The Phaeacian Ships
Homer composed the Odyssey near the end of the 8th century BC.
The Odyssey is supposed to have taken place in the Bronze Age,
approximately twelfth century BC.
In Homer’s epic story of Odysseus’s ten-year journey to return to his wife and son Odysseus encounters one challenge after another, including the wrath of the formidable God of the Oceans and Seas, Poseidon. The final stop on Odysseus’ voyage is the land of the Phaeacians, a seafaring people skilled at maritime-related tasks. The Phaeacian ships held steadily on their course, and even a falcon, swiftest of all birds, could not have kept pace with them as they cut their way through the water. The Phaeacians possessed remarkable ships. They were quite different from the penteconters, the ships used during the Trojan War, and they were steered by thought. According to Homer, the ‘ships’ were vehicles in black colour that could ‘fly’ over the sea. They didn’t have oars or a rudder, nor did they have captains to navigate them. The ships were driven by thought – they could connect to the human minds and execute their commands, and they could travel under any condition; they were unsinkable. The ‘ships’ had advanced navigation systems with knowledge of all cities and all countries of the ancient World and could navigate easily under any condition. This ‘technology’ was given to them by the god Poseidon, their protector. King Alcinous says that Phaeacians carried Rhadamanthus to Euboea, “which is the furthest of any place” and came back on the same day. These ships operate like “flying boats”, which are lifted above the sea surface, equipped with four hydrofoils which remain in the water, thus minimizing flow resistance and leads to high speeds.
If one read this story a few years ago one might have thought that ships which could be driven and steered by thought was so crazy an idea that it would be a waste of time contemplating such ideas.
Today we have reached the point where computers are successful in participating in the running of quite a few of the operations of a ship, both in port or at sea. Tomorrow ships sailing from A to B may be capable in doing so without the involvemnt of a human crew.
There comes a time – in everyone’s life – when we realise that we can do more than just earn a salary for carrying out a repetitive life in the office or out of it. The basis behind this concept is that we must create our own business, from scratch.
So, before we go further let us define what a business is, how it works, the beliefs and convictions we have to develop and how we can make a particular product or devise a service worth to us and to the world.
It is important that we do not try to invent a self-regulating product, so we don’t have to take another look at what we made or how things progress or how our process will do all the hard work without us having to supervise the details of our invention.
Before we go any further, we need to ask ourselves what is it that we generate. Is it something of value? Is it a product that is good for our lives, but also for the lives of others around us? Essentially, our existence commands that we offer value in exchange for the monetary price we or our employers place on it.
Everyone operates a production line in life and we can add value to someone’s life because when one uses or buys our product, whatever this may be, his life becomes more meaningful and when that happens the world looks upon us and nods as though it tells us ‘well done’.
We all possess something valuable that we can offer to someone else. Each of us, in our own unique way, can distribute our product in a way that makes all the difference. This is the importance of the frame of mind that under which we operate.
When you start your business you have to face the others who – at that point in time – are better than you are because they have been at it way before you. They have learned how to talk the talk and how to keep their minds focused on their thoughts and products as far as their business is concerned. This is where your attitude, mentality and conviction will become the basis of your own good thoughts that will move on to become something worthwhile, an adventure that is worth your waking up early and spending hours trying to make your business what the world needs and will be ready to pay to get it.
You need to develop a ‘people-pleasing frame of mind’ to keep your customers satisfied because when you do that, they like you and your product, to the extent that you are forced by your inner ambition to become better at what you are producing. This is the effort that makes people happy with you and with your efforts.
One of the important aspects of your quest must be to establish not only what you can do, but what you can do well, so that you can create an enterprise that suits you and can grow at the speed of your own thoughts and convictions.
I have reached the end of this road – for today – but before I go let me remind you that there are no super intelligent people out there. The road of life has hard working people on one side and lazy people on the other side.
Those who are prepared to work hard for success will find it. Those on the other side of the street who are lazy will find all sorts of excuses for not moving up the ladder of life.
Teach yourself to make your subconscious mind to talk to you often and you will be surprised at the wealth of knowledge and common sense that you can use for improving yourself, but also for passing on to your fellow man, so you can make this planet a better place to live on.
Go in peace and work hard, for life and thought prosperity to come to you.
So, a young hopeful spends four years of his late teens or early twenties reading books and drawing ships in the design-office getting himself/herself ready to pass the final year’s exams and enter the professional arena with a boxful of dreams of getting out there and obliterating the theories of yesterday and today with his revolutionary ideas.
There is nothing wrong for anyone to have great expectations and hopes of influencing the way things are done at current industry levels, provided this person is also quite prepared to land on the runway of the realities of life and accept the fact that modernising procedures and designs is perfectly acceptable so long as these ideas do not constitute impossible dreams that have zero practical application possibility.
On successful completion of one’s university studies he/she is presented with a diploma, or a certificate of competency which is confirmation that the young person has satisfactorily completed the course of their studies. In reality that impressive piece of paper really goes to show that one has learned how to read a book and understand what it aiming to teach or convey.
