When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” – Elon Musk
I find it very amazing that every day, every hour, and every second there is always something new to learn. This thought came to me as I researched a very interesting scholar, Alhazen. As I started to gain more insight and become inspired by Alhazen, my frend Ryan told me that he wished the town we live in had something to do late at night. He then proceeded to sit down at the dining room table, pulled out his iPad and continued learning Spanish which he had been studying for a couple weeks now. It then occurred to me that no matter what time it is, even 1:00 AM on a now Monday morning, you can learn something new – whether it’s a new language, or in my case gaining insight about this very interesting polymathist. Alhazen, an Arab scholar who I had never heard of before until I put on an episode of Cosmos, is considered by some to be the father of modern scientific methodology due to his emphasis on experimental data and reproducibility of its results. As I began to be inspired, I had already began this article on inspiration but this guy really tied in all of the points I was looking to make.
Your work should always inspire you. We can learn a lot from Alhazen, not only because he was a polymath, but because his inspiration leads to the transformation of the way we now understand light and vision. Alhazen was kept under house arrest after feigning madness when the ruler of the Fatimid Caliphate called him to Egypt to regulate the flooding of the Nile. Alhazen soon realized it was impractical. During the time of his house arrest from 1011 until the ruler’s death in 1021, Alhazen wrote the Book of Optics, which changed the way we understand light and vision as mentioned above. In all of his studies, Alhazen “constantly sought knowledge and truth” which was described in his Theology. He could have been defeated by the ruler and withered away during his house arrest, but his inspiration to always seek that knowledge and truth transformed science forever.
“In strictness no man ever succeeds: the only question is whether he shall be defeated by the action of others or by his own action.” – George Santayana (The Realm of Truth)
George Santayana’s quote has really made me explore the word success. I think most people can agree that we all have a slightly different definition for the word success, but I also believe that we all strive for “success” when in all actuality, there is no such thing as success. I have used this word in previous articles, but this realization has changed my view on the word and I will never use the word again to define our goals. This is a target we all strive for but no matter what we do, something else will come along and take place of it and be more “successful”. To explain a little more into my theory, I would like to use the example of a more modern day entrepreneur, Mark Zuckerberg. Sure he created Facebook, but he has not stopped there. They have acquired countless startups in hopes of the next “big thing” and once the find that, they will continue to search for the next “big thing” after that. The minute you stop reaching higher and higher, is when you get defeated by others or defeated by yourself.
This is where I would also like to tie in Zades most recent article, Are you a Polymath? Honestly, I was ashamed I had never heard of Alhazen before watching Cosmos, as I must have missed out on his name in school when learning about the Scientific Method. Not only was Alhazen a polymath but in all of his works, he does not want to stop at his conclusion. He not only wants more, but wants to pass it along for all scientists and thinkers so they can achieve more and continue to pass it on. He not only created the scientific method, but studied everything around him: Even animals and how he believed they could react to music for productivity.
Alhazens inspiration not only inspired me to learn more of his work but it has inspired me to pass this information along to you, the reader. You should strive every day to continue to learn and solve a new problem. To learn more about Alhazen, I have provided some videos and links at the bottom of this article. Ask a question, research, solve, and pass it along. Expect and accept the fact that we must adapt to the surprises that come our way throughout the process. No one will give you happiness. You want it? Go get it for yourself and make it happen. Don’t complain about not being able to overcome your adversities. These situations happen to everyone. Lasting change comes from constant practice. Seize opportunities and battle with the pressures to use innovation and take a chance. Uncertainty is scary, but follow your passions and stay passionately curious.
LoganCuriousHumans will post 2 articles per week. Our curiosity has gotten the best of us. What are you curious about? Learning a new language? Studying a new subject? Let CuriousHumans know as we would like to be curious and interact with you!
Check out these links and short videos for more information on Alhazen:
Wikipedia – Alhazen – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhazenibn al-Haytham – the first scientist and the father of optics – http://www.ibnalhaytham.net/
Here’s a quick clip for a brief overview of Alhazen:
Alhazen – Greatest Scientists – Preschool – Animated Videos For Kids
Ibn Al-Haytham: This First Scientist
Ibn Al-Haytham – The First Scientist – Origin of the Camera