In pre-stone-age time, eating was simple: look for a fruit, pluck it, eat.
In stone-age time, things started to become more complicated: Look for a fruit, pluck it. Take a stone knife, peel the fruit, cut the fruit open, scrap out the seeds, cut into pieces, eat.
Now, there is a sub-recipe to make the stone knife: To make the stone knife, search for a fitting piece of flint or obsidian, look for a fitting hammer stone. Take the hammer stone and chip off a flake… (and so on, if you are interested in the details, the internet contains descriptions and films with demonstrations – search for something like “making stone tools”).
Then, metal was discovered and the recipe became even more complicated:
- Sub-recipe 1: Plant a tree. Wait for a couple of years. Plug a fruit and bring it to the market.
- Sub-recipe 2: Go to the market. Exchange something for a fruit. To do so, you need Sub-recipe 3 to get something for exchange…
- Sub-recipe 4: Mine for ore. Built a furnace. Make charcoal. Put charcoal and ore into furnace. Ignite furnace …. Of course, this includes sub-recipes for making charcoal, finding clay for the furnace, making leather for the bellows and so on, with all the sub-recipes that are needed for this.
- Sub-recipe n: forge a knife (this includes sub-recipes for the smith’s tools etc.)
- Sub-recipe m: take the knife, peel the fruit, cut the fruit open, scrap out the seeds, cut into pieces, eat.
As we can see, after metal was invented, eating became a complicated matter.
Then, modern civilization was invented.
The recipe for preparing a piece of fruit now became even more complicated. The cooking book with all the instructions of what to do in order to eat a fruit becomes thicker and thicker. The kitchen chef now has to employ not only cooks, but also scientists, engineers, pilots, financial experts, teachers, managers, administrators, truck drivers and many other people who will work together in order to bring a piece of fruit into your mouth. We now need sub-recipes for making computers, cars, insurance calculations, bank accounts, waste water treatment, chemical plants, oil drilling, guns, land mines, planes and many other things. All these things are involved, directly or indirectly in producing the knife, the plate and the fruit and finally to bring a piece of fruit into your mouth.
So progress is the process of making our cooking recipes more and more complicated. Had the apes not been wiser, in a way?