Stone tools were the first invention, dating back to the beginning of that 2.5-million year period, eventually including simple hand tools such as axes and spears. Maybe a million years later or more, other cavemen learned to control fire, and at some point began cooking their food. They lived in tribes, hunting and foraging together, possibly caring for their weak and infirm, and burying their dead. But other than stone tools, fire, and simple tribal behavior, they had almost nothing else, for most of that 2.5 million years—including at least 100,000 years or more of Homo sapiens existing.

~ Jason Crawford from,

I often joke that there are three thing I can stare at endlessly: Fire, moving water, and other people working. And I’ve often expressed my theory that it’s the movement of those first two, (the third we’ll leave aside for today,) which is the key to holding my attention. Fire and water both dance semi-predictably; But not so predictably that the movement is easily ignored. There’s always just enough movement to hold my attention.

When I let the idea settle in that we’ve been staring at small fires—fires which literally represented warmth, safety, food and tribal companionship—for about a million years… Actually, a “million” is hard to apprehend. Let’s say, there are 25 years per generation. We’ve been staring at small fires for about 40,000 generations. No wonder I’m staring at this fire. We’ve evolved to be attracted to fire!