According to my sources, the mother of invention is necessity. I’m not done fact-checking this information, but it does make sense. However, we generally invent something to make an activity easier or more accessible to the untrained masses. So I think the saying should be more along the lines of “laziness is the mother of invention.”
Watch television for more than a few seconds and you’ll see the kinds of things people consider inventions. Want a set of stairs for your dog to use to get to your bed? You can buy those. How about a blanket that does that whole covering you with warmth part without all the hassle of a normal blanket by adding armholes? Yup, they’ve got those, too.
I’m starting to think mankind is at the apex of necessary and intelligent inventions. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still pumping out some really great stuff. I saw an invention not too long ago that was able to break down just about anything and convert it into drinkable water. That’s pretty amazing. However, even the flashy and interesting growth of modern technology feels like more of a novelty than a necessity. Take any smart phone for example. There is no reasonable excuse for one human to own an object that can do so much so quickly and efficiently. Most people have been able to convince themselves otherwise, but it just doesn’t seem logical to me.
I wonder if there were other times in history where really unnecessary inventions saturated daily life. So much of human history has been defined by people just trying to meet their basic needs of food, water, shelter, and accessible pornography. With that in mind, it just seems unlikely that something like the Egg Wave or the Snuggie could have been invented before the late 20th century.
Then again, you can’t really put a cap on human curiosity and ingenuity. And by curiosity I mean interest in killing every potential moment of static existence or reflective thinking. And by ingenuity I mean ability to make everything much easier than it needs to be.