no original thoughts


After I finished blogging Jill's talk at HUMlab, complete with my expression of concern about "interaction overload" vs "information overload," I did my daily blogsurfing. And what should I find on Steven Johnson's blog but a reference to fabio sergio's connectedland essay, which contains the following line:

From a world where people's main issue has been managing information we might be thus evolving to a connected world where problems will also come from managing interaction. With content. With other people. With the devices that allow us to interact with content and people.

On the one hand, I love that these ideas seem to emerge simultaneously from multiple sources--it's a validation that I'm making the connections in a way that makes sense to people besides me. On the other hand, I hate that I seem unable to produce an original thought. My skills tend to be in putting the pieces together, in seeing the big picture and then filling in details. But much of what I piece together seems to have been put together--with more grace and style--by others first. <sigh>


This is a core problem of being an "eyes-wide-open librarian". You have such a wide view of things that you inevitable become aware of others' ideas that are similar to yours.

Most people focus more narrowly on what they do; as a result they aren't aware that they are reinventing the wheel. Fortunately for them, it often turns out that the people who review their work aren't either.

Truth be told, there aren't that many good, original ideas around, but many people would rather believe it were so.

Good ideas need amplification, explanation, and new angles from other people. How I wish that one could get credit for such creative work.

Ah! I just read Steven Johnson's reference to "interaction anxiety" and I was thinking: hey did Liz read that article or did he read Liz, or are they really just SIMULTANEOUS? and now you've answered it.

I've been thinking about this lately. Ideas appear many places, at about the same time. Since starting to blog it's become much much more apparent to me, but I guess it's always been an issue (the telephone was invented three different places the same decade, wasn't it? and cinema, too, only I can't remember the inventors just now) - increased speed of communication just makes it more visible.

I've had the feeling a few times that my ideas were "stolen" - only they weren't actually stolen, they were just thought elsewhere too. I suppose we put such premium on originality and the idea that an idea CAN be owned, even patented sometimes. I think I found some peace about this after reading Steven Johnson's book Emergence, actually - I think there's a shift in thinking from the ivory tower and individual genius (which we claim to have left behind in the 19th century but is still very much alive) to a collective intelligence (the title of a pierre levy book i still haven't read) - a hive mind if you like, which i think blogs and espeically the networks of blogs are part of, or perhaps symptomatic of. Taken to its sci fi extreme, we're just human hosts for ideas that will out one way or another :)

It's quite weird dealing with transition though - from thinking alone to thinkng - not exactly together, but in a hive or something. If that's what's happening.

Interesting thoughts, Jill! I like the transition, a lot. Last night I read the "Blogging Thoughts" article that you and Torill wrote. While Torill's "thinking with her fingers" is the case for me as well, I find that I think even more through conversation. There are times when I literally don't know what I'm thinking until I vocalize it in conversation. So the merging of conversation and structured writing that blogs seem to represent is a powerful thing for me. (And as I type that, I realize that idea wasn't fully formed for me until I started explaining it to you in this context. Metatheory. Cool. :-)

I think what thinking boils down to is having a conversation with yourself. One could argue that by weaving yourself into a weblog / k-log network you become part of a "larger self" that is having a conversation with itself. That self is what actually produces the ideas. Now, our credit systems seem to lag a bit behind our idea-generating systems, which is a bit sad.

And it relates to your question, Liz, about whether I've collaborated with people I'd met through blogs. And the traditional answer is "no" because though I've collaborated on writing a research paper with Torill, using blogs along the way, we already knew each other before starting to blog. But if you think about collaboration in a broader sense - as thinking together - well, we collaborate all the time, don't we? This is definitely collaborative thinking right here!

Seb's right though, for now it appears to be hard to actually get money or professional advancement for this kind of collaboration. The outcome is in the process, and not easily measureable or quantifiable - or the outcome is everywhere rather than in an object or ONE paper.

Wow Girl.. You need to move on... case in point" original idea. As you extract yourself from thoughts of the mainstream the/your mind is plesently adrift/xpan-n with no pull from your emotional side.Facts become clear and the oreIgInALE..IdEa becomes yours. Only clear uninhibitedthinking creats thoughts where like a puzzle you fillin the missing thoughts when they come to you.Principals are followed. (1!) First your environment,(2!) Interself/Reflection (3!!)Desire The original/truth in fact discernment.Exersise the mixing of daydrean and fact, hence "mindblendintrigue" You can do it,You've done it before,or you would'nt be here bloging; so keep Going Strong youre picking up speed as your depression deceends enlightnment fills your heart, You are the best original thinker who ever lived... now spread your wings.. hold them firm ,mighty keepgoing picking up fly as I bid you FLYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on November 20, 2002 10:55 AM.

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