This is part two in a series I’ll be doing from time to time about thinking and I’m again exploring what I did yesterday, the origin of thinking in a specific subject. Today let’s examine guns.
A google search found some very basic facts about the origin of guns and placed the beginning somewhere between the ninth and twelfth century, preceded by the invention of gunpowder in China. Apparently the early use in Unfortunate Cookies did not pan out, so they decided to take it out on their lack of investors.
But interestingly enough there is no record I could find in my exhaustive ten minute search of the first two pages of google results to tell me why the gun was first invented. So I had to do what every great historian does, make it up.
You see things moved slower back before the 10th century and so I would say the idea had been stewing for a long time. Just think about how long it takes things in government to change. So I imagine that the thought first occurred around caveman time. Some cave guy is sitting around in his stone lounge chair after a long day of hunting and gathering. And he sees some prime meat in the near horizon. And by prime meat I mean food and not some cavewoman. And he’s exhausted. He’s thinking “damn it’d be great if there was some way that I could throw this club far enough and hard enough to nail that bison.”
So he tries throwing it as far as he can. Works on running and throwing it to see if that will give it momentum. And then finally he uses his newfound invention the wheel, and straps four clubs onto the wheel and rolls it hard hoping that it will hit the animal. But it just rolls ten feet and flops over. Well cavemen weren’t known for their great attention span so that idea was pushed aside.
Fast forward thousands of years and the Chinese invent gunpowder because they wanted to beat the Japanese and so they figured they’d blow up sushi. Their first attempts just blackened it and so pot stickers were invented. Eventually though the gunpowder produced fireworks and they forgot why they invented it and just looked at the pretty colors.
Really the story is that they first made these kind of bayonet things to go on the ends of spears they threw and then additional shrapnel eventually blew out of it. Then subsequent cultures and individuals advanced the design and construction and firearms evolved to the point we are at today.
And really there’s no answer why. Do you want to know my opinion? I believe that people very early on realized that killing was wrong. In fact hurting was wrong and they could feel it. I mean they could feel the energy between their bodies and the one they were trying to hurt. But they were still afraid that someone would harm them and so they tried to figure out a way to protect themselves and not “experience” the killing. That was too easy though and too many mistakes have been made.
Louis C.K., a very astutue comedian, recently appeared on Conan O’Brien and talked about how dangerous smart phones are for kids. He said that kids are mean. And when they’re first learning how to interact with other kids they test it, and say things like “you’re fat” but then they learn that it’s wrong because the other kid makes a face. That doesn’t happen with smartphones and texting-they never see the kid’s faces.
It’s the same way with guns. We’ve forgotten how it feels to hurt someone. And more and more, we don’t even see their faces.