“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford
Although the comment seems a little snarky, Henry was right.
When Henry Ford invented the Model T automobile in 1908, most people were clueless. Accustomed to either the horse and buggy, or completely out of reach, expensive cars such as those introduced by Karl Benz, the American public had no idea that a new mode of accessible transportation could be possible. In their limited thinking, most folks would have indeed declared a “faster horse” as the new ideal.
Ford proved them wrong. His Model T became the first automobile to be mass produced on an assembly line. Not only did the Model T offer a grand and affordable mode of transportation, but Ford’s manufacturing jobs also transformed American labour. It was the Ford Motor Company that first introduced the eight-hour workday and the five-day work week, as opposed to the previously harsh conditions in American factories. With a new minimum wage of $5.00 per day (the equivalent of about $130.00 in today’s money) Ford revolutionized the American economy.
How was this possible? Simply put, it was enabled by the power of thought.
Catch a Wave! Or Catch a Particle…
Even today, most people cannot imagine what is truly possible in the realm of human achievement. Any idea that one can conceive of and believe in, one can also make manifest. However, most people simply do not recognize the ability of the human mind. As such, the “conceive, believe and achieve” doctrine is often dismissed as simply wishful thinking.
There is, in fact, much scientific evidence to support the theory that what one believes, one can achieve.
Most folks are stuck in the idea of what they recognize as “reality”. However, in scientific terms, reality is much more than what we perceive with our senses. Take sight, for example. Human eyes can only see within a spectrum of visible light. Outside of that visible spectrum, there exist infinite possibilities of the unseen – ultraviolet light, infrared light and the universe beyond.
To understand this idea better, consider the dog whistle. We humans only hear auditory vibrations picked up by our own ears. And yet there is much more in the auditory realm. A dog can hear a dog whistle, but humans cannot. That is because the dog’s sensitive ear is tuned to pick up a wider spectrum of auditory vibrations. Consider the inexplicable sixth sense of animals. Geese have no GPS, but they know how to fly south every winter. Salmon know how to return to the place of their birth to spawn and die, following their instincts and traditions.
Hence, it can be concluded that much dwells beyond the realm of human senses. Just because a thing cannot (yet) be acknowledged by humankind does not mean it is not in existence.
This hidden realm is also known as the Quantum Field – a world of tiny subatomic matter that is both unpredictable and a bit magical. In this unseen world of quanta, any thought or idea can be made into physical reality.
Physicists have proved that it is possible for subatomic matter to exist as both waves and particles. A wave is like air – merely an idea or thought form. A particle is a concrete object. Yet they can both exist at the same time. How could this be so? Even physicists have a hard time explaining, but it is akin to the idea that “thoughts are things”. The wave exists, but upon human observation it becomes a particle. Therefore, anything the human mind can imagine or visualize, is, in some sense, already in existence in some physical realm.
Following this line of reasoning, the Model T was already in existence as soon as Ford imagined its blueprint in his mind. Ford had a clear vision. He probably also knew that he was thinking outside the box and no one would accept his somewhat crazy idea. Luckily, Ford teamed up with other visionaries such as C.H. Willis and Henry Leland, who shared his ideals. The results were miraculous!
They Of Little Faith
Throughout history there has always been the naysayer known as the “Doubting Thomas”. These non-believers are named after Thomas the Apostle. The name, although not used specifically in the Bible, comes from a bible story. Thomas the Apostle reportedly refused to acknowledge that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead, until he saw Christ with his own eyes and touched his flesh. Jesus admonished Thomas, saying, “You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 NIV Bible.)
Following Thomas’ line of thinking, most people refuse to believe anything until they see it with their own eyes. The state of Missouri, for example, has, as its motto, “The Show Me State.” The plain speaking, plain talking folk of Missouri will not believe anything unless they see it. Furthermore, they take pride in this reputation. Similarly, most people would like to see concrete evidence as proof of anything. If such evidence cannot be provided, the idea should simply be dismissed as fantasy. This “show me” attitude is a popular but very narrow way of perceiving the world.
If Only You’d Believe in Miracles…
Miracles are normal. All sorts of miracles are happening all over the world, every day. The human mind is constantly creating all kinds of things that were previously thought impossible. People are overcoming terminal illnesses. Rockets are being sent to outer space. I am typing this essay on a sleek, ink free keyboard, whereas once upon a time, such an essay could only be written on a clunky old thing called a typewriter. Take it back a few years further and such an essay would be written in quill! Furthermore, this essay will be sent into cyberspace for your reading pleasure with the click of a button. Once upon a time, such an essay could only be sent through the long process now called “snail mail”. Take it back a few years further and such mail would travel by horses in the Pony Express.
It was once believed that human beings were only using 10% of the brain’s capacity. While this myth has been debunked, it is still unclear as to how much of the brain’s ability humans are using. As such, there is an infinite wealth of ideas that are not being utilized, and therefore hidden from experience.
Scientists have also proved that atoms, the building blocks of all physical things consist of 95 – 99% empty space. This means that up to 99% of all things in existence – your house, your city, your body, etc. – are, in truth, empty space! (Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Subatomic particles are actually moving so fast, they will, under a microscope produce empty space by not remaining stationary.) At any rate, solidity is an illusion.
This “empty space” is the previously mentioned waves of quantum physics. Don’t forget that waves can, upon observation, be changed into physical particles. Any thought, even a seemingly crazy idea, can be changed into an object. A human being need only persistently keep hold of his/her vision, then go about adding the necessary physical attributes.
When Ford decided to invent the Model T and its subsequent benefits, he was relying upon imagination and ingenuity. It paid off!
In our present 21st century, it is hard to imagine life without cars. It is also hard to imagine life without trains, planes, submarines, space crafts, jet skis, hang gliders, computers, cell phones, etc. We owe many thanks to the bold thinkers, the inventors and the dreamers who have dared to transform our reality from thought to physicality.
And so, Ford was right. If he had asked people, with their limited minds, what they “wanted”, most folks would have simply replied, “Invent a faster horse.”
Good thing Ford dared to dream. As a result, we are auto-America, a culture of cars, wide highways, I 80 and Route 66. We assert our independence in the delicious freedom of road trips, windows rolled down, wind in our hair, destinations ripe for discovery. Because of Henry Ford’s bold experimentation, some happy human being is, at this very moment, cruising down the street in a brand-new Ford Explorer, or maybe even a restored Model T.
Never underestimate the power of the human mind!