November is the month to be grateful. We’re reminded of that every Thanksgiving. We have a special day set aside just for that purpose — we celebrate that day with our family or close friends. What am I grateful for you ask? I’m grateful for Eduoard Benedictus.
Who the hell is Eduoard Benedictus?
Benedictus was a chemist and artist who invented the first safety glass. Why is this important? The windshield in every car you drive in or are transported in is made with his glass technology. I know what you’re thinking.
Why’d I bother to read this God awful article?
I wonder if there’s anything good in the fridge?
To me this importance became crystal clear a few weeks ago. I was driving into work, mindlessly listening to a podcast while I drove along at 55 miles per hour.
Two rocks flew out of nowhere and slammed into my windshield. They hit so hard it actually scared me and seemed like it made the car shake. The result was two chips in my windshield. That violent collision only resulted in two chips. I thought about it as I drove, if there was no shield in front of my face, I’d probably be dead. If that glass wasn’t shatterproof, as Benedictus designed it, the windshield would have exploded in my face while I was driving down the highway. Either way, I’d have been dead.
I happened to be the beneficiary of someone else’s genius. What did I have to do to be awarded this benefit? Not a damn thing. I was just born into this age. That was my only act. As I thought more about this little episode, it made me grateful for the age we live in. How many little things around me that keep me safe were created by another’s genius?
We Stand On The Backs Of The Giants Who Came Before Us
So much of what we do every day is mindlessly done with other people’s inventions and life’s work. You turn on a stove that you didn’t build. You use a phone that you didn’t create. You count using a numerical system you didn’t invent. We’re able to conveniently stand on the back of whatever giant came before us. We can also build on this giant’s work in order to turn ourselves into a giant as well.
How wonderful is that? How can you not be grateful for that?
You might say to yourself, but that’s obvious and expected. Of course, we build off of what our predecessors did — we’re humans, that’s what we’re good at. You’d be correct in saying that, but this hasn’t always been the case. In the long life of human existence, this growth progress hasn’t always been so.
In times past, it wasn’t unusual to see great ruins of an unknown civilization. Ancient stone buildings of beauty and grandeur, just left for some unknown reason, by some unknown people. Often these buildings were larger and of a technology that couldn’t be duplicated by the awed onlooker. Knowledge would be lost, skills forgotten, which would need to be learned again at some future time. Even with the great technology today, some civilizations being dug up by archeologists are blank slates. This collapse and disappearance used to be common.
Think of the fall of the Roman Empire. One day there was a civilization with technology, process, and standards. Then, poof, it was destroyed. What replaced it was known as a dark age. It would take centuries to relearn what the Romans took for granted as they stood on the back of their giants.
The Upward Chart Of Knowledge
Knowledge in our day is like is like an unending chart going upwards. For this I am grateful and all of humanity should be too. We should be grateful for all these giants that came before us and left us their gift of knowledge. We should be grateful for the little things that keep us safe every day, which were developed by these giants. We should repay these giants by becoming giants ourselves and passing on our knowledge on as well.
We are the recipients of a never-ending stream of knowledge. Humanity of our age truly has access to a fountain of continuously growing wisdom that’s unprecedented in our species. We have so much to be grateful for.
Yup, I got all of that out of a couple rocks hitting my windshield!
Thank you for reading my ramblings. If you enjoyed what you’ve read, please share.