The earliest the Europeans began manufacturing paper was in the 10th century, and this innovation greatly contributed to the Renaissance. The Arabs beat them by 200 years who knew of the use of paper by the 8th century.
But in China the manufacture of paper books a widespread thing by the 6th century, during the Tang Dynasty. Hell… China was even using it for toilet-paper by this time.
The oldest still-surviving paper book dates from 868 CE: The Diamond Sutra, one of the foundational texts of Buddhism, specifically Mahayana Buddhism, which is the variant that Zen technically (though, oddly) belongs to.
Imagine if there had been better communication between cultures in the past? How different would history have been?
Don’t let your mind suffer from the same calamities that human history did. The accident of geography and technology kept innovations in one culture almost totally cut off from any other, hindering the progress of all human-kind.
There is knowledge that already exists outside of your own head, knowledge that could solve problems you are facing right now. All you have to do is go out and find it, then learn how to apply it to your situation.
We live in a strange time in history when information is the easiest thing to come by. That has NEVER happened before! Take advantage of it. Anything less, and you spitting in the face of our ancestors (which, sometimes — usually regarding ethics — is justified!).
Make your own education of primary importance, and then share the wealth. That is the only way progress have ever been made: personal, technological, political, ethical, etc.
Now go lift something heavy,