Bill's Blog

blog |bl├Ąg|
a Web site on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative : Most of his work colleagues were unaware of his blog until recently.

verb (blogged, blogging) [ intrans. ]
add new material to or regularly update a blog.

blogger noun

ORIGIN a shortening of WEBLOG.
Picture of William (a.k.a. Bill)

13 September 2012

Today's topic: Look Ahead

As crazy and as chaotic as it all may seem at times, beneath the surface there's an order to things, a constancy as well as a consistency. There are principles, laws and rules to life, the universe and everything!

When a vintage steam powered freight train enters one end of a tunnel it emerges from the other end of that same tunnel as the same vintage steam powered freight train, not a futuristic silvery sleek passenger train. Rocks don't suddenly turn into daisies and barking dogs don't become Hush Puppies when they aren't barking. That's barking mad.

History has it that Sir Isaac Newton discovered the law of gravity. Funny thing, discovery. And I know this blog hasn't the slightest chance of changing history, but I for one am more interested in a fellow who lived long before Sir Isaac, a guy named Ogg, a cave dweller who knew that no matter how skilled he was at skipping stones across the lake, a body of water which stretched beyond the horizon, eventually even his best skipped stones would disappear into the water. Ogg also understood that his spear would fall to the ground whenever he failed to strike his prey. Ogg understood gravity. Newton explained it.

Newton lived nearly 300 years ago which is to say he isn't available for comment. Did I hear you say you aren't so sure that Ogg really existed? No problem. Hold a 16 pound bowling ball waist high directly over your bare feet. Now let go. We all know what will happen and it's going to hurt! The point is that the law of gravity can be stated a number of ways but no matter how it's stated it doesn't change.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. A proverb making the observation that turbulent changes don't affect reality on a deeper level other than to cement the status quo. Translation: Changes do not affect reality on a deeper level. What does it mean to cement the status quo? It means to strengthen, to reinforce the way things are. Literally, to cement something is to settle or firmly establish it.

Some say perception is reality. I'd have to agree. That doesn't mean we can "think" a rock into becoming a daisy, that's silly, however more than one's thoughts are required for one's perceptions to become a reality. It requires work. It may start as a vision or a single thought but for it to become real it must translate into something more than just an idea and that will require the good fortune of possessing the ability to articulate our idea to others, something Ogg could only dream of for his vocabulary was very limited.

A saying like "old as dirt" bears out the constant "nature" of things. Put another way, there's really nothing new under the sun. Consider how human shelter has evolved from branch huts, to log cabins, to condos. What's the constant? Trees. The raw materials from which we fashion our clothing and our shelter, our transport, food and drink, medicines, all manner of amusement as well as enlightenment, etc., they've all been here since the beginning. What's different is how our generation uses them in ways that our ancestors didn't and our descendants won't. This is clearly depicted in the photo below.

Runabout and Aptera

To the left, the 1964 GM Runabout, a concept car that was more than just a concept. To the right, the present day Aptera. 50 years of automotive evolution separates the two. Please note both "cars" are nose to nose (facing one another) and that while the Runabout has two wheels in the back with one in the front, the Aptera is just the opposite. More importantly, please note that despite these differences, the silhouettes of both are very nearly the same even though they are pointed in opposite directions. Examine the elongated and pinched nose of the Runabout. Compare its shape to the tail of the Aptera which is also elongated and pinched by comparison. The Runabout's tail is heavier than its nose, whereas the Aptera is just the opposite.

I understand that there are other not so subtle differences between the two, like how the Aptera's front wheels aren't hidden under its body while the rear wheels of the Runabout are. Herein lies a fundamental design difference between the two in that the single front wheel of the Runabout is what steers it while in the case of the Aptera, the single rear wheel is simply along for the ride, serving only to balance the vehicle, it travels in a straight line on a fixed axle all the time. That's how Aptera's designers were able to streamline the car far more than the Runabout. If the rear wheel doesn't need to turn it can be housed in a very compact fender, not so with the Runabout. The single front wheel has to turn which accounts for more bulk.

GM did an excellent job of seeing into the future, don't you think? Fifty years ago the shape of things to come was little more than an idea. Fifty years later the concept has been flipped end to end by putting two wheels up front and one in the back, which effectively stood the idea on its head, but the shape of the idea stood the test of time. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

How you see the world is how you perceive it and because no two people see the world in quite the same way, everyone has a different perception and therefore a different reality. Be open to understanding another's reality. Think different. Step outside of your head. Think outside of the box. There's no telling what you may accomplish.

Until next time...


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