The Panda Blog

Attempts at understanding life

All those that we have missed

So recently in my English class, we’ve been studying William Shakespeare’s Play Macbeth. My teacher mentioned that we probably never would have known about Shakespeare had some of his friends not published the First Folio. That got me thinking: while Shakespeare got lucky through the diligence of his friends, how many others do not have a place in history?

Thomas Edison, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Winston Churchill. What do all these people have in common? Well, they’re famous, that’s for sure. But, something else they all have is luck. Don’t get me wrong, all four of these people had to work very hard to get to their positions, but their luck comes from the time period they were born in. For example, had Edison been born maybe 20 years later, someone else likely would have popularized the light bulb before he had a chance to get his hand in inventing, likely making Edison just a side figure in history, no one especially important. But, because Thomas Edison was born when he was, someone who might have been the one in our history books lost their chance to be at the forefront of invention.

Not only do people born in the wrong decade get cheated out of fame, but also those that are affected by external factors. Stephen Hawking is an exception to my above statement, but he is one of few that have overcome such difficulties. What if the man who was to invent flying cars was killed in a car accident before he started research? What if the woman who would’ve created the magic bullet to cure cancer was discouraged from going to med school by her parents, causing humankind to wait another 50 years for a cure? What if someone with exceptional music skills was forced to be a basketball player, only because the market demanded it? And the worst thing is, we would never know if something wonderful that someone would have thought of hadn’t been created or discovered.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Einstein, Disney, Da Vinci, etc., but I can’t help but wonder about those that migh have made our world a better (or worse) place had they been given a chance. As the world may have it, not everyone can have a place on the international stage.

Let us have a moment of silence for all those that we have missed.

Thanks for reading,



5 comments on “All those that we have missed

  1. Max
    January 18, 2015

    Interesting. “All those that we’ve missed” as in those who passed away before they reached their full potential, or people who had their potential repressed and never got the chance to broadcast their talents?


    • royalreter
      January 18, 2015

      Both, actually. I just thought it sounded kinda dramatic 😛


      • Alex
        January 21, 2015

        Hmm. I understand your viewpoint on a lot of what you said; however, someone who might discover cancer or such should in my opinion be motivated enough about med school or motivated enough to do research and collect funding by themselves to not let other obstacles take over. And yes, I understand that the factor of time and what has been created already or is not yet a possibility of being created can leave out people smart enough to invent a lightbulb or a television or whatever who would have been in the spotlight otherwise, but someone born after these were invented should still have the intelligence to invent something more; the fact that they would be able to think of the concept of a TV or a lightbulb- something completely new and innovative- would make it seem as though they should be able to use their intelligence for other inventions. So in my opinion, people who are not in the spotlight are not particularly unlucky, for anyone who would be capable of designing the first lightbulb should be capable of creating something as important as what that lightbulb was when it was conceptualized, and take their spot in history.

        Of course, you have to take into account what the rest of the world considers to be important. To many, a pipe or tube to carry messages or packages lightning-fast may not be the most intriguing or important. They may not appreciate it as much as they would for a cure to a ghastly disease in the news. And this can cause certain individuals to lose some of the fame or recognition they deserve. Not only that, but discovering a way to effectively teleport may not be esteemed as greatly during a huge depression as it would be when the world is becoming wealthier. But should something of the caliber of these examples be discovered, it is doubtful that after a short period of time, the inventor would not become famous and would not be acknowledged as he should for his or her work.

        Only one more aspect of the historical recognition of important people remains. And this is the scope of the discovery or record. If one would look at all of the records broken or the contraptions conceived that took their place in history textbooks, they would find that these moments are not all equal in objective importance. For instance, everyone knows of Amelia Earhart, and everyone knows of Albert Einstein. These two figures were introduced into our lives at about the same age- if not Amelia when we were younger. Now, some may disagree, but I consider Einstein to have contributed more to us than Earhart, because women gaining more rights was not started by her; it was demonstrated, and encouraged, and she played a large role in it, but sooner or later that would have happened anyways. There are plenty of other women that we read about who helped in the movements, and surely even without her record-breaking flights everything would have worked out very similar to what actually occurred in history, and not in a fashion that would have added too much time to the process. However, to me, Albert Einstein, who theorized about and discovered a huge amount of modern physics and some other sciences or maths did much more for us. We can see this by looking at the next great physicists in history. The next few who came to as much or close to as much fame as Albert Einstein were many decades away, which would have set our grasp of the universe and its physics back far enough so that some scientists with the needed talent or potential like Stephen Hawking, for example, would not have had the time in their lives and the prerequisite understanding of physics to make their observations and developments. But the point of this section is that certain people who are recognized equally by many people worldwide did not achieve equal accomplishments, and so were not recognized fully by those people for what they did. This is not a particularly cogent argument for your side, however, as in the end, anyone who takes the time to research these people will realize that one is more historically important than the other.

        (Now you’re going to argue that the majority of people do not research due to their lack of ability to research them, but everywhere there are at least some people who can research and teach the others.)

        In my opinion, in the end, luck is not a major factor in determining who gets fame for what they can achieve or do achieve. Those who are capable would be capable of other innovations, and even if they are not recognized immediately as much as they should be it would only be a matter of time. It is mostly the capabilities of the person that determines if or how much fame they receive.


  2. ruiqi22
    January 22, 2015

    You have very intriguing and deep thoughts. I couldn’t relate to your post about mathematics, but I think I “get” this one. And you’re right about it being sad when people are deferred from a path that might have suited them better. It’s bad when someone with talent is killed, but it’s worse when you’re close and you can actually see them wasting or being pushed away from their true talents. Then, the situation mirrors what Mr. P from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian meant when she stated that “Mary was a bright and shining star, and then she faded year by year until you could barely see her anymore.” Your writing is pretty inspirational, so I hope that you keep believing in yourself. may the odds ever be in your favor. Since you like math. 🙂 Even though evens are good too.


  3. Jason
    January 22, 2015

    I agree on that, but not to say that luck has absolutely NO factor in luck or fame. Royal was expressing how luck has affected (but not 100% affected) major historical figures and their fame. Kind of a mix of the blog post and your comment, Max.


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This entry was posted on January 18, 2015 by in Analysis and tagged .
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