In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, he articulates the most familiar form of the Greek myth of Daedalus, a skillful craftsman. The myth says that he was imprisoned by the king, along with his son, Icarus. They couldn’t escape the prison through sea or land due to the strict security, so Daedalus using his skills fabricated wings for himself and his son, Icarus. When both prepared to escape from the prison, father warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, as the sea foam would soak the feathers. But Icarus didn't listen to his father as he went upwards and the wax holding the feathers melted, he fell and drowned into the sea.
I narrate a part of this myth in the form of a Doha (Urdu Couplet)
ڈیڈولس بولے اکرس رکھیو، درمیانی اڑان
نیچے نمی اوپر گرمی، پر گئے سو گئی جان
'Daedalus bolay Icarus rakhyo, darmiyaani urraan
Nechey nami ooper garmi, par gaye so gayi jaan'
'Daedalus warns Icarus to keep his flight in the middle
Down, is moisture and up is the heat, if the wings go so shall his life'
This term was coined by Danny Miller in his book, The Icarus Paradox. The paradox is exemplified through this narrative, where the very wings of Icarus which helped him in escaping were ultimately the reason that drowned him into the sea. So if we assimilate, a few points spring out of this narrative. Primarily,“learning” is the word that we can focus on. There are many different schools of thought who explain the concept of learning, but we may use it as a generic term. We, in order to survive and prosper, have this special gift of learning, especially when we look at the evolutionary process of human beings. Problems occur, when at a certain point of time in our life, we put a halt to our learning process and stop paying attention to it. We can learn through the lesson of others, or in a much harder fashion, by going through the process ourselves, in which we might also end up becoming an example for others. Icarus made the same mistake; he didn’t learn from his father’s advice and rather ended up becoming an example for others.
In the 21st century, simple learning may help you survive on the verge, but in order to succeed a much more complex structure of learning is required which can be explained by the beautiful words of Alvin Toffler:
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
So it is time that we catch on to this complex structure of learning, and adopt a proactive approach, rather than a reactive one. Planning ahead of time is an essential element of success, and we must consider that the very reason of success may lead us to downfall if we do not foresee the upcoming change, and the need to unlearn the old learned, and relearn the new desideratum.
If we commit to ourselves, and instill this urge, we can still catch up with the pace of the global age. Else we can sit and fear the unknown in the absence of a learning mind, which can help us in predicting and reducing the undesirable out-turns of the unknown.