So this past week was pretty run of the mill — Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee, raced on carbon fiber prosthetic blades in the Olympic 400 meter and NASA landed an intelligent, autonomous robot the size of a car on Mars. Let’s repeat that together, shall we? A double-amputee raced in the Olympics and NASA landed a car on Mars. MARS.
Oscar Pistorius is beyond inspiring, as is the dedication and passion of the scientists who have worked for years on this Mars landing. But look at the science. These are unmatched engineering feats, and I want to know where they got the ideas in the first place. How does someone suddenly decide, “Hey, I know. I’ll use my intelligence to create these really fast blades so that people with no legs can race against able-bodied runners” or “Let’s create a robot that can take pictures and make movies and send it to a different planet”? The intelligence is mind-boggling, but the imagination — limitless. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Rollo May wrote a book called The Courage to Create. In it, he asks the question,
What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life, but the fountainhead of human experience? What if our logic and science derive from art forms, rather than the other way around?
As an artist, I think we should give that idea some serious thought.
And speaking of artists, we lost a great one this week — the composer Marvin Hamlisch died at the all too-early age of 68. He won Emmys, Grammys, Tonys, and Oscars as well as The Pulitzer Prize for “A Chorus Line.” I’ll leave you with a video from that show, the finale number “One,” a tribute not only to Mr. Hamlisch, but to all the scientists and engineers who made the feats of this week possible. I’ve also added the video of Mission Control of the Mars landing. A little long, but beyond cool.
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