Mohanapriya Rajasekaran

Human Resource Management - Student, School of Management, University of Southampton, UK

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Is Necessity still the mother of all inventions?

The question is simple and straight forward. I am thankful for all the inventions that is making our life easier and giving us various options. But does this old famous proverb still make the same sense?

For example, how necessary is the "Foldable" mobile phone?

It would be great to get to know different perceptions on this thought which will help me with a study.

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    Apr 18 2013: It is necessity that drives medical, safety, healthy foods, and other types of inventions.
    So with necessity being the mother, I say desire is the father of invention.
    And don’t forget invention crazy uncle, creativity.
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      Apr 18 2013: Hmm... Creativity. First of all, I'd say desire and laziness is also an important factor. But as for creativity... It is a tool most commonly used to solve inventions, not to invent alone? (It's just my thoughts, nothing absoloute) – Does art count as an invention? It IS thinking of images that does not yet exist etc. ... I mean such a picture as : is a good example of expressing a perception of something by imagery, making it more easily understandable.

      I would say the drives of invention is neccesity, laziness, desire, and 'anger' – anger understood in the way that if something annoys you, you do something about it. But it's got to provoke you enough. Perhaps if we tried deliberately to provoke more people (not verbally though), maybe more "inventions" or new thinking would take place?
  • Apr 19 2013: I like to think the environment and the concept of 'upcycling' has created a new 'necessity' for invention.
    We have so much 'stuff', most of which are rusting or rotting away in landfills. the bottom of the sea, or in space. Or in our very own garage or attic.
    I grew up in a nomadic lifestyle with a huge appreciation and respect for quality of design (my dad was an industrial designer, my Mom was a photographer). They 'made' most of our furniture in the 60's and 70's out of existing materials, and I am thrilled to see the same trend surfacing now!
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    Apr 18 2013: A mother must necessarily take care of her children. If there is something that we need (a necessary invention) than yes, the metaphor still makes perfect sense.

    A lot of people focus on inventing new ideas about what will improve ourselves and our society in some way. Creativity also plays a key role - I suppose even invention for pure enjoyment (such as writing a new story) is driven by necessity because as humans, we have that aspect of needing to be fulfilled emotionally and mentally.
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    Apr 20 2013: Yes, surrogate mother. We find necessities for our inventions.
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    Apr 19 2013: Yeah, that still stands. However .. there are few "inventions" and many spin offs. The things happening in electronics is generally adaptations and not even a generation change.

    I tried to buy a cell phone that is basically a send / recieve .... there is no such thing. The media has convienced us that it is necessary to have the latest and greatest. In school .. even the lowest level ... we have developed a "keep up with the Jones" attitude. Watch the kids and the first thing they do is compare .. everything. Media and marketing are running our lives. People camp out for days and even weeks to be the first to have a new game ... cell phone ... radio.

    So ..IMO ... "necessity" is now, in some instances, being determined by the media / marketers.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Apr 19 2013: Windows 8 was certainly not born of necessity. The mother of invention is perceived profitability/ fame. Rube Goldberg is relevant in this dicussion.
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    Apr 19 2013: G'day Mohanapriya

    Absolutely nothing has changed from past history however a lot more inventions are based on just making money making these days compared to our past history, was the creation of the wheel based just on necessity? Hmmm I wonder!!

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      Apr 19 2013: Creation of wheel itself was to make our life easier. But now one cant imagine a life without it. I wonder if there will be any concept of wheel at all in a 1000 years as portrayed in Futurama!
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        Apr 19 2013: G'day Mohanapriya

        I think once inventions aren't based on financial gain the concept of wheelless crafts of some kind is a definite possibility & it will be hard concept for those born without knowing of vehicles/crafts to understand the use of the wheel in the first place. When you think about it, 100 yrs ago a lot of people in the world didn’t have any notion s of the automobiles.

        Basing inventions on how profitable a particular invention is going to be is holding us back big time, a lot of inventions haven’t been produced because of the implications on our economy &/or they are not profitable enough to produce. I’m not into conspiracy theories but the two links below after further research make sense.

  • Apr 18 2013: hi Mohanapriya,
    I would say, I agree that necessity is the motto to create, innovate, or make simpler objects or processes. Regarding your question, "how necessary is the Foldable mobile phone?" I do not see it as a necessity but practicity for use it or carry it on.
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    Apr 18 2013: Yes no change on this nor will there ever be anymore than gravity will change

    Another way to look at this is that with every problem there is an opportunity to make it better which is the mother of all inventions.

    One can think of himself as the poor victim of these problems or one can think of himself as the solver of these problems. I highly recommend the latter.

    The entire standard of living that we enjoy today comes from this mentality. The good news it is accelerating. 20 years ago very few had cell phones today very few do not have them and a gazillion other things have been invented, when you are older you have seen the before and after and it is amazing. So hold onto your Segway because the segway into the next tech revolution is going to be a rocket ride. Nano/Bio engineering is in the nascent stages...
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      Apr 19 2013: We have started to set ourselves higher expectations each day, isn't it? And to fulfil our need for meeting those expectations we invent and improvise constantly even when there isn't much need of it.
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        Apr 19 2013: So you would say that there isn't any need for a cure for cancer, potable water for those without it, alternative energy as we have passed peak oil, a device that detects bombs that is portable, something that can change global warming or cooling whichever the case may be, or a device that prevents lions from eating your cattle so that you don't have to kill the lions, etc. etc. ?
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    Apr 18 2013: Hmm? I say good mental health is a necessity, and entertainment, companionship, feeling productive and needed are aspects needed for good mental health.
    So therefor wouldn’t that make all the feel good inventions indirectly children of necessity?
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    Apr 18 2013: To take a different spin/view, I say Industriousness is the virtues that drives inventions, that is industriousness as in one of the Vikings’ nine noble virtues.

    1. Courage
    2. Truth (AI: always seek to discover, see, and accept the truth.)
    3. Honour
    4. Fidelity
    5. Discipline
    6. Hospitality
    7. Self-Reliance
    8. *Industriousness*
    9. Perseverance

    There are many ways to phrase it, but basically it is a desire to find better ways to do things.