross-pollination, imitation and innovation in Indonesian Peranakan literature
Choose What You Want (on the ‘authentic’ watermelon, hybridity and selective breeding)
Hybrids (1) (John Stuart Mill on diversity)
Hybrids (2): combinations and connections (Tim O’Reilly on Combinatorial Innovation)
Hybrids (3): when ideas breed (Kevin Kelly on Combinatorial Innovation)
Matt Ridley: 15 principles of innovation from “How Innovation Works”
Tom Peters: “What Diversity Problem?”
Technology (16): Clustering Technologies, Clustering People (v2)
Technology (23): Elizabeth Eisenstein on how the printing press created new networks and sparked further innovation

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...