By in Technology

Inventors Seldom See the Big Picture

I read what should have been a light, interesting if relatively unimportant, article on the invention of the push lawn mower. Fellow writer Anthony Davis provided this link:

Who Made That Lawn Mower?

The article triggered a chain of thoughts in my mind. I wrote them out as a comment. The reason was, I've seen too many well-intentioned inventions lead to too many difficulties, later. Here are those thoughts. See what you think of them.

The article begins with the designing of this historical mower, but even as I read it, I could imagine implications. Because humans (and I'm not sure how to put this) are actually one-track thinkers. They don't see the big picture. For one thing, the big picture often hasn't been taken and developed before the death of the original designer! A device is designed that is eventually used to mow a lawn. Lawns become popular. More efficient mowers must be designed to accommodate larger lawns and a lazier generation. This leads to fuel use. In turn, fuel use leads to pollution. The sum total of pollution leads to global climate change. Global climate change leads to horrendous storms. Horrendous storms tear up all those pretty little lawns.

Image Credit » Pixabay

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MegL wrote on October 10, 2018, 6:36 PM

That's quite a chain of instances. I am not sure any inventor could see that far ahead but I agree, the race to produce something "new" can lead to some highly unfortunate products.

lookatdesktop wrote on October 11, 2018, 9:54 AM

I am glad they still actually manufacture mechanical push mowers, but I doubt seriously people, who can afford their gas or electric powered counterparts, would choose to buy it, much less use it. Ironic indeed. I imagine many inventors who had time to evaluate their inventions might actually have lived to regret their own inventions, although the profits from such things provide immediate motivation to both the original inventor and to those who promote that invention to make themselves a profit and possibly a name for themselves and providing little or no credit to the original inventor. Mainly, the inventor may not be looking ahead and thinking twice before inventing something new and this is something that should be part of the process, but I do not think most inventions come with a guarantee not to destroy life as we know it later down the road.

VinceSummers wrote on October 11, 2018, 12:19 PM

Sometimes an invention starts out bad, then is used for both good and bad. 3D viewers were, early on, used to view naked females.