If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?
The Art and Science of Deduction
I would love to be the master in the art and science of deduction. I receive a thrill when working with puzzles. From going over clues and coming up with possible solutions until I’ve reached the correct one - that is fun for me.
For several years now, I’ve enjoyed the mysteries of Preston and Child Pendergast novels, and TV shows such as House and Sherlock. I have a bad habit, one I find difficult to break. I tend to run through the possible plots of movie, shows and books, in order to come up with the most likely ending. I find some satisfaction when my conclusion is confirm as correct by the end.
Such was the case in the movie The Grey. I’ve been on a Liam Neeson kick….which is easy, since he’s filmed and acted in over a thousand movies in the past two years. Alright, I exaggerated, but still, he has done a lot. In The Grey, John Ottway works in Alaska for an oil drilling company. He’s job is to snipe and kill any wolves that might attempt an attack on the drilling team. Early on, we find the character alone at night, with the barrel of the gun in his mouth as he is contemplating suicide. A flashback to his wife gives us a clue that she has left him. The question arises whether she left the relationship or whether she died. My guess was that she had a terminal illness, such as cancer, and died, leaving him to grieve alone. Depression being the horrible weight that it can be, he obviously could take no more and wanted to end it.
But it was not meant to be as Ottway was interrupted. Later, he finds himself one of several survivors of a plane crash, away from civilization and out in the freezing cold (subzero temps). While the wolves following the group, picking them off one by one, I again mull over what clues have been given us and come up with a possible ending for the movie. I predicted that Neeson, having main character advantage, would be the last to survive of those in the group, only to end up facing off with the alpha male wolf and fully prepared to fight to his death. End scene.
Still, how I can come up with these conclusions is not nearly as impressive as what Sherlock Holmes could do, if he were real. Having the intelligence to deduce a person’s country of birth (dialect), what their habits are (smooker, drinker, etc), if they are telling the truth or lying, and so on…..that is what I would consider impressive and would love to be able to master. Holmes, with all his flaws as a character, to me is my intellectual hero, and deduction is what I’d love to master.
For more information on BBC’s Sherlock, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b018ttws