The Evolution of Ideasposted by Anna Mar, May 14, 2011
Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.
~ Alfred Whitney Griswold
The innovation of ideas looks something like this:
Idea CombiningIf you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
~George Bernard Shaw
Many ideas are the result of combining two existing ideas.
Idea MutationHalf the musical ideas I’ve had have been accidental.
~ John Lennon
Many ideas are accidental mutations of existing ideas. When existing ideas are communicated — they are sometimes misinterpreted. Sometimes these misinterpretations end up being better than the original idea.
New IdeasThere is only one way in which a person acquires a new idea: by the combination or association of two or more ideas he already has into a new juxtaposition in such a manner as to discover a relationship among them of which he was not previously aware.
~ Francis A. Cartier
New ideas are not common. Almost all ideas are combinations or mutations. However, it is not impossible to have a new idea.
ThoughtThe brain is a commodity used to fertilize ideas. ~ Elbert Hubbard
Ideas are interpreted by individuals — every human mind is unique. Individuals decide how they feel about the idea. Ideas can also drive individuals to action.
CommunicationLanguage is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery.
Ideas are spread by communication — advances in technology have greatly increased the speed at which ideas are communicated.
SocializationDon't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
~ Howard Aiken
People debate ideas — socialization greatly influences adoption of ideas. Technology has increased the speed at which ideas are socialized.
General AcceptanceMan's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
Ideas that are generally accepted have influence over the future — and the cycle continues.
TimingAn invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
~ Victor Hugo
The evolution of ideas does not imply that good ideas automatically make it into the future. If society is not ready for the idea: it will be rejected. Truly revolutionary ideas are often not recognized for many generations.
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