Judging by the number and diversity of texts with the word ‘impossible’ in the title, it clearly doesn’t exist. Because the only reason to put the word ‘impossible’ in the title of a book is because you have some evidence to the contrary.
Science, sport, and commerce have proven many times that it’s a sloppy word, offering, if anything, insight into the milieu and mindset of the person using it, rather than scientific information about the proposition at hand.
Impossible is the perimeter guard of the contemporary paradigm. We know that paradigms are generally under assault by research, adventure, invention, and culture, and that they are often superceded.
It is a word that sensible people ought to eschew, and yet it is often a word they use to beat one another up.
The industry of personal coaching is largely about talking people out of their expenditures on internal border guards, the imposition of arbitrary impossibilities on our own imaginations and competencies.
The automotive industry has known since 1906 that electric cars were possible. “Impossible” was a cartel that destroyed the planet with its greed. Paradigms are lucrative. They are protected, even with lies about engineering.
Who plays this trumping word, this fifth amendment escape from dialogue?
Then there are people preternaturally disoriented as to the territory of paradigms. Staring at their own maps, they stumble past perplexed border guards without seeing them, urgency outweighing the guards’ threats of failure, ignominy, and insanity.
I will leave it to the gurus of “peak performance” to distinguish the psychological profiles of the avant-garde.
I am interested in the space between imagination and industry: the colleageality, community, and culture that carry avante-garde experiments into social institutions.
In no case has an inventor, no matter how resolute, resilient, courageous, and impervious to discouragement built an industry single-handed. The paradigm gets assaulted by multiple determinations – various actors, with various motivations, not all of whom will be remembered, who: built prototypes, kept trying in different ways, just wouldn’t stop talking about it, innovated bits and pieces, encouraged or inspired one another, subsidized projects, or figured out good ways of explaining it all…
As a result of all this persistent insanity and ignorance we have: airplanes, organic food, solar and wind power grids, and electric cars.