Expulsion of the Delusional World

G. L. Filkovsky, TRIZ Master,
New York, USA
e-mail:Gfilkovsky@us.nomura.com

G.Altshuller and R.Shapiro published the article, "Expulsion of the Six-winged Seraphim", in 1959, which often considered one of TRIZ founding "manifestos". This article contains quite a list of questionable "facts" and "conclusions". Here, I will test a mental experiment, which the authors used to prove that there are certain laws in the technical evolution itself:

"Let's assume for a moment that inventions really occur at random. Assume that a problem chosen by an inventor depends exclusively on this inventor's caprice, and that its solution depends exclusively on luck. If this were the case, we'd have to live in quite a strange world. In this world, the most advanced technology would coexist with the most primitive one, because inventors arbitrarily worked on some machines and had forgotten about others. Jet airplanes would peacefully coexist with... candles, because the inventor of electric light was not yet inspired... Department stores would sell electrical refrigerators, and... water-based timepieces, because inventors didn't care to change them into mechanical ones... Advertisers would promote TV sets, and... wooden sticks for making fire by friction, instead of matches, about which inventors didn't want to think, for no reason. The world, however, is different."

Is it really? Candles still are in use, and are a good alternative when delivery of electricity is problematic. Jets peacefully coexist with primitive hammers, which inventors didn't care to change into... we don't know into what, because it was not invented. Refrigerators are sold with manuals, which are printed on primitive paper, and written using the primitive alphabetical method of recording, because inventors were not inspired to invent something new. TVs are advertised along with pills, which are a very primitive method to deliver medicine.

There is no way to know what could've been, or should've been, but haven't been invented. If we still used the water-based rather than the mechanical timepieces, the authors of "Expulsion" simply would see nothing to ridicule about it and wouldn't bring it as an example of the strange world.

There are thousands of inventions, which have been invented much later than they could've been. There are thousands of inventions, which were missing for centuries until discovered and imported from other cultures. Before they were invented and implemented, these inventions - or rather their lacking - were examples of the strange world ridiculed by Altshuller and Shapiro, but nobody knew.

The authors conclude their mental experiment with:

"The world, however, is different. This fact immediately, with full obviousness, indicates that inventions do not occur randomly; that countless inventions in various branches of technology somehow relate to each other; that there are certain laws in the technical evolution itself."

Well, the real world is not different. This fact immediately, with full obviousness, indicates that the existence of laws in the technical evolution itself, is doubtful.