Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Question of Invention

Littletree and I have been having an interesting discussion over the past few days – she asked me, “what was the first thing that was ever invented?”

It’s a good question.

My initial response was: probably the Wheel.

Littletree saw right through that, and asked: but how did they make a wheel? They must have had some tools. So the tools were invented first.

“So how did they make the tools?” I ask

And so on it goes.

Littletree suggested paint. Because there are cave paintings, so of course, they had paint.

We got on to pondering what constitutes an “invention”. If someone picks up a rock to crack open a nut, that rock is being used as a tool. But is it an invention? It’s still just a rock.

And what about language?

I’m immensely enjoying this discussion; it’s wonderful to have intelligent conversations with my child, to be discussing and deducing and learning with her. Littletree has a way of seeing the world and thinking about things that is totally different to what I’m used to. I guess it comes from having an unprocessed brain ;)

So everyone out there in internet-land, your challenge, should you choose to accept it: Post a comment; what do you think was the first thing ever invented?


  1. Oh do I SO know these conversaions. We need to get LitteTree and Zach together. I have had the same exact question (esp coming from a boy who wants to be an inventor) along with who was the first person? what's on the other side of the universe and how do you know when you get there? does it hurt when you die? Like you I LOVE these conversations and I am honored that he explores these things with me.

    My guess: hmmmmm, sticks to knock things out of trees and rocks to get them open with...

  2. I think maybe some sort of hammer or stabbing tool. I picture people using a stick to poke something, or maybe a rock to hit something. This maybe progressed into the hammer invention.

  3. A cup! So you could carry water away from your drinking source.

  4. Desire
    Sticks and rocks as tools

  5. oops! hit send accidentally. What great ideas! :)
    Of course, now Littletree is interested in specifically things that were invented before she was born. and what was invented before I was born, but after Purple was born. and What about before Saba and Savta were born?
    It's an interesting world out there :)


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)