Monday, September 21, 2009


JSH: Hard part is discovery, but…

When I was a kid in elementary school I dreamed of being a great discoverer. I'd read the little kid biographies of Newton and Einstein and I'd ask myself a simple question, if I'd lived in their times, and known what they did, would I have made the discoveries they made?

As I grew older and read more in-depth biographies I learned to also worry about acceptance, as while it was a dream of mine to have my own major discoveries I also had to realize that the odds were long and I might never. But if, somehow, I did, then what?

I think it's amazing how many people seem to either think that great discoveries are just accepted, or the slightly more annoying people who think that for the great discoverer, life is tragic and usually they're never recognized until long after they're dead.

Oh, you thought that was great artists? A great discoverer is just an artist by another name.

Albert Einstein was working as a patent clerk. Seems he couldn't get an academic position. Hmmm…

One of my favorite stories about Einstein which I only learned recently despite having read quite a few biographies on him was that he promised the money from the Nobel Prize he EXPECTED to win, long before he ever got it, to his wife Mileva as part of a divorce settlement.

Talk about confidence, eh? Or was it simply arrogance?

Recently there has been more press about Galileo Galilei and I was reading an article in the Smithsonian magazine I think it was where it was noted that Galileo was a relentless promoter of his own research.

Can you imagine him today? On Usenet? How many posters would line up to deride him as a crank and crackpot, the more he promoted himself and his research.

Boltzmann had a paper published in his local town newspaper. But he IS one of the more tragic figures, and committed suicide before he was recognized.

Alan Turing was pushed to suicide and the British government recently apologized for his treatment.

But then again, Galileo ran afoul of the Roman Catholic Church and spent his latter years imprisoned in his own home.

Einstein spent his later years distanced from the physics community. Someone who was considered just famous for his past work, with his current ideas considered well, not worth seriously considering.

One of my favorites though for perspective is Nikolai Tesla. A man who can be said to have given us the means to have our modern world, as he pioneered AC electricity—along with so much else—having to fight a bruising battle against Thomas Edison, who pushed for DC current, and would even torture elephants to death in demonstrations to claim it was dangerous. Edison brought us the electric chair as a means of execution as part of his fight against the technology without which we would not have our modern world.

Nikolai Tesla reportedly believed aliens talked to him from outer space, liked pigeons so much he fell in love with one, and would only stay in hotel rooms divisible by 3.

He died in one, alone, and it was days before his body was found.

You are not a discoverer for your world to treat you well.

And you are lying to yourself if you expect that it will just appreciate you.

Instead it may very well kill you. Archimedes was cut-down by a Roman soldier.

But IF you are a discoverer, you'll find out things anyway, and you know why?

What else would you do with yourself?

People can like you or hate you or whatever but that's about them. It's never really about your discoveries.

Those make you because you are their way into this world, like a line through which current flows.

The discoverer is the link for knowledge into our world. Nothing more. It's not about greatness or personality or wanting it.

It is about being someone through which the knowledge WILL flow, whether you like it or not, and whatever consequences follow, for you, and your world.

Discovery is destiny.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?