SAGACIOUS: having or showing acute mental discernment and keen practical sense

There is a plethora of people to whom could be attributed the word sagacious. It is a word that encompasses not only the Steve Jobs’ of this world, but touches on those personalities who regularly appear in our media as having wisdom beyond the norm and the keen ability to translate that wisdom into practical items which enhance our lives. The photo of Steve Jobs helps to define the term. He is one of the people who dreamed up and then produced the Apple products which have become instrumental in expanding our ability to access information and communicate it to others worldwide.

I find it awesome to consider the capability of a person’s mind to invent something as complex as a computer or a cell phone.  But my awe is not reserved for those in the fields of technology.  I am also in awe of the person who first thought about the idea of the button, a hand-held mirror, and eye glasses.

I am one of those who can look back in my life and think of times when I said to myself, wouldn’t it be great if someone could come up with….whatever.  And then someone did.  I can remember a conversation with my wife many years ago when I said to her, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to have a telephone beep when you are talking with someone and another call is coming through?” I thought I was the first person to think about that.  But it was only a couple of years after that when someone not only thought about it as a concept, but put their wisdom and practical knowledge into practice and…bingo…there was the technology.  An idea is only an idea if it cannot be coupled with the wisdom to translate it into a product.

We are fortunate (or burdened, depending upon your attitude about it) to live in an age when this kind of entrepreneurial sagacity is capable of bringing forth brilliant products that can do just about anything anyone can imagine.  It is only a matter of time, I am convinced, before we have a cure for cancer.  It is not something beyond the capability of sagacious researchers; we simply haven’t come to the right moment.  I suspect we will see that moment within our lifetime.  The big question is whether it will emerge within the lifetime of the people already diagnosed with the dreaded disease.

The secret of sagacity is not limited to wisdom.  It is combined with the ability to turn wisdom into a practical application.   That is why we honor those who are involved in research.   Their lives are filled with years of isolation in laboratories and research studios away from the scrutiny of the public and sometimes exposed to the most dangerous of possibilities.  There are moments when frugal critics scream out about the expense of a seemingly fruitless government expense supporting research using fruit flies, mice, or moths.  But the wisdom and energy involved in such research is the medium through which sagacious researchers discover that missing element which will bring us to the threshold of a breakthrough in medical applications.

Sagacity is not limited to the production of gadgets.


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