Theory of ideas
Do you remember that scene from A Beautiful Mind, where John Nash has an huge room of newspaper clippings all laid out on the ground, and as he stares at it, words pop out, turning into a coded message?
To me, that’s technology. I’ve recently come up with a theory about how ideas come into being. In a way, we’re all faced with a giant room of newspaper clippings that talk about our lives, the world, etc. Somehow, sometime, we glean from random bits of each article of knowledge or experience. It becomes a code of sorts that we then decipher. Voila, an idea!
This came to me while I was reading the good ol’ daily-that’s-really-recyclable-trash-mag 24 hours – February 3 edition. On page 9, there was an article on Google Earth. Which now has the capacity to see underwater – into the oceans. Apparently, cities, forests, roads, residential areas, mountains, swamps, traffic lights just weren’t “earth-y” enough. After all water makes up what, 70% of the globe? So someone decided that was the next big step for Google-tron, waved a wand, and presto: I now can view from my bedroom, through a satellite in outer space, with random people’s research, into the ocean depths.
Technology is nuts. I downloaded Google Earth once and I promptly deleted it. I found the ability to see my house from space while I was inside it very disconcerting. But otherwise cool. Hence the download then delete.
After 24, my next step up on the ladder of media reputability is MSN. Their content has become a daily ritual for anecdotes and keeping up with headlines without going into detail. I have classes and the New Yorker for details, nuances and intellectual fodder. On Sympatico (MSN Canada), there was a middle-class friendly (like everything else on the site) presentation on “how to avoid common eco-mistakes”. There was a tip that included something called TED (apt, eh?). It said:
• Invest in a Kill-A-Watt or TED device, which shows you how much energy (and money) you’re wasting by keeping appliances plugged in.
I know of a lot of people who could benefit from this type of gadget. I just kind of had ignore the exorbitant price to get such a device, and the design, manufacturing, shipping process going into the thing. Otherwise, very eco-friendly.
Then over on MSN, there was this neat article on “Ingenious uses for everyday items”. Among the ideas: post-it notes as keyboard cleaners, rubber bands as gift-wrapping-ribbon, toothpicks as meat labelers, salt as wreath-dusters or egg-mopper-uppers, and so on. Now this is a practical piece!
In any case, the point I’m trying to make here is that ideas come from somewhere. Ideas spawn action, like new technology and new lifestyles. It must be important then, to examine where ideas come from. I’m an Arts student through and through; I cannot offer any scientific explanation. But this is my abstract theory… We all get our own messages from tidbits of the articles of our experience.
Like all theories however, it’s very likely not true. Though, Einstein did say that everything is relative.