Normally scientific endeavors take their names from ancient historical figures (i.e. the names of our planets). Very rarely do the names of instruments or tools take on the names of literary figures.
Leave it to Elon Musk to break that pattern. Musk is ready to start naming the tools used in his tunneling venture the Boring Company.
[Image Source: Telsarati on Twitter]
He announced via Twitter that he decided the “naming theme for tunnel boring machines will be poems & plays.” He expounded by saying “decided against plays & poems. Too obvious.”
With such an eccentric statement, it should come as no shock that he would pick an equally eccentric literature-based name for his first boring machine.
The first name to win out? Godot.
First machine is Godot. Still waiting … Don’t know why, when or where.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2017
That’s right, the man everyone waits for in Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play Waiting for Godot gets the honor. Anyone who loves absurdist theory/plays or has had to suffer through most upper-level English courses will know the names Beckett and Godot. The play contains one of literature’s finest anticlimaxes — Godot never appears despite the discussions driven by characters Vladimir and Estragon. The play has been contested and dissected by bibliophiles and existential theorists since the work debuted in 1949. The overwhelming emptiness of both the plot and the randomness of the minimal occurrences forces the audience to ask if anything will actually happen. That question is supposed to then be reflected onto the audience’s own lives as they ask themselves if anything is truly happening.
The reasoning behind Musk’s choice might be as mysterious as Beckett’s actual motivation behind the play. Go figure. Life imitating art imitating life.