What Is The One Question We Should All Be Asking?
By: Jason Morton
What is the one question that we should all be asking more often? Questions are the beginning of great adventures in life. They're the core of discovery. A question led us to the great mysteries of the world, to space, and the deepest depths of the ocean. Without men like the Wright Brothers, we would never have taken to the skies. Without Cornelis Drebbel, the creator of the submarine, we would never have gotten to the bottom of the seas and explored the Challenger Deep.
How did they accomplish the achievements that set us on courses we couldn't have imagined a few hundred years ago? They were inventors, explorers, and men not to be held down by the restraints of their time. When you believe in the impossible, things start to turn from impossible to probable.
Who? Who were the great creators of our time? Who were the great writers, artists, musicians of our time? What was that one thing they frequently did that perhaps you might not be doing? They questioned everything. Their questions led them to change the measure of acceptable and bring a new view to things.
Things That Came From A Question
Drebbel's first submarine was propelled by oars. The exact nature of his submarine is uncertain. Historians believe it may have resembled a bell being towed by a boat. Later, two improved prototypes were tested in the River Thames between the years 1620 and 1624.
Worth all the rest put together is the little ship, in which he calmly dived under the water, while he kept the king and several thousand Londoners in the greatest suspense. The great majority of these already thought that the man who had very cleverly remained invisible to them – for three hours, as rumor has it – had perished, when he suddenly rose to the surface a considerable distance from where he had dived down, bringing with him the several companions of his dangerous adventure to witness to the fact that they had experienced no trouble or fear under the water, but had sat on the bottom, when they so desired, and had ascended when they wished to do so; that they had sailed whithersoever they had a mind, rising as much nearer the surface or again diving as much deeper as it pleased them to do, without even being deprived of light; yea, even that they had done in the belly of that whale all the things people are used doing in the air, and this without any trouble. From all this, it is not hard to imagine what would be the usefulness of this bold invention in time of war, if in this manner (a thing which I have repeatedly heard Drebbel assert) enemy ships lying safely at anchor could be secretly attacked and sunk unexpectedly utilizing a battering ram — an instrument of which hideous use is made nowadays in the capturing of the gates and bridges of towns.
Autobiography of Constantijn Huygens-1651
At the time, when Drebbel's submarine concept seemed beyond conventional expectations of science's capabilities, people didn't believe something so amazing was possible. It's a familiar tale. When great minds begin to reach out and ask how they can touch the world, how they can change the world, and what the world needs, the world becomes a better place.
Thanks to Wilbur and Orville Wright we took to the air. Orville and Wilbur Wright invented the first airplane. The era of human flight took off on December 17th, 1903 when the Wright brothers successfully tested a flying craft that achieved lift-off of its own accord, flew naturally at a steady speed, and descended without damage.
Before the Wright brothers took off in 1903, other inventors made numerous attempts to make like birds and take to the air. Among them were the inventors of the kite, hot air balloons, airships, gliders, and other aircraft. With some progress being made, everything changed after the Wright brothers decided to tackle the problem of manned flight.
It was that first manned flight that launched a revolution in travel, a revolution that ultimately lead others to go even further, and then faster. Ultimately, the question that haunted Wilbur and Orville Wright, is the same question that will someday lead us to distant worlds, having human colonies on other planets and moons, and be able to get around our world in just hours rather than days.
So, what is the question that great inventors, adventurers, explorers, artists, musicians, and scientists ask the most? Why is it a question that we should all ask ourselves more often?
Questions identify things. We identify the basics of communications with questions. Who, what, where, when, why, and how are the cornerstones of all basic questions. The greatest of those questions, is "What if?"
What if is the thing that drives us to search for the impossible, to try the improbable, and to formulate dreams. When I first started in science, most of my curiosities started with the phrase, what if? Even fantastical daydreams like winning the lottery include, what if? What if you won the lottery? What would you do?
Standing around, looking at the skies, astronomers and children of all ages wonder what if there's life on other planets? Fans of 80s television have asked, what if they did a Miami Vice Reboot? Leaders of countries ponder what if they could help all their people succeed, or at least they should. Now, people are asking what if we went to Mars?
The greatest question in human existence is the question of what if. What if is the question that drives us to explore the possibilities beyond what we believe by today's science. It's the thought to create television series, new technologies, cleaner fuels and will power our greatest missions of the future. What if is the corner of Hollywood success, when scriptwriters sit around pondering something that has never been seen before and imagining the possibilities.
As yourself, what if? What if you made a change in your life? What if you marched into your boss's office and demanded what you're worth? What if your idea that has never been pursued is your key to untold happiness?
About the author
I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. From the current state of the world to the fantastical ideas of science I've enjoyed exploring them. Time to share them.