Creativity surpasses imagination

In the Mahabharata, Dhirtarashtra was a blind king. His hundred sons were involved in a great battle which he could not see. To stay informed, he relied upon Sanjaya, his charioteer, who could witness the faraway battle from the comfort of his palace. Sanjaya had the special power of divya dristhi – the ability to see faraway events. Divya dristhi translates to English as tele-vision.

Peter Thiel reminds us how we have worked several miracles that we bracket under the term technology. Our world is filled with miracles that far surpass what the ancients had imagined. In the same epic Mahabharata, the Chayamukhi was a mirror that told a person whom they most intimately desire. Today, we have matchmaking algorithms and dating websites. Robert Oppenheimer chanted lines from the Bhagavad Gita as he watched the destruction of the atom bomb – “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” From flying machines to destructive weapons, we have cruised beyond our ancestors’ wildest dreams. 

Even in recent decades, creativity continues to surpass imagination. In the late 1960s we put a man on the moon. Today, a device in each of our pockets has more computing power than the entire United States had at that time. Most movies and artistic renditions of the future from the 60s’ and the 70s’ look nothing like the future we have actually created. In fact, these portrayals remind us more of the 60s’ and the 70s’ than of present times.

Having come so far with technology, one might get the impression that subsequent miracles are harder and are farther apart. Whenever such a thought crosses your mind, consider how it might just be a failing of your imagination – something that is inferior to your power to create.

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