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:
Read more at Creativity Post
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.