Friday, November 9, 2012

The One, the Only, the Original

My alpha-blog series started a series of posts that I have enjoyed writing. The basic blog idea came from another blog (Grannymar), so it is not an original idea. Perhaps my twists and turns make this series somewhat original. But is it really original? The concept was taken from Granymar and I implemented it a little different but the question remains. Is it original? Original Thought, is that like Original Sin?

Then I went to my fall-back research tool, Google. Original Thought Theory garnered an amazing 58 million hits. If I read some of them and later incorporated parts of those entries into this blog my original thoughts would be corrupted, not original. So I closed that browser, and then immediately reopened it again. The truth is I am not creative to the point where I could function or write without input from other sources. And I doubt that most of us could. So I looked at a few of the results and found that many were very similar, not original. So I closed my browser once more and wrote in a near vacuum, sometimes referred to as my head. I’ve been called an airhead, which is close to the vacuum just mentioned.

I create, like most others, with inspiration and ideas garnered from other sources; the creative process involves a certain degree of selectivity and adaptation of ideas from a multitude of sources. One of the members of my writing group mentioned at a recent session that stealing from one was plagiarism and stealing from many was research (he gave credit to anonymous).

Our minds are great receivers and filterers of information; we use the process of osmosis. The problem is the filtering process; the evaluation of information to suit our beliefs is not an effective method. Unimportant and relevant facts that don’t fit our preconceptions are, shuffled off to the sidelines, into oblivion.

The computer phrase of garbage in, garbage out is a close approximation. But a computer sorts information by zeros and ones (geek-speak) without judgment. People don’t operate that way. Our filters are biased; our filters utilize past experiences and values as a mechanism. On occasion we seek information that suits our beliefs and wave that preponderance as validation. Many people operate with filters that are clogged and in need of replacement.

Originality requires that we adjust our filters. More precisely we need to detune those filters, make the sieve holes bigger. Toss out preconceived notions, work with a clean slate. Open our minds to ideas that we may have rejected previously or rework some old work that has been shelved. Look at ideas that may be overtly opposed to what we hold true or of value with a detuned filtering mind. Turn the filter inwards and reexamine our positions. Usually when I open my mind stuff falls out instead entering. The open mind relies less on the static filters but on a conglomerate of incoming information, from a variety of sources.

My almost original thought is, “Open mind, empty contents before filling again.”

But I think I saw that someplace before.

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  1. Two of my strategies are to try to look at a question from another person's point of view; and to try to argue the "other side of an issue" to see if I can convince myself that the opposite of what everyone thinks might actually be true.

    Of course, I can't say I've have anything more than limited success, but I keep trying . . .

    Btw, I like the electoral map in your previous post.

  2. Listening to the other side and at least giving it value is one of the more important strategies for conversation, negotiation, compromise, etc.