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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:The Awe-Inspiring Power of Creation

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As savages burn and loot many of our cities, fooling themselves about being powerful, it behooves the rest of us to step back for a moment and contemplate the magnificence of real power: the creative application of the reasoning mind to survival on earth.

Willis Carrier, the man who invented air conditioning, gives us a fine example, as relayed in part at A Wealth of Common Sense:

Fools like this deserve a desert island of their own. (Image by Flavio Gasperini, via Unsplash, license.)
Willis Carrier discovered air-conditioning by accident in the early-1900s while trying to develop an apparatus that would keep ... ink from smearing during the humid summer months. His contraption not only helped keep ink dry while writing but also cooled the entire room.

The lightbulb went off in his head once he noticed colleagues gathering around the printing room during hot summer days.

After testing out AC in movie theaters, department stores, hotels, and office buildings for a number of years, people were finally ready to put Carrier's innovation in their homes following World War II.
I agree with the author that air conditioning might be one of the most underrated inventions. As he indicates, Carrier's invention allowed millions to live comfortably in warmer climes, changing the face of our country in only a few decades even while it made summer bearable everywhere for more and more people.

The post continues with a quote from a Steven Johnson book, How We Got to Now. Within, Johnson devotes one of his six chapters to the invention, and elaborates on the explosive development across the southern United States unleashed -- by what had started as some guy doing his job to stop some ink smudging in a print shop somewhere.

This is as awe-inspiring as today's savagery is pathetic: Carrier helped build an empire we all enjoy. And the rioters? Imagining themselves "powerful," they burn things -- causing pain and loss, and leaving only ashes that the wind will blow away soon enough.

It is testimony to the power of philosophy to guide history -- as Ayn Rand has argued -- that so many people want to tear down the system they denounce out of ignorance. Animated by their poisonous ideals, they're spurning the world of unparalleled wonders, delights, and opportunities we have today -- for the momentary approval of rabble-rousers, a brief adrenaline rush, and ashes.

-- CAV

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