Here's a hypothetical for you.
An asteroid collides with earth. The human race is all but extinct. All inventions, buildings and institutions are gone. Everything made by our society has disappeared. Poof. The only thing left is you. You have your memories of how things once were and know that you must start rebuilding a basic semblance of what was lost so that maybe, just maybe, we can one day repopulate. Do you have the skills?
In my case, no. No chance. The future would be fucked.
With any luck, there would be an engineer or a scientist left behind instead of me. They would possess the skills and knowledge to use their own DNA to clone themselves and re-start a new human race.
But, alas, I am no engineer or scientist. I struggle to assemble IKEA furniture.
To be honest, I don't even get why the wheel is such a big deal.
"But you're a successful Huffington Post Comedy blogger with a liberal arts education, Blake. You can do whatever you put your mind to." Thanks, readers, but hefty achievements like that won't matter in this scenario. I couldn't even re-create the most essential things.
Let's look at the basics: food, clothing and shelter.
Hunting and gathering to sustain me? Yeah, right. Unless I can find an imported Neapolitan pizza oven -- and gluten-free dough -- consider me hungry for the immediate future.
Something to wear? Figuring out that I could use leaves to cover my privates would probably be beyond me. And to get a little more current, I still can't even comprehend how someone invented the tie knot. Re-creating a half windsor knot would be my unified field theory.
Some place to sleep? I couldn't make it through a single night unless I was marooned in Cairo and stumbled across some natural Egyptian cotton already spun into 1000 thread count sheets for my California King mattress. And maybe, MAYBE, if I was on the beach where I could replicate the sounds of my trusty white noise machine, I could catch a few zzz's.
Now that I have shown you how ill-prepared I would be to advance beyond what our earliest ancestors were capable of, let's unpack how terrible I would be at later inventions.
Finance and economics? Ha. The stock market? C'mon now. I am a 30-year-old adult with a master's degree, and still don't know the difference between a bull and bear market.
Language? Being that I'm a white male from America, I know nothing but English. No Mandarin, Arabic, Swahili, etc. Those languages would be lost forever. And you shouldn't hold out much hope for English, either. I still get confused over whether I should use subjective or objective. I'd probably peak at inventing some sort of grunt to say hi to my reflection when I'm at the pond.
Engineering? Bricks? LOL. I could maybe make a teepee without the actual covering. Just a bunch of sticks stuck in the ground that meet at a point.
Cars? Nope. The Flintstones' car would be unattainable luxury.
Boats? Laughable. In my mind, there is absolutely no reason why these things should float.
Air travel? As I said, I am 30 years old, and I still pretty much think it's magic every time I see an airplane soaring through the sky.
Cell phones? Yeah, right. I couldn't even invent the tin cans to make one of those phones with string.
The Internet? Lost forever.
You know what? Now that I think about it, I'm confident that I would be able to re-invent one thing -- art. I would definitely figure out how to draw mud finger paintings of boobs and vaginas. And isn't art the most important thing?