Thoughts on Ideas

Ideas are at the core of problem resolution. No-one has a monopoly on ideas. They are constantly popping up, all over the world, in all fields of endeavour. Some of the best ideas come from the least expected sources.

Ideas, by their nature, cannot be controlled. They are malleable little balloon-like things that bounce off people, sometimes adjusting their shape as they go. Ideas are the essence of freedom -- and they never explode because someone disagrees with them -- they only shatter on the jagged points of reality.

New ideas are described with as much clarity as the thinker can muster and submitted to 'peer review'. They are not universally accepted. Some are rejected on a rational basis (This won't work because ...), some are rejected for a variety of other reasons, not least of which are that they tread on the toes of an existing authority on the subject. But some, sooner or later, are seen to have merit and are honed and accepted.

Initially, ideas are almost formless. As we ponder them, they gradually take shape. When we finally get a decent outline of an idea, we try to share it with others -- but our communications skills are weak and we're only able to describe the vaguest skeleton of our idea. The person we discuss it with questions some parts of it and fills in other parts.

From that point on, the idea takes on a firmer shape. Each person who participates brings their own putty to fill in, and solidify, the idea. They also bring their own questions, or lack of understanding, which must be answered and explained, to the benefit of all. So the smallest question may produce the most distinguishing feature of the notion.

Ideas are fun, and I hope everyone will enjoy them. As we work together, here on Minguo, we must recognize that everyone's ideas are important, but that no one person's ideas are more important than those of another. We must urge everyone to participate. The success of the effort depends on the generation, adaptation and integration of all of our ideas. Some will not fit, others must be modified. Fitting them all together into a useful contribution to society will be slow and difficult, but it can be done.