1. Paper-From drying our hands, wiping our bottoms, to signing receipts for financial transactions and reading the occasional book; paper still matters. We see and use so much paper. Granted we’re recycling more than ever, yet from the crackers you’re buying to the carton containing the beer you’re hauling on the boat, paper is everywhere. Without paper, we’d be in a mess. Our history is written on paper and a present (no matter how bland) is held together by paper.
2. Ice-Where would we be without the electricity and subsequent technology to freeze water into ice? I’m not talking about air conditioning or electricity per se. The ability to freeze water is a miracle. The fish we catch, the groceries we buy, and the health we crave would be nothing without the ability to cool our food and bodies with ice. Our lives would return to those of our ancestors; the day to day struggles of subsistence living. Dehydration would take our lives, hunger would stalk our homes, and “going to the bad” would no longer be a euphemism easily fixed by spending money. Ice is the frozen line between civilization and anarchy.
3. Humanity-We know what it means to be human. It means so much more than we ever imagined on our best days. We are not mysteries hiding behind masks, resting angry faces, forced smiles, or improbably large sun glasses. The human genome has been sequenced and can be contained in 800 average length dictionaries (3.2 billion letters for one person). Four letters, AGCT, arranged in just such a way to make you, you. Sixty years ago, no one knew what a genome was! In June of 2000, the mapping of the genome was completed by a team of international scientists. We know what makes a person unique. The government spent 3 billion dollars to finish the first human genome project. Now, companies are offering individuals the chance to map their own genome for just 1000 dollars. We can know who we are on a level never possible in human history and possibly save countless lives. Will we take the chance to get to know ourselves and heal the broken essence of human consciousness, something not as easy to quantify as DNA?