I am once again rebooting this blog, primarily as an attempt to have a little fun and brush up on my long-neglected writing skills. However, I aim to occasionally share something that can lead to interesting discussion as that is something I very much enjoy. Most topics will center around technology, although there is likely to be commentary on topics in sociology, finance, and other aspects of our daily lives.
There have been a couple of blog articles recently on Hacker News related to the famous inventor Nikola Tesla. As emphasized in detail in this entry by entrepreneur Zach Tratar, Tesla by almost any standard was an incredibly imaginative and successful inventor (and indeed went over and beyond in just about any field he set his mind to). So intense was his imagination, it tormented him until he learned to control it:
“I soon discovered that my best comfort was attained if I simply went on in my vision further and further, getting new impressions all the time, and so I began to travel; of course, in my mind. Every night, (and sometimes during the day), when alone, I would start on my journeys – see new places, cities and countries; live there, meet people and make friendship and acquaintances…
This I did constantly until I was about seventeen, when my thoughts turned seriously to invention. Then I observed to my delight that I could visualize with the greatest facility. I need no models, drawings or experiments. I could picture them all as real in my mind… I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind. It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in thought or test it in my shop.”
- Nikola Tesla
Sounds like a good problem (or superpower) to have, huh?
Zach and a few people who have read his article have decided to undergo an experiment to determine whether this kind of imagination is purely innate or if anyone is capable of fostering and developing their imagination like it was any other skill. Alec Bibat posted a follow-up with his first week's results with a methodology I'd like to try and emulate myself. This involves setting aside a 15-20 minute time period free from all external input and focusing on traversing the mind much as Tesla describes, followed by attempting to capture the scene through writing and images. The goal is to try to find the limits of your imagination, push up against them and, in so doing, expand them.
It's an interesting concept. Unlike some types of traditional meditation, it involves keeping the mind active instead of attempting to purge all thoughts and create absolute silence. I'll give it a go myself and will follow up here with the results. I figure I will at least learn a little about myself in the process.