Standing on the shoulders of giants

The twenty first century man is undoubtedly indebted to his ancestors for their contributions towards making the world all that it is today. We live in an age of accelerated growth, development, innovation and creation and it is very tempting to take all the credit for our accomplishments. However, the truth still remains that we would not have reached the current levels of advancement had it not been for the work of our predecessors.

Invention is a tedious process. It involves working long hard hours putting together all the components, discovering that you were wrong and starting all over again. It took Thomas Alva Edison one thousand different attempts to get the light bulb right. He toiled diligently not giving up or getting disheartened by his failed attempts and now thanks to him we can light up our world. But more than his invention of the light bulb itself, by getting it wrong a thousand times he has shown us what will and will not work…We now know a thousand different ways that would result in failure. Therefore, even in the transition from that simple light bulb to the big powered lights we have today, Edison has saved us a lot of time by showing us what went wrong. Learning from the mistakes that people have made before us saves us the time that we would have otherwise spent rediscovering those mistakes for ourselves.

Furthermore, certain amenities that people have created or discovered for us in the past have resulted in today exponentially growing rate of development. Better infrastructure jump starts the engine that drives today’s world of innovation. For example, take anything you would consider a great achievement of this generation and undoubtedly you will find that it would not have been possible if Benjamin Franklin hadn’t discovered electricity.

So far we have only seen the technical side of it; we as a nation are indebted to our freedom fighters for the work they have put in that makes us the country we are now. We would also be indebted the founders of the great religions in the world today for promoting an overall sense of peace and inculcating good values in us as men, making us a more tolerating race.  We would also owe a great deal to the masters in the fields of fine arts have diversified our repertoire today. For instance, Dan Brown’s best seller, Inferno was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Our indebtedness therefore is not limited to just the inventors, but all our ancestors and our fellow men because have and are contributing in some way or the other to make tomorrow a better place. It is therefore imperative that we look at laboring arduously as a duty, just as our ancestors did so that we move from the ENIAC (the first digital computer) that took up thousand eight hundred square feet to the Macintosh that sits so elegantly on your lap, or from the chariots to the Ferrari. Whatever it may be man has always been one to discover and not be content. He discovers and improves, invents and enhances. He builds on what his predecessors have done. Like Isaac Newton said if we have seen any further it would be by standing on the shoulders of giants. We are where we are today because someone before us gave the fruit of their lives’ work so that we may eat and hopefully plant the seed.


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