“I subscribe to the monkey theorem, that is, ‘give me a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters’, and they will eventually pen the works of William Shakespeare. Replace monkeys with three hundred million bloggers at three hundred million keyboards, and every topic imaginable is written, rewritten, reinvented, rejuvenated and rehashed.” ~ Mike Senczyszak
Personally I am not so convinced that there isn’t anything remaining to write about. I have always subscribed to the view that there is always room for new and original thought, always room for a new concept. Perhaps two people, on opposite sides of the globe, in the same field of endeavour can come up with the same idea at precisely the same time, there will always be new ideas. But often to get new ideas you have to go against the flow.
Something of which I am certain, I may not have the new idea, but someone will. When we think about the world we can as frequently internalise our thoughts as well as externalise them. At times we go though some awkward thoughts before the real ideas come to light, but I encourage you to pursue them.
The point about ideas, and the point about blogs, is that they open up the possibilities for discussion to the whole world. It allows someone, anyone to go against the flow. Anyone can take a fresh approach to an old problem. Will it be you?
One great challenge is that too many people follow the status quo. They are not prepared to break the mould or strike out on a new path. Problematic? It can at times lead to the conclusion that there are no fresh ideas available. It can lead to the thinking that everything has already been thought of. Untrue!
A statement I have heard repeated too many times over the course of my lifetime, one that I have rejected because every week I have witnessed reports of new inventions or discoveries from around the globe.
Against the Flow
From a writing perspective, sometimes being controversial is necessary, just to get people to re-evaluate their current situation. Propose a new approach even is it simply done to take a different look at options available. New choices become available all the time.
Sometimes it is necessary to critique the conventional viewpoint, even when you believe in it, simply to confirm its continued validity. Perhaps asking what would happen if we didn’t do something, would everything we hold dear, would life as we know it, start to break down? these are good questions to ask.
I have shot the rapids in a canoe. Going downstream is exciting as the current pushes you rapidly past the rocks. Careering by, everything happens fast and there is a great rush as the water pushes you ever onward towards the next obstacle, there is a great rush especially as you complete the traverse and reach calm waters once again. You can relax and enjoy normality again.
Do the reverse and your shoulders and back muscles have to do all the work, propelling the canoe against the power of the stream. As you paddle hard it seems to take forever to pass each rock. As you conquer each segment you know it is essential to immediately plot a path around the next obstacle otherwise you will be swept back, crashing against the last. The ongoing effort is essential, past each rock till the calm waters are reached once again and paddling becomes, once again, easy.
Each direction offers a different perspective, different challenges, and a different set of tasks to complete.
In writing we all too frequently take the easier path (the downstream one) when we should take the more challenging one, the one that causes us to go against the tide. Blogs are all the better for taking the tough choice. People need answers to the hard problems as well.
In writing the hard work can also be from going against the flow, defying convention. Asking the awkward questions. Yet the end result will challenge the mind both of the writer and the reader alike.
There are writers that believe that defying convention is important. They make their careers out of fighting against the stream, and we should wish them all the best in doing so. Every stroke of the pen will challenge us, challenge our thinking, perhaps even change our minds, turn the tide and set us in a new direction. I for one applaud these writers even if I disagree with what they have to say.
No! Against the Flow?
This then brings mus to another area. There are times when we should vocalise in our opinions more. Say “NO” and mean it! But you should explain why.
Most people are too polite to say no. I include myself here, if I apply some harsh, but truly critical self diagnosis.
When we disagree with an idea it is purely the idea we should oppose, not the person presenting it. The political world, for example, frequently debase themselves, making acquisitions personal rather than about the ideas. Often associated with accusations about disloyalty even questioning their opponent’s loyalty or patriotism.
Remember untried ideas, remain simply that, untried, a theory, a concept. By trying an idea we can give it some substance, once tried an idea may fail, which doesn’t necessarily mean it was a bad idea, just something that needed to be tried. This is as true with business as it is with societal change. In a different situation application of the same idea may result in a different outcome, so the situation is as important as the idea itself.
If we spent a month trawling through the patent office looking at old inventions, especially the ‘failed ones’, how many could be re-engineered to work in today’s world? There are times, places or sets of circumstances that bring an idea to an inventor’s mind. The preconditions are simply not right for that invention to succeed. DaVinci did not have a motor to fly his helicopter, which is actually airworthy.
Change the conditions and it may be possible to turn the failed idea of the past into a successful one for the future.
Something we must guard against and this is just because we reignite an old idea doesn’t by and of itself prove the concept has any validity, it still has to be related to our modern way of life and proven to provide benefits, the act of regurgitating the idea does not by and of itself validate the thinking. In fact successful ideas from the past may be proven to have no value in the modern world. Thus every idea has to validated against new circumstances.
From the edge of insanity to shear brilliance can be a very small distance, it can all be about the same idea, about the words of the writer, but it is also about how the audience perceives the writer’s words and sometimes no matter how brilliant the writer’s mind the audience is incapable is visualising the ideas, the benefits, or share that same vision of the future.
Buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee as a thank you for his contribution on originality and thinking. All images used here are either created or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay.