Man’s innate propensity for novel and creative thought has proven essential to his survival and his enhanced development. It is interesting to note that the ancient etymological root of the word “idea” is the word, “idein” meaning “to see.” It is, in fact, ideas that have enabled man to perceive and formulate solutions to presenting problems, and that furnish the raw material for the advancement of his understanding of himself, his environment and the continuing improvement of modern society.
A simple definition of the word, “ideation,” is the process of creating ideas. It is generally known that all sentient inhabitants of planet Earth have capabilities of innovative and insightful thinking, in degree, of course, depending upon the individual creature’s particular parameters of reason. We have all seen depictions of apes, deftly inserting twigs into such things as hollow tree trunks, to access a sumptuous lunch of protein- rich termites. What better, or more illustrative example can be furnished of the useful application of clever ideas to the solution of presenting problems.
To be clear, we are concerned in this note, only with ideation which is useful and demonstrably constructive in the continuing rational and empirical progress of man. We emphatically and categorically exclude such purported phenomena as, “religious inspiration” as well as the categories of” paranoid ideation,” “anthropomorphic ideation”, superstitious thought of every kind, and each and every one of the stale and useless aphoristic roadblocks to reason (see blog # 11).
Additionally, we do not intend, nor is there, any possible or rational metaphor to be drawn between the parturition of good or objectionable thought, with the legally recognized right of women to make reasonable choices regarding their respective pregnancies. (See blog # 52).
We note the expression, “pregnant with thought” but would stress the many significant and notable distinctions between the parturition of ideas and the metaphoric phrase. To cite a few, there is no predictable period of gestation or incubation. Further, the issue may be the product of several “surrogates” or of consecutive progenitors, possibly spanning centuries during which the inspired creators proceed to the final desired realization; each contributor standing upon the shoulders of his predecessors, in a virtual “ ladder’ of enlightenment, until the “eureka” moment.
It is not uncommon for the product of creative and original thought to be ultimately rejected, but only because it subsequently proved to be useless or erroneous in light of subsequent advancements in understanding and knowledge. The Lamarckian theory, “Use and Disuse, “ to the effect that animals develop physical features which are necessary for survival , for example ,the long neck of a giraffe which enables access to tree leaf nourishment. Charles Darwin and others relegated said theory to the scientific dustbin with the better theory, “Survival of the Fittest.” It is interesting to note that the Lamarckian theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, continued to be favored by certain totalitarian regimes, since it was consistent with their nefarious dogma.
The universe of inspired thought has, however, always had its detractors and enemies. It was Galileo, himself, who was given a life sentence for committing criminal heresy by ratifying the heliocentric theory of Nicholas Copernicus, to the effect that the Earth orbited the Sun, and not the other way around ( as had been proclaimed in the holy bible and other religious tractates).
As History has consistently shown, religious authorities and conceptions should be morally and completely restrained from enjoying any influence or recognition, whatsoever, regarding the operation and progress of empirical science, lest we re-visit the Dark Ages.
Positive experience has demonstrated, definitively and resoundingly, that the many expectant progenitors, either working simultaneously or over time, deserve to be sufficiently respected, encouraged and adequately funded. While some initial forays often seem obtuse or widely exotic, many in fact, are embryonic stages of a future breakthrough and an advance in man’s understanding and enhancement.
The parturition of ideas, especially in their embryonic or neonatal stage must be supported, encouraged and insulated from the destructive influence of non-rational belief, if we are to successfully survive and prosper.