Where Do Truly Original Ideas Come From?
Every so often, an individual comes forward with a completely original idea that changes how we view the world, starting as if from nowhere, without relying on the gains of the past.
Human progress relies on a pan-generational dissemination of knowledge. Information discovered by one group of people is passed on to the next, who contribute to and modify that knowledge. Isaac Newton expressed gratitude to those who came before him, saying that even he "stood on the shoulders of giants." But every so often, an individual comes forward with a completely original idea that changes how we view the world, starting as if from nowhere, without relying on the gains of the past.
Having set down the precepts for logical argumentation and moral behavior, Aristotle is perhaps the example most taken for granted. The creation of the computer, which has revolutionized modern life, relied on a break with Aristotle's logic. A contradiction in set theory was discovered by Claude Shannon which stated that information is separate from content. More recently still, the iconoclastic physicist Richard Feynman envisioned nanotechnology, seemingly from his own imagination. Today, it is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Aristotle, Shannon, and Feynman were all brilliant polymaths capable of synthesizing information from across various fields. To arrive at novel ideas about our current fields, we must venture outside them. This cross-pollination of information is what can ignite the strongest creative spark within us.
The actor Rainn Wilson recommends taking some drastic action to change your surroundings if you're looking for creative inspiration:
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A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.
- Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
- When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
- Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.
- A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
- Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
- The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
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