You’ve probably heard the saying if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. This proverb instructs us to not waste time and money over something that already works perfectly. However, most things in the world we currently live in follow the exact antithesis of this popular teaching. With the advent of the unpopular iPhone 12, the pointless updates to already perfect websites and the constant changing of trends leads people to frustration. Our phones already work just fine then why ought we replace it?

Just like the Rambo series only needed one movie, some tools and inventions only need one shot to hit the nail on the head.

Our first example is Neanderthal bone tools.
Archaeologists have unearthed the oldest specialized bone tools at sites where Neanderthals lived more than 40,000 years ago. But they struggled to find what exactly the people had used the tools for. All until they showed the tool to a nearby craftsman who immediately recognised it. Not only did he correctly identify the tool, but he also was able to provide a descriptive explanation for its original purpose. The archaeologists were obviously stumped.

How could it be that a local craftsman possessed knowledge that they did not have? The answer to this puzzle was answered when the man pulled out his own leather burnisher and showed it to the archaeologists.

Turned out that he used the exact same tools, and so did all leatherworkers around the world. He explained that the bone tool was used to close the pores in the leather and allowed the material to have a waterproof like quality. The archaeologists were stunned. How was the exact same tool was still being used in its original form more than 50,000 years later?

The reason was simple. It did not need changes. It already served its purpose perfectly. The bone was indestructible, polished well and did not leave scratches and splinters behind like its metal and wood counterparts. It was not broken and did not need fixing.

Quite similar was the situation of the Roman dodecahedron. The Roman dodecahedron is a complex hollow object discovered in ancient ruins. Its real purpose was a mystery to most, with hypothesises ranging from sun-dials to season tracking devices to measuring devices. All until an old lady found her way to it and promptly used it for knitting and said she had a device just like it.

It is incredible how in changing times, some things just stay constant. Whether it be 5 or 50,000 years, some things are just eternal. Like a leather tool or knitting gizmos.

-Adyesha Singhdeo