Imagine the scene; you’ve just invented the wheel, and you’re as happy as happy can be. You take your invention to the elders who are sat around a roaring fire outside their cave. You explain what your invention is, and what it’s for. It can be used for transport and carrying things you tell them. The possibilities are endless.
‘I like it.’ Says one.
‘Me too.’ Says another.
‘It’s perfect for the job.’ Says a third.
‘Could it be better?’ Says a dissenting voice. ‘I like it, but have you thought about a better way?’
Now we have a committee, and the problems start.
‘Does it really have to be so, well…round? I use a horse for transport and carrying things, and a horse isn’t round.’
The others nod sagely.
‘The moon is round. The moon only comes out at night. Night is dark. Dark is negative. Won’t people associate a round invention as being negative?’
‘What about a square? I like squares.’ Says the chief elder.
‘But it won’t work.’ You say. ‘It needs to be round to go round, do you see?’
‘Hmmm. Got it.’ Says voice number two. ‘How about square with round corners?’
Everyone agrees this is a marvellous idea. It’s not square, but it’s not round either. It’s somewhere in the middle. Perfect.
‘But it won’t work.’ You repeat. ‘It’ll simply be an ineffective ornament.’
The elders take you to one side. They have many years of wisdom to draw upon, and they want to share it with you.
‘Our people are simply not ready for your round invention. Evolution not revolution is the key. Let them get used to the square with round edges, and then maybe, further down the line, we can put the wheel into research.’
‘But it won’t work.’ You protest.
You are slain and fed to the lions.
Now everybody is happy.