Reinventing the Wheel

Last week I wrote about inventing in a vacuum and why it is sometimes important to improve based on the nothingness rather than the knowledge that you have.  That led me to one thought:  What about the impression that we should not “Reinvent the Wheel.”

“Good point,” I commend myself.

But not everything is a wheel.  The wheel is quite possibly beyond the capacity for improvement.  You can’t make it rounder.  There are things that it makes no sense to reinvent.  They have already been perfected; most likely in their first incarnation.  Even in a vacuum you couldn’t come up with a better design.

If some things were never reinvented they wouldn’t exist.  The first incarnation of the light bulb was an utter failure.  Some things are reinvented to keep up with demands.   The first incarnation of every form of transportation would not survive modernity.

I can’t think of many “wheels” in education.  Maybe the alphabet?  I don’t think there is a better order or if a different order makes it better.  But, given all the sounds in the English language and a vacuous state in which to create a new alphabet, surely you could come up with something better or at least different.

My point is in education as well as in the rest of the world we need to be able to analyze the parts of the whole and determine what needs reinvented and what is already beyond improvement.  Not only that but what things need to be created out of emptiness.

I don’t think we need a twist off cap on a wheel.


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