By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

How Original/Independent Are We, Really?

It appears to me that no matter which position we take on whatever issue, there is a certain conformity of thought and ideas. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Discoveries and inventions of all kinds come about because someone took what had already been discovered/invented and ran with it--improving it in some way. That works with thought and ideas, as well as material items such as light bulbs and mousetraps.

We admire originality and independence. Yet for the most part, we are reflecting what we have learned from others. I suppose the originality comes from the particular assortment of ideas that we each gather in according to our interests and from the little twists we give these ideas as our minds and personalities work on them. We emphasize the aspects of ideas that resonate with us the most.

Whether it is religion or social concepts or philosophies or education or any other such grouping of thought and ideas, we mostly sort through what is already out there and make our choices according to our likes and dislikes and how persuasive said ideas are. Many of us do give this choosing serious thought and weigh the consequences and outcomes as best we can to make intelligent decisions. Still, how many concepts are truly original? How independent is our thought, really? Aren't we all following someone else?

Is there really anything new under the sun?

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Barb said...

I do think it is interesting how things really build upon one another. Something as simple as describing the physical characteristics of a person you are interviewing was something that was introduced at one time according to a class that I took in History of Mass Communication. That seems so basic that I was surprised that it had not always been the case. I think that it is good to recognize that there are so many influences to what we create. I do think that there are people who have been original in their thought to a large degree. Freud would be an example. Whether you buy into all of his theories or not, he was rather original. I took a class where we discussed language and thought and the author of the text we used had the belief that the lack of consciousness of abstraction in language leads to dysfunction. I had never heard anybody with his mindset or concern about whether we are conscious that knowing that a word is an arbitary thing given meaning by us was so crucial. He thought we needed reorganize our entire language system to make people more aware of this.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Barb, thanks for the comment. That's interesting about language. I'm not sure I know what the author of the text meant, but I'll think about it a bit--it sounds like a good concept.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

A lot of what Alfred Korzybski said was rather different and his views of mental illness were formed before discoveries of brain chemistry. He considered the father of General Semantics. And as a field, I think good comes from this discipline. For instance, every time you see a person of a given race, you would ideally number each person differently so as to not stereotype. Mentally that would probably be impossible to keep track. However, we should be conscious not to over-generalize the actions of someone of a race or religion.

I was reading an Essay in the field of general semantics that I think made a good point. It said that knowing the name of a plant can often give a person a feeling that they know something about the plant when they really are only able to identify the plant.

I found this course fascinating as it was so different to any of the courses that I had before. I like things that seem hidden from others.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Sometimes I have really given a lot of thought to a subject and reach certain conclusions. Or something may be of a lot of interest to me. When I see others who seem to have given thoughts to the same things that I have and reached to same conclusions, it makes me feel a connection to them. I guess that I find that in the blogging world.

I have been thinking as of late a lot about how people that are very intelligent will speak on a subject and it is clear that there are gaps in their thinking. In thinking of this, I realize that there is such an a vast amount of knowledge and nobody could be expected to master all of it. Today I put in the words critical thinking in the msn search engine as it is a topic of interest to me. And at a site on this very topic, it said how criticial thinking is a lifelong pursuit and that all people will have some "blind spots" and also thoughts that are not well thought out or illogical at times. I think we need to be a lot more kind when people say something that does not add up. We all do it!!!!!

10:41 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Barb, those are good thoughts. I think we all tend to somehow think we can quickly reach a perfection in our thought processes, but like everything else, it requires patience to develop our critical thinking skills and I suspect it will be in the next life that we reach perfection. You are definitely right that we need to be patient with others that we have discussions with, as well as with our own development.

I love to run a search engine with a word or phrase that interests me! There are so many websites out there that I am sure to find something to bookmark for future reference.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Mary, you have known me for over a year and we have exchanged emails as friends. I hope that it is not my normal demeanor to criticize when it is better to ignore. I just read two posts at a group blog that were troubling to me in content. I do not wish to be too specific. And I want to trust that those who write have good intentions. We are a thinking people and that is one of the things that I love about my association with so many members.

What I have an issue with concerns painting a program that allows one to keep track of the Lord's sheep in a negative light. Although the person may not have a testimony of the inspired program, I do not think it is good to air one's opinions in a way that could tear down someone who may not have strong roots. The person in the blog was hurt and I can understand how painful that can be. However, the problem is not with the program. It is with people. And what she had a problem with to some degree is inevitable because it is impossible to be closest friends with everyone that you have had a stewardship over at one time. I do think it is good to try to continue to friendship those who have been part of our lives as we are still brothers and sisters. However, time constraints do not always allow such. This program has done so much good as good people have sacrificed so much. And I believe people can pray and receive inspirations for those that they are assigned to serve. That makes a calling a beautiful thing. Instead of looking as something as an assignment, I think it is good to see something as a way to bless and a way to serve. More in a moment.

8:55 PM  

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