Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

discuss

"Fortune favors the connected mind." — Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From.
"City ideas, like cities, are fashionable. But fashions change quickly, so city ideas live and die on short cycles. The opposite of city ideas are 'natural ideas', which account for the big leaps forward and often appear to come from nowhere. These ideas come from nature, solitude, and meditation." — Jonathan Harris.

5 comments:

  • I don't know where ideas come from. I do know a little about where my ideas come from.

    Short punchy copy comes in the shower. Tony Comstock/Real People Real Life Rex Sex came in the shower. So did DLR Films: Stories of Faith for People of All Beliefs.

    Blog posts come in the morning while I'm having coffee. If I get stuck I get unstuck while I mow the lawn.

    Marketing and promotion ideas is reallly really really "fortune favors teh prepared mind" territory. Lots of coffee, two chat windows, twitter, blog comments, and everything else, all at once. All of my most valuable insights into how information moves have come while hyper connected.

    Film editing is take the lap top on the boat and leave the wifi antenna ashore.

    For me, the most interesting new experience is being sequestered with a small group of interesting people; personally hyper connected and hye dependent, but utterly isolated. No fruit yet, but a promising looking orchard planted!

  • Maybe it's my pre-industrial class brain, but maxing out real-time connections usually leads me to zero new ideas and silly, repetitive, nonsensical behavior. The connections that come seem to be the ones that concretize during down time, like while I'm gardening in relative silence. The orthogonal route for new ideas is kind of frustrating when it comes to trying to "concentrate" on getting something new done. But each progressive area of concentration is always perpendicularly related to something else about which I was hoping to get some thinking done, so perhaps that's a virtuous cycle.

  • "maxing out real-time connections usually leads me to zero new ideas and silly, repetitive, nonsensical behavior. "

    Absolutely! Sometimes I feel like an autistic kid rocking back and forth. And sometimes good things pop out of the rocking and sometimes it's a self-perpetuating waste of time.

    I am starting to get a sense of when I'm rocking the right way and when I'm rocking the wrong way, but it's still hard to tell, and harder still to stop.

  • Could there be an optimal solution, involving connecting up to "download" the stimulating material of the city, and then unplugging to go "process" it out in the countryside?

  • Ethan, I have recently posted a Thesis to this effect. (An ongoing project on Twitter.)

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