, , , , , , ,

{This is not part of the “Myths of the Veritas” series. But writing about these ancient, if mythical, people has caused me to reflect on how much we owe today to the millennia of humans who preceded us.}

Corn on the Cob.

boiled corn

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

I made corn on the cob tonight for dinner. I cooked it in the micro-wave the perfect amount  of time and put just the right amount of butter and seasoning. I loved it. And, I have loved corn on the cob ever since I can remember. 

Now, I am guessing that most of you saw no problem with my first statement. Indeed, this is how most people speak about “making dinner” and generally the way I think about it as well. 

But think for another moment. Did I really make the dinner? I might have grown the corn in my garden (in this case, I did not), but I certainly didn’t build the microwave from scratch! And, I did not milk the cow nor churn the butter. And similarly, the seasonings were not something I went out and found. 

Corn? Corn was first domesticated in Mexico about 10,000 years ago. It did not look or taste like it does today. Consider: the first corn was not something that these early Mexicans discovered in a seed catalog or happened across on an afternoon stroll through the supermarket. 

agriculture arable barley close up

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

There were people among these tribes who learned from people who learned from people who learned…from many generations how to grow food, how to choose the very best from among those foods and then not eat them but instead use them to seed the next generations. 

I am quite sure that most of you have worked hard in your careers. Maybe your career lasted 50 years, like mine. A half century is not an inconsiderable time. But the corn that we eat today is the result of the labor of many people: ancient Mexicans; early settlers to the American continent; scientists from across the globe. The overall effort it took to create the corn that I cooked today is undoubtedly thousands of times greater than the effort I spent preparing it. 

Not to mention the microwave! How did that come about? How many scientists and engineers over how many years? Of course, they could not even have begun to work on such a thing without other scientists and mathematicians from around the world advancing basic physics, equations, zero, numbers, counting — going back again — thousands of years! 


Statue of Archimedes who brought value to many, and who was killed by a Roman soldier.

A similar timeline exists for salt, pepper, and butter. Have you ever actually seen a cow? They’re big! They’re strong! Who knows how many ancient peoples died in the process of trying to domesticate cows. 


And, let us not forget the leisure that comes from living in a house and not fighting off Saber-Tooth tigers while I’m trying to cook. (Although our youngest kitten Luna, did persistently try to lick the butter and nibble the tuna salad. She’s still young and has much to learn.)

Everything in the way of goods and services and security that we enjoy in a so-called “civilized” society is something we might think is something we “deserve” because, after all, we worked hard all our lives. But let’s not forget that if you were born in the stone age, you could work hard all your life and not get anything like the luxuries we have today. Those products and services are the result of countless numbers of other people who tried to leave the earth better for their fellow humans than the way they found it.  

The next time a thought crosses your mind that you ought to be able to keep every cent of the income that “you” earned, hopefully you will chew awhile on the fact that everything you enjoy today is the result of other living beings doing things for themselves and doing things for future generations. Some of them were your direct ancestors but the vast majority were not. They were people of all colors, countries and religious persuasions. 


And, every time you look at your computer screen, or watch a movie, or put on a pair of shoes, or use your indoor plumbing, or sleep in a vermin free house, or listen to a song, or pet your dog without it biting off your hand — all these things we take for granted were vast gifts from earlier and current generations. 

Yes, you should we rewarded for your hard work, but let’s not delude ourselves. The fraction of all that we have that we could have achieved on our own is miniscule. 

Author Page on Amazon