Bringing Ideas to Life

Whao! Today everything conspired to keep me from blogging. Start with a project deadline that is due next week add a tiring trip home and cap it up with my preferred cybercafe being closed and you have an idea of what my day was like. Today is the 10th post on this blog! Today, I make this solemn promise “As long as you continue coming, I will continue blogging”.

10 posts! It has been a long road well traveled. Starting was difficult, now that I am getting the hang of it, I find it enjoyable to be able to share my thoughts with others. Thanks to everyone for feedback and comments. This blog would not be where it is without your help. 15 posts left and that’s it for this year! It will be exciting getting in the 13th post on this blog on the last Saturday of this month.

Next week will be Software Freedom Day all over the world. It is basically a celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In the past years, this movement has served as a counter balance to the monopoly of software behemoths like …(No need to revisit the past) 🙂 In providing alternatives to proprietary solutions, the FOSS movement allowed people use tools that would normally be out of reach to them. As an African, my favorite business model for technology is freemium. The goal of freemium is to look at what you can get for free and the start payments for extra value. But that is not the topic this week!  So enough of Software Freedom Day and on to bringing ideas to life!

In my years of studying the process of creation, the closest model I can find is that of Robin Hobb in her classic novel Assassin’s Quest. Assassin’s Quest basically represents book 3 of the Farseer Trilogy.

The basic gist is this. A king’s domain is being attacked by pirates. Every means of mounting a successful defense fails. In this world, there exists two kind of magic: The Wit and The Skill. The Wit enable communication and bonding with animals while the Skill is for human beings. The Skill holds a final secret: The secret of transmutation of how a dragon can be carved out of stone!

In this world those with the Wit are killed when they are caught. The narrator of this story is Fitz Chivalry the bastard son of the former crown Prince Chivalry who had to give up his throne once it became known that he was father to a bastard. The narrator is unlucky in that he is blessed with both the Wit and the Skill. Because of the power of the Skill, instruction in its usage is meant only for royalty. Think of the Skill like the force in Star Wars.

In the course of the story, the new king tries to build a coterie to help him. A coterie is a team of Skill-users who are at the service of a Skillmaster. All to no avail! Finding some scrolls, the new king Verity who is the brother of Prince Chivalry uncovers details of a garden where one of his ancestors went to for help when the kingdom faced the same pirate problem. In the garden are sleeping dragons and stones to carve new dragons.

The preferred option is to awake a dragon because for a dragon to be carved, a human being must lose his life. Unable to awaken the dragons, Verity has to carve his own dragon. In order to do so, Verity transfers all his memories, passion, pain and frustration for his dragon to take be able to flight. In the end, he transfers his life force into the dragon and dies. Fitz Chivalry however finds out that to awaken a dragon requires the Skill and the Wit used blood. So he and his bond animal a wolf succeed in waking up the remaining dragons in the garden.

So how does this book relate to bringing ideas to life? In a lot of ways. The characters in this book had to act despite not knowing all the details. When Verity left home to carve his dragon, he had no idea how to go about it. With no teacher or mentor, a lot of mistakes where made. To try and save his life, Verity even asked Fitz Chivalry to try to awaken the dragon and even he did not know! Only after an accident when an assailant died on a dragon did he realize how to awaken a dragon. By that time, Verity had died!

In making his dragon, Verity had died. By accident, a dragon had been awakened! The truth is there is no “right” way to do anything in a new and emerging field. There will be plenty of “accidents” along the way. But by committing to the mission and acting despite doubt, the odds of success increase. That for me is how ideas are brought to life. In closing this post, I will end with a quote from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. I call it the Magic of Commitment. With this magic, ideas can be brought to life!

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

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