About Me

I'm just someone struggling against my own inertia to be creative. My current favorite book is "Oh the places you'll go" by Dr. Seuss

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The flood

The important thing to remember about ideas, is that they are not important. This will probably violate a lot of people's feelings about ideas, but it's true. Ideas are cheap. It's the execution that matters. This is why I have no problem writing all my ideas out here. It doesn't serve me any function to jealously keep all my ideas secret, in fear that someone will steal them. I am not the scriptwriter that accuses the producer, who rejected my script, of stealing the very ideas within it. The value of ideas has become very distorted in modern western culture. This could go on to become a lengthy discussion about copyright law, but that is not why I am writing this post.

So, let's take it as a given that ideas are a dime a dozen. Suppose I fill this blog up with a dozen ideas a month. How do I determine which ideas are worth pursuing? Which ones should I invest real time in bringing to reality? I Think this is related to the question I asked in the first post. How do you define a person? Another (more sexist) form of the question is "What is the measure of a man". It's a question about measuring the potential of a person. It's a question about predicting what that person is likely to do in the future. Depending on how you look at it, it's also about how a person is percieved. It seems shallow, but social perception is important. So when you are judging a person, what factors go into your judgement? What do you look for to decide whether someone is a genius, or a peasant?

Perhaps it is what a person has done in the past. If it is, then really, you are judging a person based on what ideas they chose to act upon, out of the sea of ideas. So one must choose carefully, as the ideas one chooses, determines who they are, or at least how they will be judged.

Many people will chose ideas based on their marketability. Perhaps there's a certain cool factor. Perhaps they've fallen in love with a particular technology. (lots of people have fallen in love with AJAX, lately). Most people don't think about the criteria they use for choosing what to act on. They just do things because they feel good, or they do things because they think it is expected from them by other people. Some people just have a really nice hammer, and are out looking for things that look like nails. Others just want to be seen doing the same things as everyone else, and desperately want to be thought of as cool or normal.

As a Graphic Designer, I am trained to start with a problem. Once I've established the exact nature of the problem, I must think of as many possible solutions as possible. The flood of ideas. The more you can think of, the better. The idea that wins, is the one that solves the most aspects of the problem. The progression design history has not been a progression of new ideas, but the identification of new aspects of the same old problems. Modernist architecture fullfilled all the needs of a human being, through the triumph of science.

That is what the architects thought. They've thought of the optimal size of the kitchen, the living room, how many bathrooms there should be, where they should be located, how high the ceilings should be, what the best materials are, how to give just enough space to someone so they don't feel cramped, but not so much that high density living is not possible.

They forgot that humans don't like living in featureless boxes. So Postmodernism is about the discovery of the human aspects of problem solving. Unlike modernism, Post-Modernism doesn't strive for purity, or the triumph of man over nature. Post modernism accepts everyone and everything for exactly what it really is. Post modernism doesn't reject history, it doesnt' reject science, it doesnt' reject pointless decoration or starkness. Post modernism is the relentless search for new aspects to old problems, and it has erased the boundary lines for future eras of art, and replaced them with a smooth continuous forward march away from the myopia of modernism.

So how do I choose which ideas to pursue? I don't. The best thing to do is choose which problems to pursue, and investigate as many aspects of the problem as I can, in a thoughtful and methodical way. The ideas will sort themselves.

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