Today, an odor in the locker room at the gym sparked a thought. Surprisingly, it was a pleasant fragrance, probably lingering from someone having used shampoo. It made me wonder about human inventiveness.
While working out, I tried to decide on the two most significant inventions that mankind has made. In my opinion, they are fire and perfume. Of course, neither is an invention, rather merely an improvement on phenomena found in nature. Man may have improved upon each, which has made them useful for everyday life. I can imagine living with many things, but would not want to return to a life without these.
Man did not discover fire, rather figured out how to use an ember from a blaze caused by lightning. Over the years, fire has evolved all the way to nuclear energy and will surely evolve more over time. Perfume was first extracted from flowers and its chemical formula can now be replicated in laboratories. I’m not sure if room freshener is a big improvement over the fragrance of flowers that it’s trying to simulate, but it usually beats having to breathe the odors that it’s trying to hide.
I’m rather pleased with the benefits of fire and its human improvements. Artificial fragrances have made daily life much more pleasant, because a bunch of flowers cannot overpower strong odors and become with time odoriferous themselves. Still, you cannot beat the smell of a rose, freshly cut grass, or smoke of an oak fire on a cold winter’s night.
What is the worst human invention? That would have to be most financial “instruments”, especially credit default swaps, which enrich a few greedy people to the detriment of many humans.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.