Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Skeptical Look At the Wheel

Life has a tendency to be unjust to some, quite unjust indeed. Men and women often find themselves working hard, contributing toward the common interest of Society, even sacrificing parts of themselves for the good of all, yet in return, they receive no credit for it. Anecdotes, nay, tragedies by the volume have been written for ages past of such injustice; greater still are the tragic cases where not only are the deserving ones overlooked, but when additionally, the wrong party is credited. Of all the great snubs of all time, not one is greater than the greatest of historical wrongs: the usurpation of the Axle and its inventor’s rightful place in history by that smug scoundrel known as the Wheel. No one praises the Axle or has their ears caressed by proverbs spun around it. However, despite the overwhelming credit that human history has given to the Wheel, due to the genuine engineering genius required to invent the Axle, its’ simple nature and proven versatile independence, the latter, not the former deserves the unique place in history as the seminal human invention. 

As an illustration of our historical injustice, two simple questions may be taken into consideration: How often does one hear scholars refer to the supposed invention of the Wheel as to the greatest moment in the history of Mankind—the “Eureka” if you will? In contrast, does one ever mention the Axle or even the shaft in such a connotation? Yet, the buffoons who parade themselves as intellectuals are no more great minds than the Wheel is a genuine human invention. For, it takes a person one look at the clear sky to see a wheel; it scarce takes more of an effort of the intellect to look upon an apple or a peach or an orange fall from a tree and roll on the ground. That great inventor of the Wheel, it seems clear, was no man at all, but rather it was Nature or God. On the other hand, can the Axle be found rollicking effortlessly and without purpose in the wilderness? True enough, sticks are made by nature, as are other straight objects that pierce various holes, but none that connects two apples or peaches or oranges in a way that capacitates them to carry a load. Indeed, when looking at a wheel and an Axle, only one constitutes a genuine human invention: therefore, only one was created by a Man or Woman of genuine genius.

Furthermore, the brilliance of the Axle’s ingenious design is underlined by its’ simplicity. Can a product or invention of a simpler design be even thought of; certainly not one as simple as the Axle, for what can be simpler than a shaft? It is without doubt the simplest invention ever thought of, yet, not one other can even come near its’ importance in the progress of Mankind.  In the monumental pamphlet on justice, “Common Sense”, Tomas Paine argues that all things honest are kept simple; only when one has mischievous intentions does one corrupt them by means of complication. In spite of the continual progress of humanity, the Axle remains today as simple as the very first time it probed a Wheel. Simple, humble and above all honest, certainly not the characteristics of that showboating cheat—the Wheel.

Equally important to its’ simple, yet genius nature, is perhaps the most obvious, and for that reason most overlooked, detail: without an axle, a wheel is but a hoop! Any device, whose function is designed around the motion of a Wheel, is rendered useless by the absence of an axle probing the Wheel or Wheels. The Axle, on the other hand, grants itself just as useful on its own as while used in tandem with a compliment. Indeed, one can use a shaft as an exercise contrivance, a rolling pin device, a peace maintenance apparatus or as a skewer for a rotisserie cooking whatchamacallit, to list a few of the axle’s alternative uses.  Yes, the shaft faithfully works hard in any number of combinations and functions; it sets no conditions upon which to give benefit to its’ enjoyer. Conversely, one can often find the “royal majesty”, the Wheel, lazily lying in the ground or idly leaning against a wall, listing its demands: all of which center on the point of sharing the burden with someone else.

Of course, the herd that likes to think itself the intelligentsia of our Society will doubtless point to such and such advancements through history that owe their gratitude to the Wheel: transportation, clocks, construction and so forth. However, the Wheel’s contribution to human advancement is not the point of this contention. Only a fool would argue against all the benefits humanity made possible by the Wheel. An equally great fool, however, will forget to mention the Axle’s share. 

To be sure, while the Axle is not history’s lone unsung hero, one would be hard pressed to find a case equally unjust. For the offence against it is not that, like the multitudes of others, it is simply forgotten or carelessly omitted, the way that the fellow who invented soap, or the great mind that thought up bread or “Che” Guevara's comrade have fallen by the popular wayside. The Axle suffers the added insult of tyranny: having its’ rightful place in human history usurped by an object that depends upon it! Still, no one ever hears the Axle complaining; it keeps quiet, obediently working on, in full magnanimity, respectful of its’ master.

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