"The Fatuous Idiot, The Unrecognized Genius"
Small coastal towns were, once, all they knew.
One man ran the town garage. Though uneducated and a poor reader, one day he believed he'd designed a way to create unlimited and clean energy for all.
He bought five car batteries, arranged them in a loop surrounded by magnets and lightning rods, and attached this contraption to a light bulb. He then proclaimed he'd created a perpetual battery.
People came from miles away to watch the light bulb, which stayed lit for a very long while. Reporters from big cities flew in to interview the "unrecognized genius."
The sense that something had forever changed thrilled the air.
That is, until the light bulb eventually dimmed after the five batteries lost their charge.
So was the "unrecognized genius" eventually seen for what he was -- a fatuous idiot.
The other man from the coastal town ran its boat repair shop.
Although he was educated and well read, his college teachers had been curtly dismissive about his ideas -- which they'd called "naïve," "fatuous," and "strange."
One day he, too, became convinced he'd had an idea for a perpetual supply of energy.
Using his skill as a welder and engineer, he fashioned a seabed post with a buoyed pulley that lifted a ratcheting drop-weight, hundreds of which could be timed and interlinked to spin an undersea magnetic dynamo, tapping the power of the surf to create electricity.
He tried mightily to interest power companies, but was unsuccessful -- because, in their words, he was "just a mechanic!" Yet he interested a private investor who'd remembered that even Einstein had been forced by his university peers to be a patent clerk.
The inventor and his investor started a small company to build their "surf cells," which one day were sold to coastal power companies and home builders.
So was the "fatuous idiot" eventually seen for what he was -- an unrecognized genius.
Thus, only one thing separates genius from fatuousness -- facts.
September 24, 2011, excerpt from The Parables of Reason (Chapter 2, "Assumption's Denial"), Copyright © 2011 by Frank H. Burton, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, The Circle of Reason, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dedicated to CERN's potential discovery of slightly-faster-than-light travel of neutrino matter, a dramatic claim that will be vetted -- or refuted -- by later experimentalists.