Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Power of Imagination

lion-man, Ulmer Museum, Germany

We can imagine things that are not present in reality. We can also bring those images into existence through our actions. That is a pretty amazing capability if you think about that. It allows to go beyond the limitations of physical world. It opens ways to all sorts of inventions and ideas. It is what makes us truly human.

The above statute is probably the first example of this unique ability. It was found in a German cave in 1939. Its age has been established at around 40,000 years. Someone in the prehistoric times, spent countless hours to shape this piece of mammoth ivory, with simple stone tools and leather, into a thing that do not exist in nature: a lion-man. 

It may seem a trivial object to a modern eye but incredible when we are told that It took humans nearly 30,000 more years to settle down in some kind of small villages and start the domestication of crops. After that, a passage of 5,000 years was needed to see the rise of first kingdoms. All of our written history is limited to this period. Just 500 years ago, we truly started to understand the intricate workings of our world. Things accelerated after that. Once accumulation of knowledge, ideas and imagination reached a critical threshold, it started to multiply. More than ninety percent of our current knowledge was discovered and created in the past 100 years. It is really hard to imagine that what would be the state of affairs in a mere 100 years from now.

And it all started with such humble beginnings; a mental image of something that do not exist and a desire to bring it to the reality.

Image Credit: Wikipedia, Ulmer Museum, Germany

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