Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Human mind is truly ingenuous. Time and again, when he finds himself cornered against a wall with no help or scope to wiggle out, his mind shall think of some innovative way to tackle the situation and make life worth living.

This English proverb is as old as the existence of man himself. Though its true origin is not known, yet the first written documentation of this proverb appeared in the works of the Greek philosopher Plato and later in the writings of Richard Franck, who used it in his book ‘Northern Memoirs’. Alexander Duman brilliantly captured this proverb in his work ‘Ten Years After’.

This roughly translates that the primary driving force that propels man to take initiative, take action is the need to achieve something. When the need to necessitate an action becomes imperative, an invention / discovery or innovation shall invariably follow suit.

Since time immemorial all discoveries and inventions made by man was in response to the pressing need he felt at that juncture in order to survive sustain or improve the quality of his life. His desire to make the earth a more comfortable and better place to live in, for himself and for his off-springs is what propelled him to necessitate action. It ignites the inherent passion in each human being and any work driven by passion is bound to yield positive outcome.

Right from the pre-historic times when Man dwelt in caves to the modern man, stomping his way in the 21st century, we have come across several examples that authenticate this proverb. It was human need for food, shelter, clothing and security that necessitated the earliest inventions since there was no prior knowledge or tool to help him get that done. The making of first stone weapons to hunt down the animals for food, the first hide that was skinned to provide his clothing needs, the first shed that was ever built to shelter him from rain and cold, the first fire that was ever ignited to ward away the wild animals at night and help him cook the food to be able to ingest it, the first fishing rod ever made to draw in the fishes, the list is endless. Had his survival needs not been so intense, so acute, man would till date been contented living wild life likes existence at the mercy of nature.

With the march ahead in civilisation, came more evolved needs. The earliest hides gave way to cotton, wool, silk, the food habits evolved to take into account farming and cultivation, the shelters became more structured and man started living in societies, looking out for each other and making considerable strides in technology, education, health services, administration, defence and likewise.

Today, the world around us has changed beyond imagination and everyday new inventions and discoveries are taking place to enhance our quality of life even further. However, the inventions must be done with caution and one must remember that there is a very fine line between necessity and greed and man, time and again has given in to this diabolical streak and put forth the survival of Mother Earth at stake for his transgressions.

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