Sliced bread is a shitty invention.
If you were able to transport some poor soul from the 18th century into the present, they would be in awe of just about everything: Indoor lighting. Automobiles and airplanes. Television. Heating and plumbing. Medicine. Computers and the Internet. Your time machine.
But if you gave them a piece of sliced bread, they would gag, and rightly so. It’s a giant leap backward from fresh bread.
So too would they be disappointed when they stared into the heavens at night, the stars so familiar to them being washed out by our vast light pollution.
They may have lived in an age of scientific darkness, but at least their night skies were illuminated by something more interesting than a few billion light bulbs pointed in the wrong direction.
Today we have the luxury of science and a vastly larger body of knowledge about everything, yet humanity still can’t shake the mythologies that existed in our time-traveling subject’s day to explain the origins of those objects in the sky and on Earth. Many of those myths placed (and still place) Earth and humanity at the center of it all. It’s a comforting thought, but it’s also intellectually dishonest. We know better.
There is nothing more humbling than looking at the night sky and seeing this:
If more people were liberated from shackles of light pollution and had access to this view, they might begin to appreciate the vastness and scale of the universe. It might become obvious that the universe doesn’t require and is indifferent to our existence. That we’re part of a nearly endless series of coincidences that allowed us to be here and that we should be grateful. That we are completely alone and all we have is each other and our planet and a far too short number of breaths before it’s over.
Perhaps only then we would be able to concentrate on the things that truly matter.
Like coming up with something better than sliced bread.