I have always believed that we can imagine only what is possible. Science fiction, fantasy and art are venues where seeds of dreams are germinated, nurtured and eventually born as reality — sometimes in our lifetimes.
In the movie MINORITY REPORT starring Tom Cruise, automobiles were automated. Imagine the technology it took to produce a Sci-Fi movie depicting non-existent technology! Yet, here we are, just a few years later…
Volvo has been testing self-driving cars in traffic in Sweden. Audi has begun a cross-country test drive in the USA of an automated car using Delphi technology. The car is traveling from the Golden Gate Bridge to midtown Manhattan. Three passengers are on board, with one in the driver’s seat in case human intervention is necessary. Mercedes and BMW are keeping up with self-driving technology of their own. Google has its own version.
In the late fifteenth century, Hieronymus Bosch painted surrealistic landscapes that seem to be depictions of another world. In one, a pink rocket sits on a rocky island in the Garden of Eden. In another, an interracial crowd cavorts without clothing among earthly animals and unearthly buildings and glass bubbles. His paintings are haunting, with flying ships, creatures that rival Tolkien’s orcs and armored fish that carry passengers. I wonder if his works inspired Salvador Dali. Today, we see the reality of much of what he imagined, in a much less twisted way. Sky ships, submarines, rockets – all commonplace today.
Leonardo da Vinci invented an early helicopter, a flying machine, the anemometer, a parachute, an armored car, a triple barrel canon, the clock, scuba gear, a revolving bridge, a robot and the precursor to the self-driving car – a self-propelled cart. Da Vinci and Bosch were contemporaries in the late 1400’s to early 1500’s.
Long before cell phones became extensions of ourselves, the crew of the Star Trek Enterprise routinely used their communicators over vast distances. Dryers seem to have mastered the art of teleportation, at least where socks are concerned. If there’s any truth to this imagination theory, we’re close to getting “beamed” to our island vacation every winter.
In James Cameron’s AVATAR, Pandora is a moon born of imagination; inhabited by extraordinary creatures, bio-luminescent landscapes and floating mountains. Could such a place exist? Is there anyone who can disprove the possibility?
We routinely fly today. We take trains that travel at super speed, drive our own vehicles, use robots, have personal computers and carry little hand-held devices that have more computing power than the linking of dozens of the room-sized computers I learned on more than forty years ago.
Anything we can imagine is possible. If that is true, then human minds cannot imagine what is impossible — even in dreams. My theory is based on nothing concrete or scientific, but it would be as difficult to disprove as to prove. How can you prove that we can or cannot conceive of the impossible? We can’t see into the future — yet.
Imagination fuels growth, inspires creativity and invention, and spills out onto paper in the hands of writers and artists. If you can dream it, it is possible. See you on Pandora!