Latent is the opposite of patent. One means hiding and the other means obvious. Truisms apart. The word patent has also developed its own meaning in the semantic field of technological inventions. Patent Office, what a reputable institution. Tesla risked the benefits of many of his inventions just because he did not visit it more frequently – among others, the radio –. It was during the most boring hours working in a Patent Office when Einstein started to ask himself questions like “How would reality look, if I were faster than speed of light?”. Und it was there, even if even he deserved his dismissal – if he got caught –, where he started to look for answers to it with the lucid simplicity and open-minded spirit that we usually only find in children, changing forever the history of Physics and our relation with reality. Maybe reckless questioning is at the end not so bad, at least, not so bad as not questioning at all, and of course not so bad as wriggling about with deliberately recklesser answers, censuring with idioticness the vital game of questioning things. Spacetime twist, dents, celerates and breaks. Meanings do too…
If latent is the opposite of patent and it is also something else in the field of new inventions, I feel tempted to think about what latent could be or suggest if we simply pushed it through the borders into the semanticfield of inventions… where until today, her honorable, pampered and sometimes ugly sister, patent, plays alone.
A Latent Office? Yes, wouldn’t it be nice to create an organization, an office, in which instead of patenting inventions, we could latent them, so that people can find not only the patent of each invention but also the latent energy that hides in the experience of inventing?
Then it will be your Latent Office, Su Oficina de Latentes, Ihr Latentamt.
The German exception or the elegant right not to be elegant at all. In German, we use don’t use the adjective patent for what is obvious and not hiding, but for what is practical, useful and elegant. So, in German, latent is not the opposite of patent. Anyway, as far as Latent Office designates somehow the opposite of Patent Office, we can play further the semantic game and see what are facing. If we were inventors, it would be good to know, at least, what a Latent Office could do for us. From the German speaker perspective, a Patent Office is a place where all kinds of practical, most useful and elegant inventions can be registered… also where many of Tesla’s problems started and where Einstein experienced such a deep boredom, that he had to revolutionise the Physics to endure it with dignity. What is a Latent Office, from the perspective of a german speaker, ein Latentamt? Maybe what it suggests is precisely that: the idea of an office where the less practical and less elegant creations can be registered: a perfect junk drawer, cajón de sastre, Sammelsurium… miscellaneous where creativity is not only allowed, but also supposed to break the intolerant rules of usability and the prejudices of elegance.
Ihr Latentamt, your Latent Office. Everyday. All day. Naked creativity in the Net.
Image: Tesla in his laboratory. One of 68 Colorado Springs images created by of Century Magazine photographer Dickenson Alley (Public domain. Wikipedia).