What is an idea? How do you experience having one?

(Justin Brown) #1

First, some thoughts addressing the following question:

What is an idea?

Personally, I understand ideas to be “thoughts or suggestions which guide human action.”

What’s interesting to me is that the ideas which guide human action aren’t often created by the person who is acting. Rather, we act based on the ideas created by others and often disseminated by propaganda systems.

I’m not placing judgement on the experience of acting based on someone else’s ideas. I think this is completely natural. We are a social species. My belief system is made up of so many different ideas.

But I also think the experience of “having an idea” is core to being human. Having an idea experiencing some kind of surge of inspiration where a “thought or suggestion” is expressed in a unique way. It may not be unique to the species - people can experience new ideas simultaneously. But the experience of having an idea means this expression is unique to the individual.

Therefore my next question for this discussion:

How do you experience having an idea?

I’m interested in people sharing their thoughts on the conditions that are required in their life to experience “having an idea”, or the mindset that needs to be cultivated to “have one”.

The stuff ideas are made of...
(Taylor Brearley) #2

I have no idea where some of them come from. Like, when I was in my early 20’s, right before I got off the street, it was in the form of song and art. I started a thumb nail sketch for a self portrait that took me 7 years off and on, to complete. I gave it to my four year old when she found it torn and wrinkled on my bedroom floor somewhere 3 years ago. It was never fully finished and that goes for a lot of my work.

The man that you see below is apparently half tree. If you dig a little, select the image and zoom in, you’ll see how much care was placed in his appearance.

So, again, I know not from whence they come but they make perfect sense to me when I see them. Also, I like to sit and draw dots one by one, patiently, for extended periods of time.

Drawing dots and doing psychic readings are the only two things that have never grown old. I accept the gifts given and though I question everything in life, I am liberated by the act of acceptance that I needn’t know “everything.” That would make me perfect and therefore inhuman.

(Helen Emmett) #3

I think of an idea as “A combination of thoughts which spark inspiration, intrigue and/or action”.

I’ve found that in order for me to have an idea, I need the following conditions:

  1. To be surrounded by as much information as possible. The more people I talk to, the more experiences I have, the more visual stmulation I have, the more I read - the more thoughts I have. Resulting in ideas.

  2. Changing up my routine. Doing things differently seems to help me to see things in a new light.

  3. Writing in my journal, drawing in my sketch book - just doing things without any agenda or end goal helps to organise wayward thoughts, and form ideas.

  4. Rest, relaxation and time to myself (this is most likely because I’m very introverted).

What’s interesting to me is that the ideas which guide human action aren’t often created by the person who is acting. Rather, we act based on the ideas created by others and often disseminated by propaganda systems.

I find this interesting as well. Ideas don’t need to be our own in order to spark a reaction. That is why I believe it is so important to do my own research, and not just believe everything I read or am told.

(ACD) #4

I think what makes an idea an idea is defined in counterpoint to action. Many, if not most, ideas are not translated into action, thankfully. Ideation gives us (humans only?) the opportunity to experiment without the consequences of action. Sharing an idea is itself action, as is carrying out the idea, though sharing the idea may be an opportunity to further shape the idea before further acting upon it even if the sharing may carry its own consequences. To be or not to be?

“It is the best of times for Thought Leaders. It is the worst of times for Public Intellectuals. It is the most confusing of times for those of us in the academy… Both Public Intellectuals and Thought Leaders engage in acts of intellectual creation, but their style and purpose are different. To adopt the language of Isaiah Berlin, Public Intellectuals are foxes who know many things, while Thought Leaders are hedgehogs who know one big thing. The former are skeptics, the latter are true believers. A Public Intellectual will tell you everything that is wrong with everyone else’s ideas. A Thought Leader will tell you everything that is right about his or her own idea.”


(Bob Copeland) #5

An idea is an inspiration or hint that comes spontaneously out of the ether if we can subconsciously connect to the unseen world commonly referred to as God.

(Bill Ames) #6

This is easy. When I am awake and am listening or reading my mind is full of new thoughts and images. If I am required to respond I will take some of those thoughts and use them. Like now. When I sleep I dream, every night, most are movie like, I suppose these are “ideas”. When I write my stories I just record what my characters say and do, ideas I suppose. I find it difficult at times to share ideas with some people, they are so set in their beliefs, they just are not open to new ideas that do not support their world view. The answer to the question, an idea is a thought. I am working on an explanation of consciousness so I can tell everyone where these thoughts originated. Not there yet.

(Justin Brown) #7

5 posts were split to a new topic: A suggestion to present your ideas to others in ways they are able to understand

(Mark's Myth) #16

Just the idea of this question gets me wandering and wondering…
Are we individuals sprouting ideas or offshoots of the clonal colony of noos?

Here is how I consider ideas…

(denise wheeler) #17

Great question! Anything that makes me think generally sparks an idea for me, like a better way to get someone to stop blabbering or how to organize that mountain of folders on my desktop and on and on. It generally begins with a problem for me or just seeing something that doesn’t work or I think could be done better. So pretty much anything that’s questionable sparks an idea.