Flashes that resulted in great achievements
Believe it or not, intuition is the highest form of
Behind every stupendous invention or discovery there will doubtless be saga of unremitting labour. World’s great inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who has over 1200 inventions to his credit, famously said that behind every invention there was 99 per cent perspiration and only 1 per cent inspiration.
We all know how the Curies had discovered radium through their unflinching and devoted work spread over a long period. But these are also caused through the mind of the inventor. One should bear in mind that the flashes occour as a cumulative thought process that must have taken place for long.
Henry Ford, who often conceived marvellous ideas while designing his cars in a matter of moments, said with a smile when asked about it: “Probably, the quintessence of past experience and knowledge stored up for suddenly get released which we call flash.”
Few decades ago, a young general practitioner was working on a lecture he was to deliver on the following day on the subject of diabetes browsed all the writings by renowned physicians until his mind was in a whirl with the plethora of theories advanced by these scientists.
Exhausted physically and mentally he retired to bed and soon fell asleep, his brain heavily laden with those thoughts. At 2 o’clock, long past midnight, he suddenly woke up and scribbled in his note book: ‘Tie
up the pancreatic ducts of dogs. Wait for six to eight hours for degeneration. Remove the residue and extracts.’ Then he went straight to bed and slept soundly.
This person was Dr. Grant Benting, a young Canadian surgeon. Those brief notes he scribbled in half sleep led to the epochal discovery of ‘insulin’ which has been saving millions of human lives since then. His conscious mind had sought the answer to one of medicine’s perplexing problems, but his subliminal mind completed the job for him.
Descartes, the great French mathematician and philosopher, had claimed that his munificent discoveries had come to him while he lay in his bed in the small hours of the mornings go totally relaxed. Said rightly Andrew Mellon, the American financier and philanthropist: ‘In leisure there is luck.’
Eugene Berthelot, founder of synthetic chemistry said that his key experiments surged into his mind out of the blue.
Ideas from nowhere
The renowned atomic scientist Kekule, who propounded the famous “Kekule theory of Atom”, perceived the atoms dancing in mid-air and so conceived his theory of Atomic Groupings while travelling on the upper deck of a bus in London.
Even Sir Isaac Newton usually obtained his results before he could prove it; indeed one of his monumental discoveries (on the roots of equation) was proved only a couple of centuries afterwards.
The would-famous musical genius Mozart got the idea for the
melody of the “magic flute” quintet while he played his billiards.
The other musical great Berlioz found himself humming a musical phrase which he had long been seeking in vain as he rose from a deep dive while bathing in the River Tiber. This tune had captured the musical world and it became a rage with all music lovers.
Composer Anton Bruckner, when asked how he found a certain motif for his titillating ninth symphony, said, “I went for a walk. When I was hungry I sat down by a little brook and unwrapped the cheese packet. Just as I opened the greasy paper the tune popped into my mind.”
Idle mind at work
The Telugu film lyricist of repute the late Veturi Sundararama Murty, while recuperating from an ailment in the Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai, saw a Nightingale-like nurse bestowing her tender and kind care on the patients with infectious smile and at once wrote a song: “Dorukuna itovanti seva” (can anyone get such selfless service?) for the all time hit film Sankarabaranam.
This became peerless lyric and the song is on everyone’s lips even today after a lapse of three decades.
The universally acclaimed French physicist Andrew Ampere was strolling along a street when on noticing the taxi number’s peculiarity an insight flitted across his fertile mind. Losing no time, he scribbled a series of numbers and symbols on a parked taxi cab with a piece of chalk he always carried in his shirt pocket.
The symbols and numbers happened to be a great mathematical for-
mula concerning electricity. It’s said to be one of his best inventions.
“Without receptivity there can be no insight”, said Aldous Huxley, “Reading especially emotional literature may produce a propitious mood.”
On the eve of important military engagaments, Napoleon diverted his conscious mind by playing solitaire. Presumably, the card game left his subconscious mind free to work out the plans to accomplish his task
Russian novelist Fydor Dostoevski insisted that he did his finest works after he had heated argument with his spouse.
The French novelist Alexandre Dumas talked to his imaginary characters all alone that gave him further ideas to sketch his factitious characters.
James Watt saw how the wastage of heat in a steam engine could be prevented by condensing steam, in a flash of inspiration while walking to play his golf.
Sound sleep yielded remarkable results to Sir Walter Scott. This great novelist used to soliloquies: “Never mind. I shall have the plot of my work at 7 o'clock in the morning.”And he did have it as stated by him to himself.
Van Gogh described how he had terrible lucidity at moments which was so glorious. “In those moments, I became hardly conscious of myself and my painting came to be like pleasant dreams,” he said.
Geniuses describe the creativity moments in rapturous terms. Their spirits soar and they sometime become oblivious of their surroundings. Lord Tennyson described the experiences as a kind of walking trance.
The prolific composer Haydn, with 104 symphonies and hundreds of compositions to his credit, said: “When my work does not advance, I retire into the oratory with myself and say an Ave: immediately ideas come to me.”
Practically everyone has experienced creative thinking. You have weighed pros and cons and yet couldn’t procure solutions. Later, the solutions cascades seemingly from nowhere.
Although the human brain weighs only two and half pounds it recalls and records to it 10,000 bits of information every second, nearly 20 billion impulses during a lifespan.
“The conscious mind can recall only about 10 per cent of these data. The remaining 90 per cent lies in the subconscious that illuminates the consciousness,” said the renowned psychologist William James who regarded intuition as the highest form of creativity.
Henry Ford with model T.
All time great composer Mozart.
Painting of Isaac Newton, 1689.
Thomas Alva Edison
Marie Curie, the most famous female scientist of all time.