Where do ideas come from? [Amir] QE 5 March 2017 Thor May

1. How do we get new ideas? Ideas "come" to my mind at times ... but do these ideas "come" from an external source or do "I think" of those ideas? - because I hardly ever sit down to say OK now I am going to sit down and "think of an idea" but it usually just "comes" while busy with something completely irrelevant. If it just "comes" from somewhere then am I entitled to claim ownership of it? [Amir]

2. a) When is an idea “yours”, b) when do you pick it up unawares from someone else, and c) when do you synthesize something more or less new from the comments of others around a topic?

3. How does your brain actually construct an idea? Does it have to be in language?

4. Is every sentence “an idea”? How do you actually create sentences anyway?

5. We not only seem to create ideas, but we also self-censor them. How much do you think people vary in the extent to which they self-censor?

6. At what point do we consider an idea significant enough to communicate to other people? What can inhibit us from communicating in this way?

7. When I write a book or article, in Australian law it is automatically copyright. That is, it is assumed that I have synthesized the ideas in this writing in an original way, and that I am entitled to some reward (or at least acknowledgement ) if other people make use of my writing. Does copyright make much sense?

8. The job of a teacher is to systematically influence your ideas with your permission. Many other organizations and individuals try to influence your ideas, often without your knowledge and sometimes to harm you. What can be done about this?

9. "Be very careful what you put into that head, because once it is in there you will never get it out." [Cardinal Wolsey 1516-1528] Young people especially are prepared to accept new ideas, but as they get older they refuse to drop those ideas, even if they are proved wrong. What can be done about this?

10. Organizations like the Catholic Church and the Communist Party of China are constructed on a foundation of certain ideas. If those ideas are challenged, the agents of such organizations usually react violently. They feel that the organization itself is threatened. What is the best way to challenge large scale sets of organizational ideas like this.

Where Do Ideas Come From? Discussion Questions ©Thor May 2018

return to homepage