My all time favorite musician and one of history's divine geniuses, David Bowie, died yesterday and it's got me thinking about what a difference one individual can make in the world.
Sometimes a person seemingly drops from the sky, someone who thinks so far outside the box that they often suffer persecution and death for their beliefs. They are freaks in the very best sense of the word. Their presence on Earth is so significant that it changes the course of history. They are not like us - they are their own species: Albert Einstein, Galileo, Davinci, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Gandhi, Jesus, Budha, Mohammed, Beethoven, Mozart...
It's not mere chance that these people came along when they did. Sometimes the world needs a little kick in the ass to help us switch gears. So the Universe orders up the right person at the right time.
Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were two of those men who fell to Earth during the same time in history. Unfortunately Tesla wasn't the businessman that Thomas Edison was and instead of electricity being free to everyone, it became big business. The world followed the wrong guy and the repercussions of this choice are further reaching than merely our electric bills. Business won over altruism, greed over kindness. Thomas Edison is no hero of mine - he once publicly electrocuted a chained elephant to death, just to demonstrate the power of electricity. Tesla wouldn't have done that.
We now have a new crop of innovators - billionaires who could easily use their genius to stuff their pockets even more, but instead, they use their innovations to steer us in a kinder direction. These are the Elon Musks and the Richard Bransons of the world. While it's not the easiest path, I believe that the responsible path is always the right one. Though the problems of the world seem insurmountable: over-population; hunger; war; deforestation; mass extinction; global warming, we have to believe that we can turn this around. We can all make a difference - even if it's a small one. Let's choose recycled paper, buy the environmentally-friendly laundry detergent, let's cut down on our meat consumption, let's get off of fossil fuel.
Technology may have caused most of our world's destruction, but it's also the only thing now that can turn it around. We can all be that person. Let's all stop moaning about the problems of the world and focus on being part of solution.
"Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming."
- David Bowie, January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016