Archive for March, 2010
Where do all the ideas go which don’t quite make it? The ones someone has over the first cup of coffee of the day or just as they’re falling asleep at night, and which fade back to where they came from for lack of a voice? What happens to the ideas no-one dares to voice, because they do not have the strength for the backlash, or the ridicule or the explanations? Do they come around again somewhere?
Somewhere in the depths of antiquity, did someone dream up a definitive answer to schizophrenia or cancer, and did someone invent a simple system for making sure everyone found a comfortable place for themselves in life. Did someone pass a virtual law of tolerance and patience, and did someone once catch a glimpse of the infinite without needing to define it?
And when the idea appeared, in a single moment as someone was walking down the road or finishing their work for the day or burying their children, did it vanish again into the ether for lack of a door into the world, or for being too far ahead of its time or because, just that day, everyone was too busy to listen? Like energy, do ideas simply change shape and come back around, or do they die an unequivocal death?
How many great ideas are doomed to obscurity because someone dislikes them, or because they get in the way of someone else’s work? How many ideas never make the light of day because they are too quiet and unassuming, and no-one has the vision to see how important they are? How many books are not read because people are afraid someone might see them? How many ideas fade away because we live in a society where most people prefer to follow the crowd, and the loudest and often the most distasteful is given the most credibility?
How many times do we miss by just an instant?
Science is a cemetery of dead ideas. Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life, 1913