Stephen Hawking recently said spoke about the importance of money and fallout of Brexit on important projects. He said important projects need to be protected as their value goes beyond one generation. He called those important projects as Cathedral Projects – working on food shortage, overpopulation effects, acidulation of oceans etc.
I liked the term Cathedral Project – It signifies a project that is grand, audacious, visionary and noble. As Hawking himself said: “People are starting to question the value of pure wealth. Is knowledge or experience more important than money? Can possessions stand in the way of fulfilment? Can we truly own anything, or are we just transient custodians? These questions are leading to a shift in behaviour which, in turn, is inspiring some groundbreaking new enterprises and ideas. These are termed “cathedral projects”, the modern equivalent of the grand church buildings, constructed as part of humanity’s attempt to bridge heaven and Earth. These ideas are started by one generation with the hope a future generation will take up these challenges.” (Source: The Guardian)
While Hawking was right that Cathedral Projects need big money, they equally need the best minds and smart talent. Like our money is spent on latest gadgets, is our talent also being spent on less important things?
Are our best engineers optimising the social media feed or developing weather forecast to save fishermen? Are our best scientists helping search engine’s mobile reach or working on affordable drinking water solutions for millions. Are our best marketers selling Cola waters or finding creative ways to encourage education and gender sensitivity? Are our best directors churning million dollar box office blockbusters or spreading the message of tolerance and peace in wholesome entertainment?
The usual quantity vs quality questions comes here. Earlier masters and experts would spend lifetimes on a few projects. They would dwell on it day-in and day-out. They would research and travel and read till they had their desired vision. Often, they would re-start the work. How many times does this happen? We always have deadlines. We always want to complete more project in short times. We have ghost-writers and ghost-architects behind big names. How many new Gaudi, Stephen Hawking, Newton and Picasso are being created?
Are we content with the monthly salary and comfort of our material choices? Are we thinking of living upto to our potential? Are we all living the world better off? Are we all thinking beyond the obvious? What are our cathedral projects?