From vision to reality

finding enlightenment ...

If you have visions ...

For former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, it was an easy matter: "If you have a vision, you should go to the doctor.” This was how the man of action and political realist Schmidt saw things but later, as publisher of the German weekly “Die Zeit”, he had more sympathy for the ideas and visions of our society. Schmidt would certainly have sent the young 16-year old visionary Greta Thunberg to the doctor. But Time magazine has just voted the young Swede one of the 100 most influential people of 2019 – with her “Fridays for Future” movement, she has brought her vision of climate-friendly politics onto the world’s streets. The visionary is becoming an activist – and what's more, one who has chosen to travel by boat to the next climate conference in Santiago in Chile as she continues to refuse to fly. Thunberg has said that she will take a year out of school. This girl has now done more to protect the climate than seasoned politicians have in 24 climate conferences since 1992.

Greta Thunberg (photo © CC BY-SA 4.0)

Visionaries have it tough

Greta Thunberg’s predecessor can be found amongst the ancient Greeks Pythia, the oracle of Delphi, had visions and made predictions that no one believed. Today’s science attributes her expanded consciousness to a gas which escaped from a cleft in the rocks, leading to a lack of oxygen and a trance-like state. Philosophical, political and religious visionaries have always had a tough time, right from Socrates, who was also familiar with the oracle of Delphi. As the originators of ideas, thoughts and theories, in reality, they are far more frequently the cause of unrest than progress. Given the current way the church hierarchy thinks, Martin Luther would today be encouraged to repost his 95 theses on the Internet. However, his vision of a reformation has still had an impact on Europe over the centuries. Even the impact of the Enlightenment and Rousseau and Voltaire’s ideal of mankind freed from immaturity did not initially lead to their freedom but to the Terror of the French Revolution. Napoleon’s subsequent vision of Europe united under a French flag failed as did Simón Bolívar's idea of a United States of South America. And Karl Marx, the great thinker from Trier, vehemently called for his vision to be put into practice: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point, however, is to change it.” It is possible to justifiably cast doubt on whether Marx would have felt at ease in countries such as Cuba and North Korea which have followed his doctrine. Perhaps Helmut Schmidt’s recommendation is not the worst solution where political visions are concerned.

Bust of Socrates from the Louvre

The oracle of Delphi – Pythia’s prophecy of a son for Aegeus

Karl Marx in Hanover (1867)

“Not only do we want to maintain our success, we want to use it as the basis for further growth. This is why we will continue our research and development, primarily in the fields of electronics, actuators and lighting.”

Christian Gnaß, CEO/Managing Director emco Group

Vision is an art

Artists as a creative force have an advantage over philosophers and politicians as they can make their vision a reality themselves and with immediate effect. This is true of authors from William Shakespeare and his theatrical universe, via Franz Kafka who wrote only for himself, to the international author Thomas Mann. It is true of musicians from the eccentric wunderkind Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, via the great composer of symphonies, Ludwig van Beethoven, to Richard Wagner, creator of the Gesamtkunstwerk (artistic synthesis). And it is also true in the visual arts, from the universal artist, Leaonardo da Vinci, via the creative eccentricity of Vincent van Gogh, to the political performance artist Joseph Beuys.

Luther (photo © Christoph Busse), Marx (photo © Axel Kohlhaas), Beethoven (© Bürgeraktion UNSER LUDWIG, photo: Randolf Bunge), Wagner (photo © Simeon Johnke) – the artist Ottmar Hörl has his own take on these visionaries and their unique visions: he casts them in plastic. They are democratic art for everyone, a real plastic artwork: anyone can buy them from the Internet instead of expensive galleries and display them in their front garden. Art at your fingertips, as it were.

Reinventing the wheel

Technical inventions are special things that often change society completely, enabling mobility and communication, or casting light into the darkness of mankind’s existence. Let's remind ourselves: that universal genius da Vinci was already designing and drawing aeroplanes centuries before the first test flight. The vision of flight can also be found in ancient Greece in the legend of Icarus and Daedalus. Daedalus is still regarded as the forefather of all engineers and inventors and his fallen son, Icarus, as the archetype for youthful recklessness. The flying machine in which, according to the legend of Minos, they both flew gave mankind the dream of flight. This dream became a reality through da Vinci, Montgolfier and the Wright brothers until it found its hubris in supersonic aircraft.

The invention of the wheel makes mankind mobile. The discovery of the steam engine gives mobility speed. The development of atomic energy makes even more energy possible but also produces the atomic bomb. The computer connects the world, the iPhone connects the people in the world. Every vision is another step on the path of progress. As Einstein put it: “Everything that is thought is also made.”

“As an innovative supplier, emco is constantly trying to adjust to the future requirements of its customers. To put it at its simplest, this means that we are offering our customers more and more design freedom, for example through the structure of our new product lines.”

Dennis Kayser, Product Manager at emco Bau

A short history of light

A short history of light shows how a vision leads to an enlightening reality. As we know from Genesis: “In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said: Let there be light! And there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good.” As easy as it is to tell the story of creation, imagine how difficult it must have been for our ancestors, living in dark caves, to strike two stones against each other to create a spark and kindle fire. Was that a vision or an accident? We do not know but from that point on, the sun was no longer the only source of light. The Greeks worshipped fire. It was protected by Hestia, goddess of the hearth, and carried with ceremony into the stadium to open the Olympic games. This development lasted thousands of years and after a by no means so dark Middle Ages with pitch torches and oil lamps, the development of light made rapid progress, driven by vision, innovation and the genius of Thomas Alva Edison. The American inventor developed the telegraph and electric light; he also founded the first electricity company, General Electric, and electrified the first city on the continent – New York. From the incandescent bulb of 1879 to the fluorescent tube of 1934, the distances between innovations were getting shorter and shorter.

LED lights have dominated the world of lighting since 2006, providing innumerable new opportunities for designing with light. Take a look into a modern bathroom to see how emco creates highlights with lighting control, conjures up moods and sets scenes in rooms – it’s obvious that we are at the top of our game but there is much more to come from us! And the same is true for electric mobility  – just a vision not that long ago – now a reality but with more work to do.

May new visions always enlighten us.

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