It has always fascinated me and somehow freaked me out. To quote Abraham Lincoln: “Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren´t very new after all.”
It also used to hurt me. I came up with a super-hyper-new idea and after some research I realized that it had been thought of long time before me. I made a conclusion which usually scares people: “Every single of your ideas had been someone else´s idea before you.” Some stayed an idea forever, some were executed. Some became a success, more of them a disaster.
But how come some people just seem to know things years (or hundreds of years) ahead of the rest of us?
Few days ago I read a short book by Jules Verne and his son Michel – In the Year 2889. Verne was asked to write an essay on how the world can look like in 1000 years. And he did. He wrote about “telephonic journalism” when the newspaper is spoken to subscribers (today simply known as TV news; btw. the first newscast happen when Verne had been dead for 15 years). He also mentioned 3D printing, the big hype of today. Well, he didn´t really call it the 3D printer but the machine was capable of “producing any bodies whatsoever – stone, wood, metal, fibers.” Or my favorite – the “phonotelephote”. Thanks to which Mr. Smith, the main character of the book, could have heard and also seen his wife and have dinners with her even though she was in Paris (yes, today very well known as a video conference). And the “mechanical dresser”. Oh wait, that doesn´t really exist yet and can be my next big thing.
The book was written in 1889. More than 120 year ago. How come Verne knew about these things tens or even a hundred years before they became reality? An MIT professor said: “It wasn´t magic. He was just paying attention to things.”
How simple it is. Can we all start paying attention to things, please?