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Matilde C. Alves
Member since May 7, 2016
  • 1 Post
  • Age 18

British Council in Lisbon.

British Council in Lisbon.

Time is an illusion.

It might seem like a vague statement coming from a 18 year old student, however this is truly Einstein’s idea.

Time and space are not conditions of existence, time and space are a model for thinking.

It’s due to Einstein that we can say – and theory has it – that time travelling isn’t really that far from us anymore. I’d risk and say that we’re always doing it.

Evolution seems to be rushing through us. In fifty years, we could be thanking the technological advance and its benefits in our lives… but we could also be wishing that no one had come up with the development of artificial intelligence, as Stephen Hawking’s theory of it killing us ended up being true.

Over the last two centuries, people traded science for mysticism and pseudosciences – and this does not exclude how faith confronted and was confronted by science previously.

They might be aware that these methods aren’t precisely reliable on, but we’ve got to admit that people are clueless as to what will properly guide them – a crystal ball, cards, astrology, and, of course, God. All of this… instead of using their brains to invent it.

Inventing – it is way more than to create something that has never been made before.

In fact, inventing can be improving and that does not take credit out of the invention. May I talk about time travelling again? The concept itself has changed, improved over the years. The idea that you have in your mind is certainly not the same as H. G. Wells’ definition of it, when he wrote The Time Machine in 1895. If not a definition but a picture, and fiction or not, it was an invention already for thinking about it – creating it with his mind.

Inventors are visionaries. You have got to see invention as all sorts of creation to understand my point: from a hypothetic time machine to the way that I combine my words. Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin were visionaries – and many people still can’t tell which one of them invented/discovered electricity. And writers like George Orwell, with 1984, or Aldous Huxley, with Brave New World, they were visionaries too – all great inventors of their own.

Our issue is different. The ambition to discover and to invent surely moved a lot of waters in the previous centuries but it seems like the seas had grown too calm.

We might have ambitions but many of us are not dreamers and, if anything, we grow demotivated as we, indeed, grow. Uncertainty is faced with fear instead of appreciation for the surprise effect. And, mostly, we think there is no surprise effect.

Many of us might not even know what our generation is called – the iGeneration that was born in the era of World Wide Web, zapping and scrolling. And I’m not saying that’s bad! What really bugs me is how contraditorily our generation is described as: our natural habitat is assumed to be unemployment and precariousness – the ones who say that also call us enterprenours – which is a good thing, right? – and we’re called conservative capitalists (keyword: conservative), but they say we are very openminded and fair when it comes to social aspects. We're the most liberal ones!

So, how would they not want us to be confused?

We may pretend but we’re not as quick as our evolution predicts, not all of us at least.

And, when our surroundings evolve so fast, it seems like there’s nothing left for us to create. So, besides relying on religion and astrology, technology is the only thing we have.

We are bored (and boring). It is not like we have everything we need. We’re lazy and consumed by the idea of fullfilment. There are many things that we predicted to only have in a further future that are already ours.

All of this is very wrong, let me tell you!

This lack of creativity immediately takes us back from putting passion in what we’re doing. Instead of “God wills, the man dreams, the task is born” (Fernando Pessoa), we have “God wills, the man yawns, the task is nowhere to be seen”.

Therefore, how can we fight this?

We cannot – we’ve got to let natural selection do it for us.


You don’t fight it, you improve.

The solution to most things is not objective: you can’t just go there and punch it in the face and declare it solved (mostly because it would probably punch you back and break your nose).

Give it time.

Picture Gandhi sitting with his family, living his futile everyday life under the English dominance. Picture Eleanor Roosevelt sticking to being the President’s wife, the first lady, whose clothes and shoes were the only thing people cared about when she was mentioned.

Instead of taking creation as absolute and done, the Post-Millenials have to go out and search for their own brains. Invention is inside of them, along with the creativity it needs and the knowledge that supports it.

There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, said Mark Twain. He also said that the secret of getting ahead is getting started.

I may have sounded passive-aggressive.

What I mean is that it’s up to all of us to choose if our path is good or not. We decide that – not someone who has not lived it. We can learn how to cooperate what’s around us with what’s inside of us, even if it’s hard, even if it’s wrong, it’s okay – we’re still too immature to know about it for sure.

May all our inventions be silly – physical or not, reality or fiction – for someday they’ll have a great meaning.

Life is about creation.

As long as you’re inventing, you’re alive it’s an unqualified sucess.

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

That was the theme for the speech I presented above - or a draft of it - that I prepared for a competition connected with the British Council and the English Speaking Union. I've got the opportunity to represent my school, along two classmates, in Lisbon, in March. I did not win, however I got to the finals in the national contest. The speech that won in Portugal was from a friend of mine and it was amazing!
I wanted to share mine with you, since I believe that it contains an interesting message, but you tell me!)

A few sources on...
Einstein's quote:
Time travelling:
Stephen Hawking's theory:
H. G. Wells' book:
The iGeneration (and a very interesting article on it):
Fernando Pessoa's quote (and also the complete poem):
Mark Twain's quote (and his paradoxal view of optimism vs. pessimism):

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