The Nature of Epiphanies

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The more I see, the more I learn, the more I research, the more I am convinced that the solutions to “problems” (gaps) are likely to be found in combining aspects of things we haven’t yet put together/changing proportions/perspectives (on the gaps or the things), many/most/all of which can be found in/inspired by nature. So too, increasingly, trailblazing breakthroughs are not necessarily ignited by those who are the most knowledgeable in a particular area but more by those who are open at the right moment in time to see the connection and interpret it as meaningful before communicating it convincingly, coherently, concisely and consistently to others.

See below a link to an article describing how it has been discovered how to Generate Electricity By Dragging A Seawater Droplet Over Graphene. We have known about graphene and it’s wonder properties, we have known about the properties of seawater and we are constantly searching for new ways to generate electricity more sustainably but the combination of those particular sets of knowledge has never happened before, until now. I do not know the inner-workings behind the above discovery, nor if it’s “the next big thing” or if it is a flash in the pan. But I see there is plenty to learn from the concept. Millions of people around the world are trying to innovate and make connections between existing things but in new ways. This is fast becoming an inspiration that keeps cropping up and which I regularly remind myself of, somewhat of a cornerstone philosophy in my approach to life.

I am a collector of fun-facts and I always have been. One of my favourite facts that I have come across thus far is that Einstein discovered the theory of relativity while lying on the ground daydreaming about riding on a sunbeam. Perhaps he didn’t “discover” it – perhaps he “received” the theory of relativity or was open to it. Amusingly, the theory of relativity was true before Einstein documented and proved it but it was only acknowledged, affirmed and applied in its eloquently-worded package afterwards. All of the major breakthroughs perhaps should be referred to as epiphanies in my opinion. I say this based on a definition of epiphany as a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something. It is likely that there were other people in the world at a similar time who thought some similar thinks about aspects of relativity but obviously not in the same combination, not at the same time, and not with the same conviction as Einstein. Relativity existed before, despite and beyond Einstein – it was always there, always true, always taking affect all around us, he just happened to bring it into the light for us all to be aware of it.

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One definition of epiphany even went so far as to tack onto the back of the above definition also this, perhaps the most noteworthy part of all: “Epiphany: a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience“. This I say is the most intriguing aspect because if we are too busy, if our minds are too “full”, if we are too caught in the rat race to take time out to do simple things and merely expereince life, who knows how many breakthroughs will have gone unilluminated. Our bodies of knowledge would be very different if Einstein didn’t daydream about that sunbeam, or Archimedes didn’t take time out to take that bath. Einstein saw the light on the sunbeam, Archimedes saw it in the water. And again, Nature asserts herself as supreme with the capacity to reflect things as they are.

Almost everyone who knows about apples knows that they fell off trees, but only Newton watched this simple event and will forever be remembered for his epiphany.

We need to each live our lives in such a way that we leave ourselves enough space and malleability to stay open – you never know what epiphany may be floating on the breeze next time you take the time out to breathe, to bath, to sunbeam.

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