The following is a Facebook status I made amended for clarity and cohesiveness.
In light of the awful tragedy in France, I think it’s worth remembering the marvelous system that humans have developed that depends solely on human cooperation and working together, albeit sometimes unwittingly.
For instance, does anyone else ever consider how screwed they’d be if we had to make our own food? I’m not talking about cooking; I mean literally making your own food. And not just food, but really any good that we use. Take one of my favorite dishes: Cereal. Any cereal: Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Waffle Crisp or Captain Crunch.
I wouldn’t even no where to begin. Perhaps the “easiest” step would be procuring the milk, but first I have to figure out where some cows are, probably can’t just go up on them and start tugging on their utters, and besides, I gotta YouTube how to do it right. But then what about the pasteurization process?
Beyond that, from scratch figuring out how to bring together all the necessary equipment and ingredients to make the cereal itself. Then the process to make the spoon and the bowl to eat it with.
Imagine how much time it takes just to create one bowl of cereal for one person dong it on their own. It’s madness. To peel back the layers upon layers upon interconnected processes involved, most of whom aren’t even aware of the other, is insanity. And I sure as hell ain’t interested in killing the cow and turning it into a juicy hamburger.
The division of labor, specialization, capital accumulation, all the these things, make it possible so that most of the things I utilize and interact with on a daily basis is immeasurably easier, freeing me up to ponder these things, to write fiction, to read poetry, to watch movies, to read a book and so on. It’s a pathway to culture in that sense.