One of the areas I have the most trouble with when I construct a project for my radio interests is the physical layout of the larger components. The big variable capacitors and switches and coils and the like. I usually look at how other have done this and sometimes use this as a guide.  But I usually go with some current traditional method and am not always happy with the way it turns out. Oh it works OK but quite often it is larger than I want or not a elegant as I would like. This last time was no different.

There was a product for doing part of this that would have made this exercise a whole lot easier and simpler and direct but it has not been available for quite some time as the company that produced it no longer does. It was bought out and the new owners decided to take the company in a different direction. I have seen this product a number of times and though about making one myself but as it used ceramic parts that were specific to it and producing these parts as shown would be out of my ability, I dismissed this though out of hand. My thought was that in order for it to work, I had to make it exactly the way was originally made.


I finally occurred to my that I could make one that would work as well (if not better), look good and be easy to put together. I did not have to make it exactly like the original at all. Just use the basic concept and currently available materials. I had become my own victim of absolute thinking.  My knowledge and experience in this situation had worked against me.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few. – Shunryu Suzuki

Far to often we find that our knowledge and experience works against us in solving problems or finding new and different ways of accomplishing what we need or want. Those that manage to invent and create and solve problems in spite of their vast knowledge and experience – who think nearly always outside of the box – we at first refer to as ludicrous. After we have seen their wisdom we call them genius.  They have managed to retain the view and insight of the beginner. People such as Tesla and Einstein and DeForest.

Too often we think in absolutes. Something HAS to be done a particular way.  It did not work before there fore it can’t POSSIBLY work now.  We let our knowledge and experience box our thinking in and loose our imagination in the process. We become our own automatons to willing to accept ideas as categorical with out further examination of them.
When instead we could look at a solution and say “Hey…this might work. All we need to do is change this part or do it a bit differently.” 

We need more beginners and fewer experts.

“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” – RFK


9 thoughts on “Possibilities

  1. larrytheh

    Thirty some years ago I was trained in systems analysis by a wizened old DP professional and former EDS consultant. The job of systems analysts back then, before the PC, was to design the software solution that would automate some task. He proposed three rules for responding to requests to automate such activity heretofore executed manually by the organization’s staff.

    1.Tell them it can’t be done.
    2.If they insist then tell them it is better to do it
    by hand.
    3.If they still insist then agree to design the solution and then just send them progress reports every three months or so.

    As it turns out this was valuable advice for surviving in large corporate environments. Taking responsibility in large organizations is all downsides. Complete success is problematic since it will lead to even more unreasonable expectations and demands. Anything less than complete success is fodder for the political battles that rage over advancement and promotion. Succinctly put, the first law of corporate employment is “Never show competence.”

    A fellow wrote a book I once read on “intrapreneuring” in which he demonstrated that the total profits of all the individuals who left a major computer manufacturer because they were frustrated with the restrictions on their creativity and started their own firms exceeded the total profits of the firm they left. I would conclude that it is not a question of one’s expertise that is the central issue. Rather it is that individual’s desire to be creative versus their drive to be economically secure.

    1. cmaukonen

      This is also true. However I cannot help thinking that our educational environment tends to breed technocrats like flies. Highly educated but completely unimaginative people that when you suggest anything that is not within the realm of what they had drummed into their abused little brains, are totally at a loss. Most in Washington fit this description.

      1. I can vouch for this. I have a few nephews and nieces who’ve finsihed college in the last few years and none shows any creativity at all. They are worried only to fit into the rigid corporate places they landed and collect their paychecks. Maybe that’s just a sign of the times though with things being like they are. In the current environment even the slightest risk is avoided like the plague.

        1. cmaukonen

          This is unfortunate TPC. I do think it has a lot to do with our technological decline and why the rest of the world is out stripping us in that area.

  2. You can see this in the distortion of the narrative over the last couple of days with the release of Rummy’s book. It’s being discussed in the MSM in a fashion which assigns the possibility of Rummy’s performance as being OK even though his worldview is extremely distorted and totally self serving. I’ve listened to some of this and it makes me puke. Much of the commentary is well within the realm of insanity.

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