Wednesday 13 May 2015

So where do ideas come from?

I'm going to present another article to you in the form of a riposte to something someone said on my Facebook page. If this writing style annoys you I do apologise, but I do find that my ideas often flow much more freely when I'm replying to something, than if I'm building up something of my own from scratch.

I reckon that this reply contains some ideas (some of them my own, but most of them other people's) that might be worth sharing. I suppose it's up to you whether you consider them worth sharing or not. Anyhow, if you like any of them, you can share them, keep them, reuse them, even pass them off as your own for all I care.

The comment in question was one of the very many critical comments about Russell Brand that always appear whenever I mention him. Although it was, in my opinion, an unnecessarily harsh criticism, it was certainly a good deal more thought provoking that the "He's an utter cock who makes me so furious I can barely type a coherent sentence" type diatribes, that for some reason are written almost exclusively by men.

Whatever it is that makes so many people actually take the time and effort to type such vitriol about him, they come across as being so disproportionately angry that I can't help imagining that 
(for whatever reason) they have built some kind of totemic hate figure in their minds that has the face and mannerisms of Russell Brand.

This is the comment:
"When [Brand] stops pretending his ideas are actually his own I might give him a second thought."
This is my reply:
I wonder how many of your ideas are entirely your own? And how many you have taken from other sources such as your parents, your teachers when you were at school, books, television, magazines, right-wing propaganda sheets, or other people you've met? 
I know it takes me a lot of hard work to think of completely new ideas, and even then I often find that my 'brilliant new insight' has has actually been thought of and written down before (on many occasions by someone living on the other side of the planet!).

When I do have a really novel insight, that apparently nobody has thought of before, it almost always comes from the synthesis of two or more separate ideas that originated with other people. Are these synthetic ideas and concepts illegitimate? Can I claim them as my own, or would to do so be a fraud as heinous as the one for which you have mentally excommunicated Russell Brand?
If it is a sham for us to build our ideas upon the work of others, or to cumulatively develop new ideas through conversation and debate, where do we draw the line?
If the reuse or repetition of other people's ideas are excluded as being outrageously deceitful or dishonest, I reckon we'd have to row back quite far wouldn't we? I mean all of human knowledge is built upon the recycling of other people's ideas really isn't it?
If the reuse of other people's ideas is prohibited, I reckon we'd have to go back to something as fundamental as"I think therefore I am" in order to define our own existence without accepting other people's ideas and reusing them as our own. But then, if we're being proprietary about who ideas actually belong to, "I think therefore I am" must belong to Rene Descartes (unless someone else thought of it before him of course), so in order to avoid committing the deceitful and excommunicable offense of using ideas that originated with other people, we'd all each have to define our own unique philosophical foundation stone on which to build our wordviews from scratch upon, which sounds a tad time consuming and unrealistic to me.
I'm definitely not proprietary about my own ideas. That's why I give all my stuff away on the Pay as You Feel principle, and encourage others to share my work and quote me as freely as they like. The more people who see some use in my ideas and borrow them for themselves the better as far as I'm concerned. But I'm still not going to pretend that these ideas don't take time and effort to develop and refine into something that is actually worth sharing, or that all of them are uniquely my own.  
I know that I have to work really hard so that I can continue to provide alternative perspectives in my writing, but I'm never going to have the arrogance and lack of humility to pretend that all of these ideas are entirely my own work. My ideas are built upon a foundation of knowledge upon knowledge upon knowledge, all of which has been been acquired, modified, synthesised and shared by billions of other people throughout all of recorded history and backwards further through time into the depths of ancient pre-history, before it ever got to me.  
Maybe brilliant and unique insights flow like a never ending river through your mind? (I'm sure we'd all be very jealous, unlike you of course)
 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


What can we learn from Russell Brand's dalliance with the Labour Party?

Austerity is a con
The myth of right-wing patriotism
A question about pizza
12 things you should know about Britain First
The Tory ideological mission
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Brave New Justice

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