I know it is late, but in the interest of waiting for my sheets to dry I figured I would take the time and go ahead and do a little feature with a dear friend. We speak quite a lot and I have encouraged him to continue writing and submitting to publishers, knowing one of them will bite. I even encouraged him to submit his work to my own publisher, Permuted Press! I am hoping he hears from them soon and has good news to share.
So, I am handing over the blog tonight to good friend and fellow writer R.M Willis with his discussion on the BIG 5!
Civilizations Big 5
I work with teenagers, and like all youth they often have questions that the average adult citizen is too busy to consider. The other day a young man asked me what made civilization possible. It got me thinking. There are many potential answers to this question; religion, law, money. All certainly led to the growth of mankind, but I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to get at the very roots of what created civilization, what we needed to move past the animal stage. I came up with five things. Five things, that without which man would have been surpassed by some other higher life form to dominate our globe. Five things which gave birth to civilization itself, the first one of course is fire.
Fire being a contributor to civilization is almost a no brainer. It provided us with light, heat, and a place to congregate at night and begin our oral history. Fire means protection, and the ability to cook our food. Fire became the forge, gave birth to trains, led to rockets, and made s’mores possible.
After fire the second most important invention to civilization was the cup. The ability to contain water and take it with you allowed mankind to venture out away from lakes and rivers. It made us mobile and gave us the opportunity to settle and exploit parts of the world that were never before possible.
Third is the ever important hammer. Why a hammer you might ask. Well that’s easy. The hammer is the first real tool. Without a hammer we couldn’t have made weapons, or other tools. In essence is gave us the ability to create, and to build. It allowed us the opportunity to live outside of caves, and even became a song! Ahh, if I only had a hammer.
Fourth is another no brainer, the wheel. The wheel made it easy to move heavy things long distances. It allowed us to travel quickly, and with a few modifications became the cogs in our machinery. The wheel as far as inventions go is almost the most important one off all to the actual birth and nurturing of civilization as we know it. There is however one more that I think we must address. One so vitally important that without out it we may have died off years ago, never to move past the infinitesimal stages of civilization that the other four allowed to happen. I’m speaking of course of written language.
The ability to record and communicate accurately over space and time was the true birth of civilization. There is no person more powerful in history then the author who stares at a blank page. Why? Because history itself would be unknown without it. We couldn’t learn, grow, or share ideas, and we certainly couldn’t record them down for future generations. The written word is what gave rise to the mass population that rules the world and now ventures forth into space. Nothing past the first four inventions would have been possible without it.
So that’s it. There is my answer. When I shared it with the 15 year old young man who asked me the question he smiled and thanked me. Since then he’s thought about it and we’ve had many philosophical discussions about life and its meaning, and that my friends is a good thing.