“The history of technology depends little on man and his freedom,” Milan Kundera writes in The Curtain. “Obedient to its own logic, it cannot be other than what it has been or what it will be…If Edison had not invented the light bulb, someone else would have.” In fact, prior to Thomas Edison, about 20 people were working on similar inventions. And analogous circumstances apply to the origins of calculus, the polio vaccine, the telephone and the theories of evolution and relativity, to name just a few. Kundera’s reading of technological development as linear and indifferent to the person behind a discovery rings true. Breakthroughs occur anywhere, it seems, and are only a matter of time. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 43 Signal Boost How status anxiety drives culture. Arts & Culture Issue 40 In Season Potable water meets palatable design. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Square Spaces On internet aesthetics. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Memes of Communication A conversation about digital folklore. Arts & Culture Issue 36 Designated Drudgery How to take a load off. Arts & Culture Fashion Partnerships Issue 34 HaaT: Makiko Minagawa In partnership with HaaT, creative director Makiko Minagawa talks tradition, textiles and a half-century of collaborating with Issey Miyake.