When my kids were young, if one were to ask them where I live, they would probably answer that I live on an airplane. I have been blessed with a job, which requires me to fly often.
Why blessed? Because I am a very curious person, and I believe that curiosity is one of the most imperative keys to a better, more interesting life and I will discuss this very subject some other time, but curiosity brings me to exciting places in our world and allows me to meet and listen to a variety of people which, in their own way, are all fascinating.
I just left one of these fascinating places, the wonderful Verona in north Italy, and after a short flight to Paris CDG airport, on a tiny Bombardier I am now sitting in a window seat, in the awesome and enormous A380.
This amazing behemoth of a flying machine, which had just taken off from Paris’ airport on the way home to NYC, is one of the most incredible achievements of curiosity coupled with pure human imagination.
I have probably gone through these take off moments hundreds of times in the past thirty years, but I am always amazed at this ingenious technology and I will never get tired of experiencing it.
The sheer chutzpah engineers must have had to imagine that they can make these 570 tons of aluminum, loaded with some of the most sophisticated electronics systems ever, all compressed into an airplane shape combined with the highest comfort levels ever imagined and all that will take off the ground, fly and stay in the air!!
To me, this is mind-boggling.
Curiosity and the power of the human imagination, is what made the brothers Wright a century plus ago ask ‘what if’ and ‘why not’. They had that spark of a daring imagination that catapulted them to have that historic 11 seconds flight which forever changed our world and eventually made it a lot smaller.
Over centuries, some of us fearless humans dared to ask these two important questions, with which came the risk of failure, but as it turned out, our endless and incredible imagination encourages us to look at such failures only as continuous attempts at success.
True human Imagination seldom contains the capacity for a word such as failure. I am at a constant awe seeing the power of human imagination – as well as curiosity – at work.
Every piece of art ever made, a musical instrument invented, a poem or a book written for generations to appreciate, must have started with pure imagination, with ‘what if’ and ‘why not’.
Ludwig Beethoven, this super human wrote some of his best classical music pieces in the last 10 years of his life, when he was totally deaf!!! Just think of the power of his imagination, he simply imagined his music and it manifested itself to be what it is still today. Incredible!
Every theatre play, a movie, a ballet or a concert, which bring out tears of emotion, must start with ‘what if’ and ‘why not’. Consider the laughs we enjoy, when watching a TV comedy or an animated series, recognize the huge talents that took part in making them and realize they are all the results of an active human imagination, the one that drives creativity to its max.
A doctor who came up with the idea for the remote operating robot, or the first heart transplant or just the Aspirin we take for headache are all a result of a need and of someone asking ‘what if’ and ‘why not’ and getting their imagination to do its best work.
Take the iPhone – on which I am writing this very piece in midair – as an example, just to think that one could compress a mobile music library, a fully functioning computer, a fantastic camera and a phone, all into the size all of us are now so familiar with, is in itself hard to believe, but a guy named Steve Jobs proved that one person’s hyper active imagination and a continued stubbornness of thinking and asking ‘what if’ and ‘why not’, can and eventually did change the world! The same person who brought us the revolutionary Macintosh computer and the iPod, just for starters and continued with the redefinition of the tablet with the iPad, to be followed with the iMacs, iTunes, Apple TV and Apple Watch.
Do any of us remember the world before Steve Jobs with his over flowing and daring imagination?? I don’t think so.
And what about these couple of millions of apps, which have enriched the lives of over a billion people? Like Uber, What’sApp, Instagram and so many more and these apps as well as number of users are only climbing. Consider the plethora of imaginative curiosity which was employed to create these apps and how wonderful is it for us to witness the overabundance of the incredible power of active human imagination at work.
Tesla, no not Nicola, but the electric car named after this underappreciated inventor. What a phenomenal success?? What an incredible car? Here is another over active imagination encapsulated in Elon Musk’s brain who besides PayPal brings us this sophisticated car followed by a super home battery and then SpaceX, the most imaginative space transportation system and then publishes a paper, suggesting to other companies to work on developing the Hyperloop, a low pressure tube system to transport humans in capsules at near supersonic speed, from one coast to the other in hours!!!
How many times do you believe Elon Musk must have asked people around him ‘what if’ and ‘why not’ in the past 20 years??
The short answer is, plenty.
This list of people, who have enriched our lives thanks to their super active imagination, can go on for a long while and I am sure each of you can comprise its own list.
Are Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg and others like them, humanity’s science fiction masters? Probably, it’s just that what they do is real; there is no fiction about it only a daring imagination.
They are this century’s Tesla, Wright, Edison, Benz, Pasteur, Marconi and Bell.
There is so much more for us humans – especially those of us who are actively employ their imagination – to discover for the rest of the world and I am excited and more than just curious to see what is coming next.
I implore each and every one of you to try asking yourselves and naysayers around you, these two small but greatly important questions ‘what if’ and ‘why not’. Get your own imagination to a higher gear, force it to become super active and come up with the best solutions for a better world, perhaps finding the one cure for cancer, eradicate world hunger, ending conflicts or better yet, finding the path to world peace, there is a real imaginative idea.
Remember, it is mostly the small-minded people who kill great ideas.