Member 2051
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Marcus Baumgart (M, 49)
Melbourne, AU
Immortal since Jan 19, 2009
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3

My blog: A Flawed Mind
A linguistic experiment
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    The value of thinking unoriginal thoughts
    Project: Epiphanies
    Recently I had the thought: Perhaps there are just too many people on the planet to sustain a good life for individuals?

    Now, this was an interesting moment for me. The 'overpopulation' thesis is neither original nor novel, and arriving at this as a personal insight made me question the assumed lack of value in having unoriginal thoughts. I myself hadn't seriously spent time with this idea before, although I had heard it voiced repeatedly, when it was not being merely assumed to be true. Indeed, I had long assumed it was true, and it is a staple of sustainability politics. However, I, personally, had not really worked it through.

    A premium value is placed on original thought, and of course it is immensely valuable - but what if we spend some time thinking through ideas that are already tired, tarnished or discarded? Or even better, ideas that are so obvious we don't think to state them, let alone spend time with them?

    Brains are not a collection of logic gates. Two brains thinking the same thought will utilise different physical structures in the brain, and the relation to sensory and memory structures in each case will also be completely different. There is every reason to assume that because of this, the same thought as expressed in verbal or textual language will result in a vastly different personal experience in different minds.

    Perhaps this is the mental equivalent of tracing over an existing drawing, choosing how and when and what to trace, and what to ignore? Any skilled designer who uses hand drawing will tell you the value of the act of tracing, and how the simple and seemingly redundant act of reproducing elements of a drawing in this way will offer fresh insights.

    A skilled urban designer I have worked with identifies tracing even more bluntly as an essential act of design. In my own experience, retracing familiar lines engages the conscious mind, and in doing so it frees the subconscious to think around corners and choose novel paths through design problems.

    So for these reasons, I will persist in my epiphany of the obvious, and see what turns up.

    Too many people,
    Too many by far
    And all of them seem to want a car
    I really can't blame them,
    I want one too,
    And, I imagine, so do you

    Sun, Sep 27, 2009  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Epiphanies
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         Mon, Sep 28, 2009  Permanent link
    Thoughts self-replicate & mutate, mate! Language can be looked at through the analogy of the self-similar fractal zoom; It's a complex system emergent from the life system which it takes its features from. 
    aeonbeat     Wed, Oct 7, 2009  Permanent link
    nicely put! i've been thinking about the same lately!