“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 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Fashion Issue 19 Nick Wakeman Creating a menswear-inspired line for women, Nick Wakeman welcomes the challenges arising from forging new aesthetic territories. Design Issue 19 David Rager David Rager, co-founder of design firm Weekends, shares his tale of LA and Paris and how he makes time for life’s little distractions.