Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clarke

Using your imagination can help you get 'ahead' in life... 8)

What does that mean?
This is the age-old truth of mankind. Was the horseless carriage powered by magic, or a small steam engine? What kind of magic made the telegraph work? What about the magic box that repeated what others said miles away (radio or telephone)? How did that box figure out the answer to the math question (first adding machines, then calculators, now computers, next …)?

That’s just the last hundred years or so. Imagine what less advanced cultures thought of mirrors, firearms, even metal (think Meso-American cultures). Even the wheel, arguably one of the oldest of mankind’s inventions is unknown in some primitive societies. How many of you can explain what a GPS (Global Positioning System) is and how it works – or is it magic by another name? And what would we think of space aliens and their technology?

Why is imagination important?  
Imagination is what we use to dream and come up with ideas. Satellites (geo-stationary even!)? Jet-Skis (on the moon, no less)? Super-Computers (self aware, no less)? Medical devices (heart monitors)? One-dimensional diamonds (nano-tubes or carbon fullerene molecule)? The author of this quote came up with these things in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, each a decade or more before technology could produce them. He used his imagination to take two or three steps beyond what the current technology would support and come up with interesting ideas.

Walt Disney was another to make imagination the keystone of his life and livelihood. Even Albert Einstein stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Hard to argue with those luminaries, right? Imagination takes us beyond where we are and into an new space, where anything can be possible. Some use it to entertain, others to advance science in directions not previously understood or even conceived.

Where can I apply this in my life?
Even if you aren’t an Imagineer at Disney, you have some use for imagination in your daily life. If you have (or have had) young kids (or can remember being one), you know what I mean. “Tea?” “Why yes, I’d love some!” How about decorating the house? Ever wonder what the living room would look like if the couch was over there?

Some of us do it when we aren’t thinking about it, such as daydreaming. What is that, if not your imagination, running away with some of your excess your brain-power? How often do you daydream? Perhaps a more mature and professional term might be ‘contingency analysis,’ otherwise known as “what could possibly go wrong, and how bad?” Ever do that?

Sometimes being imaginative is as simple as messing with words. Earlier today, my daughter had her binoculars around her neck and said she was going to go outside and look around. I put my hands to my face like I had binoculars on and turned around in place and asked her if I was doing it right. A little silly, but imaginative, right?

Imagination can also help fight off boredom and dreariness. Ever spend a long boring afternoon doing something not all that interesting, and find your mind has wandered off? That might not be a good thing, especially if you’re supposed to be paying attention, but that would also be imagination, right?

Grab some paper and write down in three columns what you have done that you think was imaginative, times when using your imagination might have been (or would be) helpful, and times when you used your imagination when you shouldn’t have.

The first column, where you have used your imagination, might include brainstorming sessions where some “outside the box” or lateral thinking happened. To me, this kind of imagination is about letting go of your preconceived notions about how something should be done. Each time you let go of a notion, you gain more freedom for creativity and imagination. Try it next time you get a chance and see how it goes.

The second column, where you wish you would have used your imagination, those are probably not very pleasant memories. I would use those memories to help steel yourself so that next time there is an opportunity, you don’t let it pass by. Between the first two, you have a force pushing you away from inaction and a force pulling you towards action. Hopefully the two of them together will help you accomplish the task and unleash your imagination (in a good way).

That third column is a fairly short list, I hope. It might include a few times at work, a few times in class, a time or two while behind the wheel of your car. Take a moment and consider how you might better prevent such lapses in concentration. Like pretty much everything in life, you can have too much of a good thing (just ask Walter Mitty).

Imagine how dull life would be if you didn’t have an imagination. Did you see what I did? You just used your imagination, right? Just keep at it, and try not to get too silly (which will depend on the situation, so be careful about that). Have some fun, and enjoy this wonderful life.

From: Twitter, @thequote
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/arthurccl101182.html
Photo by redjar

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About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in creativity, discovery, dream, imagination, innovation, vision and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

  1. useful info says:

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