Its a new age and the concept of impossibilities has become obsolete today. Brinda Mehra talks about the achievements of modern humanity that seemed impossible in hindsight
My mother is fond of telling me that at my age, the idea of a cell phone that could actually fit in your skinny jeans was an inexistent entity – mostly because they neither had cell phones nor skinny jeans. It does make me feel glad that I was born in this century.
When I was younger, the extent of my foray into science fiction began and ended at Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which I admit is not exactly the most plausible thing in the universe. But, as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flew, so did my imagination and I envisioned a world where (predictably) robots did my homework, donuts mass produced themselves and cars flew. While this fantasy was inspired by a heavy dose of Enid Blyton in the mix, it is undeniable that most of us dreamt of this possibility sometime in our childhoods and perhaps we may see this childhood dream come to fruition – like many of our science fiction writers, who it seems, at times, can predict the future.
In 1914, H.G. Wells (often hailed as the father of modern science fiction) wrote The World Set Free, where he envisaged a world where bombs exploded continuously, using radioactivity as a power source and proliferation of WMD’s occurred – a direct contrast to Robert Millikan, the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1923, who stated that ‘There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.’
Fast forward roughly a hundred years and you arrive in 2016 A.D. – an era where nuclear weapons are selling like hot cakes. Moreover, the atom is no longer a tiny, invisible particle known to a few, but now the bane of an entire sixth grade generation’s existence. It is rather mystifying how quickly the mysteries of life are unravelling. Every single day the world discovers something new – an Implausible Possibilities ancient stone tablet detailing the Etruscan pantheon of Gods in Italy or the presence of hobbit-like human skeletons in Indonesia, allowing us to gain a deeper insight into our past. Sometimes, the discoveries prove past theories and lead us towards the future, intent on demystifying the fields of physics and chemistry – like the Higgs Boson particle or the discovery of gravitational waves at breakneck speed. We’ve been defying the idea of impossible even before it was possible.
This century has seen some great things – a flower being grown in space, gay rights, a red sea dragon, EDM and many more. In the future, it will also not cease to amaze us through events such as the 2025 Mission to Mars and perhaps a female US President. The world is adapting and moving at an incredibly fast speed and far too often we get caught up in its dizzying whirlwind and are unable to appreciate just how far mankind has evolved. In the Stone Age, our biggest boon was fire – in the 21st century, Wi-Fi depravation is steps away from becoming a crime.
Not everything is peachy though – we’re still battling hate, prejudice, intolerance and inequality. But we’ve come a long way from where we were even ten years ago and I take that as a good omen for the future. We’ve advanced so far when it comes to the sciences, the humanities and the world in general – there is no need for humans to stop trying to advance emotionally and socially too.
Perhaps what strikes me the most is that once upon a time, Dr. Lee DeForest thought that man would never reach the moon and now, we’re going through solar systems finding gas giants 3,700 light years away like I go through erasers. If DeForest was alive now, he’d be eating his hat. Suddenly, flying cars don’t seem so ridiculous after all.
Volume 6 Issue 1