Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)
THE BLESSING OF THE UNICORN
…I bring you great hope about the reality of the unicorn…
The elusive unicorn is rarely seen even though it’s been universally searched for through many a millenium.
What about the unicorn? In a feature article I wrote in February 1993, Myth or reality, unicorns are fascinating:
Universal knowledge exists of an amazing beast, whose beauty is beyond comprehension and whose strength is so great that it is rarely captured.
Renowned men from the Greek physician Clesias to modern day Barnum and Baily have debated this beast’s existence.
The creature’s existence has been affirmed by many authors, dates, and countries, but others insist it is a myth.
The question remains unanswered: Is the common unicorn a myth or a reality?*
Twenty-three years later I can bring you great hope about the reality of the unicorn.
The editors of Fortune magazine boldly chose to consider, and answer, the unicorn question by asking how we are now living in the age of unicorns in their February 1, 2015, issue.
In fact, what drew me to the magazine was the beautiful cover photo of a hoodie-wearing unicorn. After admiring the photo I opened the magazine to its feature article, A blessing of unicorns, which provides evidence confirming the existence of unicorns (if you are lucky, you might even be able to view them today).
First, let me explain that a group of unicorns is called a blessing, perhaps because the unicorn is a symbol of pure innocence and magic. To see one is supposed to bring good luck and fortune; to see a herd of unicorns is phenomenally wonderful, hence blessing.
Back to the Fortune magazine article, which explained why the magazine featured a unicorn on its cover.
On the wall of the Midtown Manhattan Fortune magazine office is a prototype magazine cover, dated September 1929, which features a leaping white stag. The stag represents ‘as beautiful a magazine as exists in the United States.’
The prototype was never used.
Fast forward to 2014. The upcoming February 2015 issue celebrated the 85th anniversary of the magazine. Its editors discussed using the original unused drawing on the cover. The issue itself was to be devoted to unicorns.
The prototype white stag was again considered for the magazine cover. In a nod to history and with a few adjustments, the white stag became the hoodie-wearing unicorn featured on the 2015 Fortune cover.
It was appropriate that the white stag be re-imaged as a unicorn—they occupy a similar mythological place, both being elusive symbols of purity.
I hope you’re wondering what ethereal unicorns have to do with the usual subjects of Fortune. I know I was stymied by the magazine’s use of mythological beasts, considering the magazine many touches above writing about mythological beasts.
So why an article on The blessing of unicorns?
As a writographer, I know language evolves. With the electronic age it’s doing so Click speed…like vocabulary swirling wildly through a tsunami overpowering a dictionary.
The article taught me a new meaning of ‘unicorn:’ the Silicon Valley term for startup companies which have achieved billion-dollar valuations.
I also learned the unicorn metaphor is imperfect because such companies are ‘frightfully common, totaling more than 80…’ —and ‘it’s also hard to think of’ their CEOs as ‘elusive symbols of purity.’
According to the article the ‘unicorns’ deserve ‘serious attention, as they are not only fattening the wallets of venture investors, but also rapidly changing the way we live and the way we do business. Many of the current crop are selling to companies, not consumers…for instance, (they) are helping large enterprises share, store, and analyze massive amounts of data, pointing the way to a new design for the modern corporation…’
How are you and I affected by today’s version of unicorns?
We certainly won’t grab a weapon or a camera while entering the mythological wilderness to capture them. However, they symbolize that we are (have been) on the edge of a new age, the information age, which certainly affects each and every one of us. Those who lack insight into the workings of this new society must find other ways to be absorbed in the community or be left behind.
My husband and I recently attended an event featuring surgical ‘robots.’ We tried manipulating items with the ‘robot.’ This is discomforting when we think about robots doing surgery on us, even though statistics prove it’s highly effective and a better surgical method. We are on the edge. Would we consider letting a ‘robot’ operate on our bodies?
It’s a new world for our children and grandchildren, who are tied into products from Silicon Valley in ways we never will be.
We must, as much as possible, not ignore unicorns, but we must become involved as much as possible on the constantly changing growing curves. Then, hopefully, unicorns will be less threatening and more enriching in our lives.