Chapter 2.1 Original Thought

Original Thought

As I have aged in life I have come to the amazing revelation that I have spent most of my life talking to myself …and (quite often it seems) I MUST NOT BE LISTENING!

Now one must understand that I consider myself a decent listener (although my wife may not agree.  I swear I can’t hear the things that she thinks.)  So why is it that I, too often, do not listen to myself?

We all spend a good part of our day considering options … many may call this thinking because we do not use our voices … but I contend that we are actually in a conversation with ourselves, our someone-else.  We are trying to improve our actions, our thoughts, our beliefs.  We speak to ourselves with emotion, scolding and praising, chuckling and concern, hope and despair, confidence and doubt. Yet I am not so sure that my thoughts have not already been thought before.  In fact I am certain that they probably have.

“All of my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American Writer

Over all of the world, millions of people are talking to themselves.  So what are the odds that I would be unique in developing some precious pearl?  Who is to say that somewhere in China or Peru or Scotland or Saudi Arabia, another being hasn’t come to this same realization?  In fact I kind of hope they have.

“Adam was the only man who, when saying a good thing,
knew that nobody had said it before him.”
Mark Twain  (1835-1910), American Humorist/Writer

Is there really any original thought?  The answer lies in that gray area of paradoxes, ironies, dichotomies, aphorisms, contradictions, and oxymorons. Many things in life seem to be so different, 180 degrees apart, yet they can be so similar.

Hence, the answer to the question “Is there really any original thought” is of course, never and always.  The truly great geniuses of the world in science and the arts and politics and the religions, did not develop their remarkable conclusions in a vacuum.  They made conclusions from data that was all around them.

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
Isaac Newton (1642-1727), English Mathematician and Physicist

Other people had developed the building blocks in the mystery, and the geniuses simply fit the pieces of the puzzle together to write the ending of the story.  Probably someone else in this vast world could have come to the same conclusion…in time.

“Each of us is a God, Buddha had said.  Each of us knows all.  We need only open our minds to hear our own wisdom.”
The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown

First of all, I am not a student of Buddhism, so hold on the Slam-Klunk. The geniuses of original thought have simply tapped the collective consciousness of the world, and articulated their conclusions based on certain assumptions and a particular line of thinking.  All knowledge is available.

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German Theoretical Physicist

Yet, a personal thought to a particular individual is original.  (Ah Ha!)  Just as this writing of mine is original, even though I use quotes and ideas I have learned from other people.  And all thoughts that one has are original to oneself.  (As you approach the golden years, you can have the same “original” thought more than once and still be amazed by your brilliance.)

“Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?”
Bernice Fitz-Gibbon (1895-1982), Macy’s Director of Advertising

Our being is centered around self.  You are the only person who has experienced your life … every second.  And you are the only one who has developed your personal thought process.  In our lifetimes, we have experienced certain stimuli, which we filter and analyze through our own unique process, to develop our personal thoughts and theories.  So if we arrive at a conclusion, it is original in itself to us, even if someone else has already reached the same conclusion.

The key is to open up our receptors to tap into this all-knowing consciousness.  In work sessions in my earlier life, we would often gather a group of people together to “blue-sky” some ideas.  This means that it’s okay to look out the window and muse …about work problems of course.  Since the blue sky is limitless, your mind should be allowed to wander in areas non-traditional.

“Three humble shoemakers brainstorming will make a great statesman.”
Chinese Proverb

When a group of people get together to blue-sky, the session is called “brainstorming”, a term I never dissected before.  It’s kind of interesting that blue-sky is the opposite of storm, but the term is used for the same purpose.  When I think of storming, I think of thunder and lightning, some high energy bolts, things turned on end.

Brainstorming is not intended to be a cool little, giggly thing.  It is intended to rip out new ideas, new approaches, that are hidden within the minds of some or all.  I have called the result that we look for as lateral thinking …going sideways instead of in a straight line, the over-worn “thinking out of the box.”  It is finding another thought process.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German Theoretical Physicist

The process often follows a pattern where someone will throw out a thought that will trigger some other thought in someone else that triggers somebody else’s idea and, wah-la, the beginning of a new solution.  Moments of collective-consciousness often seem to carry more potential, more powerful alternatives.

“We are all either fools or undiscovered geniuses.”
Bonnie Lin, Taiwanese Violinist

Original genius thought probably comes from a little blue-skying that leads toward a personal brainstorming session, based on a whole bunch of acquired related data information, which in turn, creates a unique idea or theory.  To be a genius, it would help if one has a bunch of divergent personal alter-egos to participate in a brainstorming, contemplative session.

My intent is to identify ideas that I have gathered from some particular reading, activity, or experience.  But some of these thoughts have been milling around in my mind for such a long time that I can’t recall if they are my particular pearl or if I just liked what I read or heard so much that I have incorporated these ideas into my library of beliefs.  But I am not alone:

“The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.”
Voltaire (1694-1778), French Writer/Philosopher

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German Theoretical Physicist

Granted these quotes are not exact but these two famous people did come up with a similar punch line.  Do you suppose Einstein thought this up originally?  Or perhaps at sometime he had read Voltaire and filed it in the back of his head?  In my belief, a thought once published or spoken is simply the collective consciousness exposed.  Call this my disclaimer if I have used someone else’s ideas without adequate reference.  This is not a research paper, but a collection of myndful musings.

“Never let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you.”
Mardy Grothe’s Book or Joey Adams- Comedian

“To let a fool kiss you is stupid, to let a kiss fool you is worse.”
E.Y. Harburg- Songwriter or Ambrose Redmoon-Writer


3 Responses to “Chapter 2.1 Original Thought”

  1. Znic Says:

    Another form of brainstorming is free writing. Writing down all or as many of your thoughts without qualification. I get many “new” ideas through this approach. Although, as you suggest, they may not be new ideas, they are for me and maybe a rerun or two, but it is the timing of the idea and it’s application to my thought process at the time that is important.
    And I agree, we speak to ourselves all the time through the way we think.
    Great stuff and I enjoy reading it.

  2. Pismo Painter Says:

    Mind Mapping works for me. You place a word, thought or picture in the middle of a blank page. Then with radials of lines begin adding words as they come to mind. After several minutes or hours, a sense of form occurs and a solution to a challenge often appears.

  3. Mastering Mommy Says:

    I am enjoying Follow D’Light very much. We all need to have “focused musings” to understand our lives. Thank you for leading the way. I had never heard the term “blue sky” ideas before. I like it instead of brainstorming…hmm.

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