The Philosophy of Free Range Ideas
Jonathon Keats is a San Francisco-based experimental philosopher who has, over the years, sold real estate in the extra dimensions of space-time proposed by string theory (he sold a hundred and seventy-two extra-dimensional lots in the Bay Area in a single day); made an attempt to genetically engineer God (God turns out to be related to the cyanobacterium); and copyrighted his own mind (in order to get a seventy-year post-life extension.
Keats's bold experiments raise serious questions and put into practice his conviction that the world needs more "curious amateurs," willing to explore publicly whatever intrigues them, in defiance of a culture that increasingly forecloses on wonder and siloes knowledge into narrowly defined areas of expertise.
I don’t know that I have any ideas. I have notions maybe. I have curiosity. I have a deep appreciation for serendipity. I have a way of living my life, listening in on things, reading eclectically and as a dilettante irresponsibly and piecing it all together in ways that are really not meant necessarily to go together.
So for me not to be open-source in terms of what happens, in terms of what I do to the extent that I do anything would be first of all, disingenuous and secondly, I think would cut short the process that I so value, which is a process of appropriation and re-appropriation, a process that is Talmudic in a sense, that is one in which the only use of an answer or a response is that it provokes bigger and better questions.
And I can’t be the only one who does that. I need to be a bit player in that process. And intellectual property law fights against me every step of the way because the assumption is that your property is yours, mine is mine. And somehow we each can develop whatever it is that we want, perhaps collaboratively, but in incorporated terms we have contracts that basically limit how far the ideas can go.
Essentially what I would like is to have free range ideas, ideas that I was not ever obligated to take on and never in any way paid my dues for, but also that no one else should feel obligated to me in any way to take on and to do with as they please.
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