Chance favours the connected mind

As a flipside to the article on deep solitary thinking yesterday, we have the “ideas having sex” idea. When ideas are connected and exposed to each other, it’s more likely that better ideas get created. Steven Johnson gave a TED talk on how good ideas come about.

You will notice that Steven’s example of tracking Sputnik eventually leading to the use of GPS was an iteration process. Ideas came up, then were acted upon to test them, which led to further ideas bubbling up.

Maybe I’m wrong, and the ability to hold on to a thought or idea long enough to contemplate it is no longer needed. Or maybe it’s a cycle, where you do deep thinking, share your ideas, get feedback, then reflect on the new ideas. Or maybe in the future, we do our thinking in tiny chunks. Everyone just blurts out their first reactions, no one person actually consolidates it, but eventually, a solution forms somewhere down the road. Every problem becomes open-sourced.

Will we have a SETI@Home-like project where every human being volunteers a bit of their time to do “first reaction thinking”? Will we be reduced to machines, interchangeable for the capacity to think in short spurts?

We share ideas because that’s how they get better. We also need someone who can sit down long enough to think through the bettered ideas into something useful and act upon them.