Impossible vs. Possible

There is an interesting dichotomy in the geek world between the possible and the impossible. Many of us think that science can prove anything and if it can’t then it isn’t real. However, we read science fiction and fantasy novels that suggest things beyond our current understanding and accept them. We even try to make them happen. For instance, many people say that cellphones wouldn’t exist if Star Trek hadn’t had communicators on the show. People wanted that technology to exist and at the time the show was written cellphones were just a fictional idea. Every type of communication device needed to have a cord or work on a wire. Now we have computers that think and learn for themselves like Data and cellphones that can talk to people hundreds of miles away without being hooked up to a landlines.

But how to we imagine farther and not accept the impossible now? Many of the people I meet talk about liking ghost stories but then others dismiss that ghost aren’t real. How can you accept fantasy and assert that you can’t believe it unless you see it?

There are even major technology companies who are acknowledging that our world advances because of the imagination of others. Intel holds a science fiction writing contest that encourages people to think of what tomorrow will look like. It even askes people to address future issues writers wish to avoid. The contest is called The Tomorrow Project. The website says, “Science fiction gives all of us all a language so that we can have a conversation about the future and these conversations make dramatic changes.” But even they want fact based stories even though some of the point of fiction is to create the new rules.

Personally, I accept the idea that people have gut feelings about situations and issues in there life and trust them because they just do. They can’t explain it other than something bad would happen if I were there. However if that same person doesn’t go then nothing out of the ordinary happens. So, why can’t science explain this gut feeling? Because it isn’t advanced enough to understand the reasons behind bodily reactions to some natural situations. Now I know some of you will argue stress studies and psychology but I am talking about honest premonitions and psychic activity. We are still trying to figure out why some people can tell you there is a circle on a card and others can’t. Why someone would know that their child had a bad dream and others have no connection. Just like with the cellphone our science isn’t there yet.

Brian David Johnson is a Futurist at Intel. He gets to help them figure out what the future might actually look like. Not just white outfits and clean houses but rooms with clothes thrown around made with new fibers and recording devices in pens for students or TVs that access the internet without issue. I have had the honor of hearing this King among geeks speak at a conference. He was amazing in explaining futurecasting and how fiction brings the future into view. He gets to research society and piece together possibilities about the future that others may not have imagined. But even that couldn’t have been imagined before people discovered this research process.

So in my opinion you should never dismiss anything as impossible. At very least put it in the category of not defined or unexplained. Allow there to be some wonder in your world. Allow your children to be curious enough to discover these things.


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