But how much is any one of us individually responsible for any of those things? How many individuals today would be able to come up with even the simplest advances, say, like tablecloths or buttons or scissors? If it weren't for a few geniuses amongst us who saw the need and conceived a solution when the right resources were available, would any of those 'great' inventions exist?
And at the Freer Gallery yesterday I looked at vessels like this one, created about the same time.
How many of us could conceive of and then execute such an exquisite piece? The level of sophistication in the craftsmanship and the artistry suggests to me that the person who made this ewer could walk into the modern world, and after a few months of adjustment, be able to understand and appreciate today's world. And perhaps teach us a thing or two.
Despite the fact that we have 3000 years on the ancient Greeks and Chinese, our progress has occurred mainly in the area of technology through the efforts of a tiny fraction of humanity. In the area of interpersonal and international relations, we don't seem to have advanced much at all.
By the way, it said that this and a few other vessels like it, were for holding grain alcohol. That surely says something about the importance of alcohol then.