The Potential of a Minute
Seventeen thousand, two hundred and eighty are done. The day dawned with one thousand, four hundred and forty to be lived. It is 2015 and the holiday season is officially over. The twelve days of Christmas have been drummed into history and now we are standing on the precipice of the New Year which is stretching out before us as an endless sea of potentials and possibilities. From its midnight birth, complete with fireworks all over the world until its closing it will hold five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes of opportunity.
We had conversations during Advent 2014 regarding creation stories and myths worldwide. Following the natural curiosity of man, each spirituality and religion or belief system has its own theory about its creation and the origins of their followers. Life on this planet has been a series of epiphanies, though many of the same events have had different interpretations depending on the culture and time they were discovered and discussed. Some of these were personal epiphanies, many not well received, but all would later hold terrific impact upon the world. Galileo, Newton, and Einstein are but three of the world’s residents who had a bright idea that would prove stepping stones into greater discoveries.
The first bright idea or epiphany has no special monument in its honor and the names of those making the first such discoveries will never be known. In 2012 a team of scientists from the University of Peking unearthed pottery within layers of sediment that predated such finds by two thousand years. The discovery of pottery shards is considered important in the advancement of man. Pottery pieces are evidence that early man understood the importance of food preparation and had tools with which to do it. Bowls were used for gathering things as well as in cooking. There is no record of who made the first bowl and we will never be able to say thank you to the inventor of this bright idea.
Evidence of the use of pottery predates agriculture by about ten thousand years as do other such bright ideas like the wheel or the dugout canoe. Even fire was, pardon the pun, a bright idea that enabled mankind to advance. Fire was not only a product of lightening striking wood, man learned how to make it and then control it for things such as cooking meats and plant items. All bright ideas that today we take for granted. All were epiphanies that enabled our existence. All were possibilities with greater potential.
Francis Bacon once wrote that scientists and curious men were as ants in that they only collected and used what was already in existence. He characterized logisticians as “spiders who make cobwebs out of their own substance.” During this season of Epiphany, we will embark on a tour of the possibilities man has explored and learned. Hopefully this will enable us to see the possibilities within our own lives.
Bacon revered the bee. “The bee takes a middle course. It gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by power of its own.” Several years ago another epiphany took place when scientists were finally able to discover the secret to the flight of a bee. Long deemed impossible due to their body mass, etc., we now know that bees increase their wing stroke amplitude as opposed to wingbeat frequency. This discovery will help in the development of aircraft that can hover in place, critical when giving aid in times of natural disasters like earthquakes or tsunamis.
Robert Ingersoll said “Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.” Ashley Smith continues that thought. “Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes of opportunities, full of hope and beauty. What epiphanies will you discover this year?