Tools are things we use to help us perform certain tasks. Most archaeologists agree that the first tools were based on fingernails and sharp edges (sticks, broken stones). Prehistoric man learned how to make himself bleed many times before moving on to more efficient tools. Conventional wisdom indicates that bandages fashioned from leaves and vines may have been the next wave of tool history.
Fingernails begat arrowheads, which begat friction, which begat sparks and fire, which begat a need for moving quickly, which begat wheels, which begat moving, which begat better weapons against hostile neighbors, which begat metals, which begat a long time of blacksmithing, which begat magnetism, which begat conductivity, which begat telephones, which begat electric power lines, which begat television, atomic bombs, central air conditioning and eventually begat the Internet.
It seems complicated but it isn’t. Even in this age of Wii and mass transit systems, man is still familiar. No matter the technological advances humans are still picking their teeth with extended pinkies, excavating boogers, playing with their genitals and stabbing food with sharp objects. We are no better than prehistoric man. The only difference is that we have better tools, if we choose to employ them (be it hydraulic or Spanish-speaking).
In an effort to get closer to precursors of modern civilization I have made a conscious effort to use only the tools I find handy. I may or may not find the best tool for the job. This struggle has made me appreciate the leaps of technology, but it has also given me insight on the human condition. Consequentially, by rejecting screwdrivers and choosing steak knives, I am more apt to break things. While it might sound like a bleak endeavor to some people, the result of breaking things has renewed my appreciation of human ingenuity.
I do not intend to rebuild the wheel, but I would like to know how the wheel was invented. Did the wheel come from a collective need for roundness, or was it born of frustration? I’d like to know.
From here on out, I will abstain from Craftsman tools and embrace nail files, shoe heels and elbow grease. This blog is not about efficiency. It is about reverse-engineering and making-do. Absolutely there will be obscene language. I am part French, and you would expect nothing less.
I look forward to enjoying your company on this journey. Thank you.
UNKLE – Broken