Sometimes people disappoint me. Not just in the every day ways we expect, but in that gut-thumping way that makes you consider finding a shack on a remote mountain somewhere and playing the Jew’s harp for sixty or seventy years.
This came close to happening today. There I was feeling rather pleased with myself because I’d returned to work on the outlines for As Morning Shows the Day and, quite suddenly, the RSS hub on my phone delivered an interesting (I assumed) tech article, with sci-fi like grace, out of the ether and into my sweaty paws.
How appropriate, I thought, marvelling at the synchronicity, and started reading…
The piece starts off quite promisingly — throwing super-vision and invisibility into the pot right from the get go. Brilliant, I thought, in thirty years time I’ll be able to look through brick walls without anyone seeing me! A Utopia for voyeurs! The possibilities are endless, if a little tedious after a minute or two.
Next came hands-free healing. I didn’t even bother reading this one. I’ve always thought that the laying on of hands was potentially quite enjoyable, so I couldn’t really see the point — plus I was already beginning to sense that Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation systems were inevitably going to be followed by rather less innovative innovations, at least as far as this article was concerned.
And sure enough, disappointment followed disappointment. The sheer lack of imagination (Jet packs, my other car is a spaceship, smell-o-vision) reminded me of the school compositions I used to write when I was eight.
A complete waste of time. Good science badly applied…. Feeling unreasonably let down, I flicked through my phone looking for something else to read.
And then the lesson hit me. The writer of the article probably didn’t intend it, but suddenly I saw a point where previously there had been none:
Without a powerful imagination, science and technological development is seriously limited. Science and creativity are interdependent. Not exactly a highly original observation, I know, but one of which it’s always good to be reminded.
So be scientific. Demand rigour and evidence. But every once in a while follow Richard Feynman’s lead and paint a picture or play the bongos.
And don’t ever invent a jet pack! It’s so 1974.