Elon Musk Essay Example

Essay on Is Elon Musk a modern American Hero?

In every hero's journey, their ordinary selves become extraordinary after suffering from countless defeats and hardship through their expedition. In the epic poem, The Odyssey, Homer describes a mediocre man and his crew who goes through a 10-year prolonged trip along with many disadvantages. During the Trojan War, a warrior, Odysseus, also known as the king of Ithaca, was called upon to fight which lasted 10 brutal years. To win the war, Odysseus needed a perfect scheme, it was to construct a wooden trojan horse that occupied by soldiers as an offering to the other side. During that night, Odysseus and his soldiers came out of the wooden horse and attacked the city while everyone was asleep, which enraged the gods. While Odysseus is trying to reach home, he encounters a human-eating Cyclopes, traveling to the Land of the Dead, finding out his mother died, and finally returning home to Ithaca but later discovered the suitors are attempting to overthrow his kingdom. Odysseus, when compared to Elon Musk, proves to be a hero through his cleverness, conflict with grief, and lessons he learned when dealing with difficulties, one must not give up and try again.

Odysseus' cleverness demonstrate that he is a hero when compared to Elon Musk. In the beginning of the story, Polyphemus imprisoned Odysseus and his men, wanting to escape the cave, Odysseus drew his "sharp sword from [his] hip/" desiring "to stab him/" then "sudden fear [linger him]: if [he] killed him/…[they] could never move his ponderous doorway slab aside"(Homer 244-251). Odysseus' quick-witted reveals that he is a hero since he put himself before others, knowing that if he slaughters the Cyclops, both he and his men would not be able to push open the slab door. This also shows that Odysseus hesitated to kill the Cyclops because he realized there will be consequences due to his imperfect tactic. Odysseus' character traits prove he is a wise hero when compared to Elon Musk, who also proves that he is a wise hero when Elon Musk "took" a "huge risk" when the company could become bankrupt, had a strategy that persuaded his investors to "[hand] over $20 million" dollars since the investor "are not structured to do debt deals" (Lim). Elon Musk’s intelligent indicate that he is a hero since he found a technique to protect the company as well when Odysseus tries to save his men from the Cyclops. This is evidence that when Elon Musk and Odysseus are near difficultly, they both always find a process to resolve it. Odysseus, just as Elon Musk, is a hero due to their cleverness.

Odysseus’ and Elon Musk’s conflict with grief demonstrates they are both heroic. In the middle of the story, Odysseus arrives at the Land of the Dead, where he met “the soul of Anticlea, dead/ [his] mother, daughter of Autolycus/ but [he] held her off” on “pang of tears” and proceed to find Tiresias (Homer 614-18). Odysseus’ conflict with grief reveals that is a hero due to the fact he was doleful for his mother’s death, however he then controlled his feelings and moved on. This shows that every hero can grow stronger after losing a loved one because they know not to make the same mistakes again. Elon Musk’s conflict with grief proves he is a true hero when his first “son died from sudden infant death syndrome 10 weeks later” after the baby was born (Heisler). This indicates that he is a hero because when a loved one is lost, they may need to remember them as well as moving on in life. This is evidence that true heroes, similar to Odysseus and Elon Musk, has fallen with sorrow and misery in the hero's journey as they endeavor to overcome the loss one. Odysseus and Elon Musk is both a bold hero due to their conflict with grievances.

Some people may perceive Odysseus is not a hero since a Cyclops imprisoned him and his crewmen which lead to a few deaths; however, Odysseus showed that when one is dealing with difficulty, they must overcome it and persevere. After heading out of the Land of the Dead, Odysseus and his men go through a mysterious cave, finding out it where sea monster lives, "then Scylla made her strike/ whisking six of [his] best men from the ship/" then "she ate them" as Odysseus "rowed on" leaving "the rocks [cave] behind" barely alive (Homer 810-14, 821-27). This tells us that Odysseus survived, yet some of his men died in the process while Odysseus was coming up with a plan to save his men. This shows that Odysseus did not give up as well as getting eaten by the sea monsters and was trying to find a way out of the situation by rowing away. While Elon Musk also proves that he does not give up when “SpaceX and Tesla are both running out of cash” he thought of a plan to save bankruptcy was to “win NASA contrast for 12 flights for $1.6 billion” for his rockets to launch in space (Dodds). This demonstrates Elon Musk is trying to succeed to launch the rockets into space, moreover he did not have the cash to do it, instead he came up with a plan to save the bankruptcy. This indicates that Odysseus and Elon Musk are true heroes because Musk thought of a plan to save the company while Odysseus finds a way to not get eaten. While Odysseus and Elon Musk faces difficulty, they do not give up and tries to resolve it.

Odysseus, just as Elon Musk, who both proves to be a true hero by their cleverness, conflict with grief, and a lesson learned when one fails, one must not give up and try again. Odysseus used his cleverness by escaping the Cyclops while Elon Musk saved his company. Also, Odysseus' and Elon Musk's conflict with grief both shows that they must control their emotions and stay strong. Lastly, Odysseus and Elon Musk both learned that they must overcome their difficulties and must deal with anything that comes in their way. In the end, every ordinary people can come across the hero's journey when they achieve something greater. The hero's journey is an archetype due to its events that occurs for each individual. As heroes come across different conflicts, yet they still end the same.

Elon Musk said most academic papers are useless. Was he right?

Let's look at the phrase again. Academic papers are useless. For whom? From the context of his discussion and knowing his background, the answer is for business.

What does that mean? Business does not need academic papers. Business needs to build things, to get something done. How do you get something done? You know something about the world, you believe it is true and based on that knowledge and belief, you start doing something. So, in order to make things happpen, we, even the most gifted and insightful among us, need knowledge. So, how does that knowledge develop? And how does it reach the businesses. Or stated differently, how does knowledge become technology or feed technological progress?

There are 4 processes to technological advances in an economy: discovery, invention, innovation, and diffusion. Discovery is the clarification and understanding of the fundamental processes of nature through observation, reasoning, and experimentation. The process is this: first, we observe a phenomenon, then we form a hypothesis to explain what we have observed, then we design an experiment to test our hypothesis. The result of the experiment is the confirmation of the hypothesis or its falsification. When the hypothesis is falsified, we know something does not work and we know it for sure. We set forth a section hypothesis and test it in a way similar to the process above. When the hypothesis is confired with a significant degree of confidence, then we call it theory.

Discoveries advance our state of knowledge but most businesses do not invest in them because discoveries are an unpredictable process and what they elucidate, is the beyond the scope of any business. This is why, a large part of science is financed by the government.

What business do is to spend money on research and development (R&D) which applies discoveries to produce new products or improve methods of doing business. This investment is justified since the results are more predictable and more pertinent. From time to time R&D efforts result in innovation, applying discoveries to produce a useful product or process for a specific application and to bring the product to market economically.

This is what businesses do.

There is also a subsequent phase which is diffusion of knowledge. This is the spread of innovation to other firms so that they can remain competitive. This diffusion occurs by emulating or copying others' products or processes.

So, what Elon Musk says about academic papers, "How many PHD papers were actually used?", is right. Very few and that is how the whole process from discovery to technology works. With each step from discovery to innovation, the funnel is getting narrower and narrower and less and less of the knowledge has a chance of reaching businesses, markets and eventually us, consumers. But the very existence of the funnel depends on having one side of it, knowledge accumulation, wide enough to have enough of it reach us and power the technology advances we witness today.

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