“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.” (Edward Hopper)
Invention is basically the application of engineering to something that is first imagined. Architects imagine structures that have never existed before, and builders engineer ways to actually build them. Inventors must first imagine something before that set out to invent it. It’s not that Thomas Edison was just tinkering with a random set of parts that were lying about his shop when he invented the phonograph. Edison first imagined that there must be a way to capture and later play back sounds.
Sometimes one person has the imagination to dream up something, but another person actually makes it happen. Many of Edison’s inventions were implimentations of ideas that someone else first imagined. Quite often there may be two or more implementations of an imagined idea resulting from different inventive tracks – witness the inventions of HVS and Blue-ray video recording and playback technologies. Factors other than the best engineering result also often enter the picture to determine which invention eventually wins in the market.
How do we apply these thoughts to our lives? One way is to spend some time imagining a better you. What would that look like and how would it feel? There is certainly enough help available in the marketplace to allow one to “engineer” a better looking you. Just think of all the products that we are bombarded with on TV and in social media that claim to allow women to look thinner or more beautiful. Men are certainly not left out of that market with many products that proposed to make us more attractive or at least less offensive to women.
But, how do we “engineer” a better person, a kinder, gentler and more intelligent and thoughtful human being. Where is the instruction manual for inventing that person? I would point to the Bible and the instructions that Jesus left with his disciples on how to live their lives.
At the heart of Jesus’ teachings is the concept of moving from selfishness to selflessness – to love your neighbor as you love yourself. If you can get to that base, the rest of the attributes that might be used to define a better person just seem to fall into place. Rather than try to identify specific scriptural passages that make this point, just read one of the major books of the New Testament. Jesus left lots of instructions which, if followed, will result in a better you.
The new you that you can invent was there all along. It just takes your imagination and a few helpful instructions to bring out (invent) that person.
Imagine that and then invent that.