That is all and no more. A student must realise at an early stage of his life [beyond the days of high school] that college or university do a good job to transform someone into a professional who can look at technology in the eye without fear. That is all that takes place at that stage of our lives. So, blessed are those who will, at an early stage of their studies wake up to the fact that unless they find ways to take the day’s knowledge that their tutors presented them with and start discovering ways to turn it into what industry may accept as entry-level applied-practice they are really wasting valuable time.
A difficult situation indeed, you will admit. These difficulties may also be compounded by lack of the cash required to fuel a time of life when one accepts passive input without producing any output that can be translated into financial gain which can then be expended in supporting the day’s outgoings.
So, you can say that a student’s life isn’t ‘stress free’ and you will be adding yourself to the millions who have discovered this harsh reality already. So, one has to find ways to create time. This may sound as a very profound statement, however, effectively it means that one has to invest his time carefully so that he/she can balance with a positive the negative, that is the time spent studying and training a young brain that is eager to absorb anything you throw at it. Holidays are an ideal time to train so that one can convert the theoretical knowledge imparted by the days at university to useful output that helps towards the next year of studies whilst at the same time it contributes effort that helps to keep the world turning properly. Every human [very similarly to the way a machine operates] has an efficiency factor which, very crudely translates into the fraction ‘output over input’. Output is something you produce whilst input is what others give you so that you may continue producing a yield of some form.
Here we must bring into play a hidden component which is the most important dynamic in the life-of-everything, in the whole of space and its contents. You guessed it, I am talking about ‘TIME’. Time management is very important because whilst humans measure the smaller parts of their time in minutes and seconds [broadly speaking] time, in my consideration, is a continuum that we have not – as yet – been able to pause/temporarily arrest, or capture. So, because of our failure in this particular area all we can do is try to manage our time so that waste is as small as possible. Once we have managed to increase the good usage of our time, we have also invented a further means of increasing the productivity fraction we spoke of earlier.
Well, here I think, is a good point to return to those unsung heroes, Naval Architects. Student Naval Architects, or those who have recently qualified, must spend time on a ship in order to experience first-hand how she behaves in adverse weather conditions when she is loaded or when she is light. They must give themselves the opportunity to actively digest what it is that happens to her hull when she experiences the forces that nature imposes on her hull. Here is the critical point where theories learned in a classroom can be translated into a natural understanding that changes the student into a professional thinker. In fact, Naval Architects ought to be given the opportunity to spend time on different types of carriers so that they can start appreciating how different types of ships respond in their own individual modes when they face the same weather conditions. This is the structured avenue that when followed closely by the student will enable the genesis of the professional mind that can solve a problem in the making. Furthermore, this is the time that payback begins as the innocent starts to appreciate that he/she must give back to society what that society had been investing in them up to this time.
Please accept my best wishes for a healthy, and productive New Year.
On The Crest Of Thoughts, Deliberations And Reflections
A FEW BRIEF THOUGHTS ON THE ROLE OF THE NAVAL ARCHITECT TODAY
At the dawn of time the first naval architect the great great-grandfather of Argus, conceived the basics of a marine vehicle and built her based on common sense (there were no guidelines to show him how to do it) so that she would be capable of carrying him and a few others, as well as some cargo, over a short distance, from one sea-port to another. Moving overland had found a successor. The capability of marine transportation was born, through what one might term ‘natural progression’ and the possibility of increasing one’s wealth through bartering.
Today, a few thousand years after that first naval architect successfully launched his first boat, naval architecture has become an engineering discipline that involves mechanical, electrical and advanced electronics technologies which adapt themselves to the required design principles that involve hydrostatics and stability, including an in-depth understanding of the numerous materials (and their strength) that are used in shipbuilding today.
Modern ships are designed and are being built with the help of computers. Ships navigate the seas assisted by satellites. The various fuels used for propulsion have become friendlier to the environment and hopefully they will keep on moving towards a standard which proves to be completely benign to the health of the residents of this planet.
When we look to find the differences between what the ancient naval architect built and the super-modern cargo carriers naval architects design and build today, we shall find that the fundamental concepts of moving people and cargo from one port to another, over huge distances, do remain identical.
What has changed is the safety factors built in the methods of putting a ship’s hull and accommodation together, the speed with which complicated plans are transformed into reality and the efficiency with which cargoes can be handled, to name but a few of the factors involved.
Today a naval architect will be involved with the design of very large vessels such as supertankers, bulk-carriers and super-container carriers. All these vessels involve a very complicated set of machineries, which ought to be capable of efficiently transporting some of the world’s most valuable materials and products. Engineering of such a grand scale necessitates the work of teams of experts and specialists in their respective fields of expertise. The work of naval architects today demands a deep appreciation of the numerous engineering tributaries and must keep abreast all high technology developments as these come into being.
A naval architect must demonstrate leadership and managerial strengths which include the engagement of other scientists, legal and business advisors, financial experts , as well as the capability of negotiating – with total success – the constraints which may conflict with each other in order to end up with a creation which is safe, economically viable, kind to the environment and fit for the purpose intended.
All the foregoing applies to those involved with naval architecture irrespective as to whether they are employed by a shipyard, shipowners, classification societies, regulatory authorities, ship-designers, maritime consultants, manufacturers of equipment that is used in marine applications and governments.
Throughout this text where the feminine gender has been used, the masculine will also apply and vice versa.