Oh Glod! Has he got another essay due?

Well of course I do… Which is why I’m writing this…

I just wish I could think of something to say… Yeah, I know I say that at the start of most of these things but I actually do think this time I may be suffering from a complete brain freeze…

You see, what I’m supposed to be writing is something about religion in a consumerist society… I can’t go into too many details but suffice to say my views on religion are having to be kept quite heavily caged at the moment… But I don’t want to be thinking about that at the moment… at least, not consciously… I do believe that the brain works quite happily on a problem while it’s engaged somewhere else…

So what else am I going to write about?

It has been suggested, rather obliquely, that maybe I should talk about that wonderful place that is carried through the multiverse on the back of a turtle… and maybe I could… I could tell you that I cried for nearly two days straight when I learned of the passing of The Creator… I could say that I took solace in the shared grief of millions of people across the planet… I could tell you all this but I’m not going to… Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t give you a convincing answer…

Lone Support Angel has just suggested I should write about why she is my ‘one’ but then said that it’s in pretty much everything I write already so no joy there…

Politics? Nah, gotta watch the blood-pressure…

Work? New season doesn’t start until next week and a blog about being stuck in a hotel conference room for two days learning stuff I already knew isn’t going to be all that when you think about it…

Books? I’m not really that good at literary criticism… My reviews tend to be along the lines: It’s a book… It’s got words… I liked it…

Not good really, is it? So, no book reviews then…

And I suppose that rules out reviews of TV, Films and Music… If you’ve read my previous attempt at writing about TV then you know the bullet you’ve just dodged 😉

This really isn’t helping get the creative juices flowing…

Actually, I’ve just had an idea…

Why don’t I tell you about what I think is the greatest invention of all time? I’m sure that will keep a couple of you engaged for two or three minutes… I mean, come on. This is a bit geeky right? OK, so slip your anorak on and let’s explore this train of thought…

Over the past few years TV companies in the UK have been occasionally obsessed with lists… Top 100s, Top 10s, “greatest ever…”, “My favourite…” you name it, they’ve probably made a list, cut together a load of previously viewed footage, got Robert Webb to do the voice over, bribed a whole load of “celebs/experts” with alcohol to spout inane facts or recollections and ruined a perfectly good Sunday evening for lots of people… I will admit, I have seen quite a few of these… Not because I’m obsessed with lists, or even a passing interest in the subject being shown… Possibly they tickle some ever-present history spot inside me… More probably it’s to do with my own laziness… “I don’t find this totally enthralling but it’s not a soap and it’s not a sport I don’t like (for the record, this includes pretty much every sport that isn’t Rugby Union) so I don’t care enough to turn over/off”… So yeah, I’ve watched a few…

A number of years ago the National Treasure that is Mr Steven Fry got in on the act and did his “Top 100 Gadgets” … now I don’t know if it really was his top 100 or not, and truth to tell it doesn’t really matter… All I know is that I, probably like most others that watched it, was shocked by his #1… We’d had them all… the telephone, the VHS, the iPad, the steam-iron, the electric toothbrush… if it was classed as a “gadget” then it probably made the list… But #1 was a real left field choice at first glance… *SPOILER ALERT* it was the pocket lighter! and Mr Fry (Why oh why isn’t Sir Fry?) gave his reasons so convincingly that I could not argue… Think about it… Instant fire!!! How could that not be the greatest gadget?

But I’m not talking about gadgets, I’m talking about inventions… To be honest I don’t know how best to define the difference but I would suggest it could be argued that while every gadget is an invention not every invention is a gadget…

So let’s get back to my favourite invention… A few years ago I would’ve argued that language is the best invention ever… and we would probably find experts in many fields that would agree… and don’t get me wrong, language was a great invention, humans would not dominate the planet the way we do without it…

A few years before that I would probably have argued that movable type was the greatest simply from the social revolution it brought about… again, plenty of academics and lay people would agree with that choice…

But my choice for the greatest invention of all time is this…

Olduvai Handaxe

Olduvai Handaxe

These things have been found dating to over 2.5 MILLION years old…

Now I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that this the first invention, in all probability language was invented long before this… and primates had been using tools for perhaps even longer…  but this had to be invented…

Let me build a little scenario for you…

Here is Tak. Tak and the troupe are sat around a carcass. For as far back as the troupe lore goes meat has been taken from the carcass with teeth and nails, the marrow removed from the bone after the simple expedient of snapping the bone over a knee or by smashing with a rock. But Tak is not happy. Tak can see a lot of food and other resources going to waste. But Tak can see a solution. One of the stones that another of the troupe used to break a bone has just shattered. Tak grabs a piece and starts to think. Slowly, carefully Tak studies the rock. Tak can see the potential. Tak starts to experiment. Tak knows that broken stones are sharp. Tak eventually makes a handaxe. Tak now cuts meat from a carcass.

The above is, of course, fictional but it’s credible don’t you think? You will have noted that I have already acknowledged language and tool use is already established. But now Tak and the troupe have a NEW tool. And what a tool. With this bladed instrument (and the subsequent variants) and the hammer Tak’s descendants change the entire world.

Alright, so those descendants did not actually do a great job of changing the planet but that’s another story.

Peace.

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