Shadow frames the light

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Dave Cline of Virginia, Alaska, Colorado, California, Utah and Oregon

Friday, September 08, 2006

The adoption and ownership of ideas

Back to the structure of the mind and how thoughts are strung together based on their context.

I started a thought thread here:
http://www.davecline...
where I considered how thoughts live only in context with one another. Well I was watching a TV learning show which introduced Susan Greenfield and her mind research, http://horizons-2000... where the idea of clusters of thought was first presented to me.

Well I was considering two additional concepts with regards to the context of thought: the supplanting of closely held ideas with new ones and then the creation and subsequent ownership of new thoughts.

The abandonment of an idea or belief in lieu of a more logical or convincing idea is a most complex and disruptive series of events.
One must sumultaneously disconnect existing thought context connections, that is how your vision of an idea is connected to other ideas, while you create new context connections using the new information. For instance, you believe the world is flat. Your concept of travel includes the idea that if you walk or sail far enough you will fall off. Now you meet a stranger at the market who shows you a globe. He then begins to describe how he sees the world as being round. While you begin to grok this thought you must disconnect the falling off concept with hundreds of other associated context thoughts while at the same time connecting your travel thought with the idea of going around in a circle.

You're disconnecting and reconnecting hundreds of connections until at some point - you say to yourself, "Ah ha! I've got it. I understand".

The other point is of idea ownership. That is by some means you've created a unique set of contexts and from within this amassing of ideas a new and unique idea gleams singular amongst the supporting context noise. You've thought a new thought! A new idea. An as yet undiscovered combination of contexts resulting in a one of a kind new idea.

This idea creation, the cross-linking of unique thought contexts to form a unique stand alone context is, to me, both the representation of how humans invent as well as how society itself invents.

I consider both internal thought contexts of a single mind similar to the multiple individuals of a society. Each person of a community can work as a singular thought context within the "mind" of a society. The more diverse and numerous a society's population is the more complex and new cross-linked contexts can be made. The more more cross-linked contexts the more inventive a society can be considered.

A population threshold and diversity level is critical to a societies progress just as the input of new and tantalizing ideas to an individual's mind is necessary to keep that person interested in life in general...

Fun stuff.

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