Monday, December 14, 2009

On brain crack

"Ideas are not property, they are infections. And anyone who reads everything will know that ideas nave no allegiance to their host body: They pass from brain to brain untraceably, or simply break out spontaneously, separated by continents or even centuries, without explanation." - John Hodgman, "More Information Than You Require"

This is going to go off some of the ideas I had in the previous post, to wit: every generation has its own particular set of circumstances that lead to its artists and scientists producing what they do. Though one person might be credited with an idea, and developing that idea, there are often other people around them talking about similar things. Ezra Pound is sometimes credited as being the most influential person in modern poetry, not because of the poems he wrote, but because of what he did for the people around him.

So, if you have an idea... probably someone else thought of it already.* And that's okay! Because what is more important than an idea is what you do with the idea. Are you going to work that idea into a novel, and explore its implications? Are you going to write a non-fiction book or essay that develops the idea, and goes further places with it? Are you just going to put it on some bumper stickers and T-shirts, and call it a day? There are a lot of options here.

If you do nothing with your idea, though, nobody will ever give you credit for the idea, or even for doing anything with the idea. You might even develop innovative ideas without realizing it, and though you take pride in your contributions to the "time traveler tourist" thought experiment, ten years from now, people actually admire you for your perspicacity in seeing the way that corporations control and define our very way of life.

But nobody will ever talk about you if you don't give them something to talk about.


* - It is possible that no one else has thought of Time Cube independently. At least, I really hope no one has.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

hi! wow, i liked your post and agree with all of it, but i have always been very careful to give credit to ideas i have consciously stolen in my executions. this is perhaps not necessary but i feel guilty otherwise.

i got here because i was looking for the full text of the hodgman quote, but i stayed here because i saw that you titled your post "brain crack", which reminded me of a different concept with the same name - this one is more about procrastination and creation, though. you might be interested? internet hero ze frank made a video about it back in the day.

i hope you are having a good day!