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I made myself breakfast.

Have you ever said to yourself, “I made myself breakfast.” 

This morning, I made myself breakfast, and the picture below is what was left. A few shreds of sauerkraut and one moldy blueberry. 

The complete breakfast included an English Muffin, Peanut Butter, blueberries, kale, sauerkraut, two garlic-stuffed olives, and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. 

I made myself breakfast. 

But did I? 

In this picture you see a plate, a fork, and a napkin. Not only did some person initially come up with idea, but hundreds of people vastly improved the making of pottery and silverware and napkins. These particular items probably travelled many miles and were touched by many people’s work before they ended up in my possession. I can afford them because we live in a peaceful, mainly cooperative society. I certainly couldn’t make them on my own. And if they were made the way that they were a thousand years ago, only royalty could afford them. 

The wooden tray? That too shows obvious signs of change over the years from the time one of our ancestors decided to eat off a half-log. You might see some lettering. The tray says, “LET IT SNOW!” None of the other things mentioned above would have been possible without the invention and improvement to language. 

So far, my “self-made breakfast” involves thousands of ancestors who made any of this possible.

My “self-made breakfast” also involves thousands of contemporaries from around the world who cooperated to bring these particular items to the San Diego area. 

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We haven’t even gotten to the food. 

Let’s take the English Muffin, just as an example. Some of our ancestors might well have procreated and then “tried out” something as a possible food but guessed wrong and died. They figured out which grains could be eaten, how to grow them, how to harvest them more effectively than to shell one seed at a time; how to make flour; how to bake bread. In my case, there’s another whole line of inquiry related to the discovery of electricity and its taming and distribution so that I can toast my English muffins. There are similar hundreds of our fellow human beings (and their supportive communities) who were involved in today’s peanut butter, today’s sauerkraut, garlic stuffed olives and so on. 

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Once again, there are not only countless people from all over the world who were involved in the development of these food items. There are thousands of people from all over the world who helped get these particular items to our kitchen. 

It’s also true that if I’d been brought up by wolves, I wouldn’t know how to access or use any of these items. Not only that, my life has been saved numerous times by modern medicine. But “modern medicine” didn’t just drop out of the sky one day. None of these modern luxuries popped up like a mushroom. People worked hard and thought hard in order to all me to have a nice breakfast. However, it would be more accurate to say: 

Humanity made breakfast for me.

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