Thursday, September 4, 2014

Start with an idea

"All beliefs are bald ideas," said the French painter and poet 
Francis Picabia. It means that a belief is the starting point of an idea, but it takes a little bit extra to turn a belief into a full-fledged idea.

Do we need ideas? For writing, certainly, and yes, indeed, for life itself. Ideas are like little magnetic building blocks that attract each other and click together. Eventually they make something worth having, doing or being.
We don’t do anything without an idea. So they’re beautiful gifts. And I always say, you desiring an idea is like a bait on a hook — you can pull them in. And if you catch an idea that you love, that’s a beautiful, beautiful day. And you write that idea down so you won’t forget it. And that idea that you caught might just be a fragment of the whole — whatever it is you’re working on — but now you have even more bait. Thinking about that small fragment — that little fish — will bring in more, and they’ll come in and they’ll hook on. And more and more come in, and pretty soon you might have a script — or a chair, or a painting, or an idea for a painting.
- David Lynch
Tapping into a great idea can feel like tapping into a larger version of ourselves, something that connects us to a broader, deeper experience of the world.
In this sense, great ideas are like the stars seen on a moonless night away from the cities of man with their "light pollution." To contemplate the starry sky is to intuit the existence of cosmic law imperceptible to our physical senses, and to intuit this by means of a capacity in our psyche that is almost never activated in the course of what is called our "real life," but which would more aptly be termed "life on the surface of ourselves." Great ideas are each like a great world, a solar world, pouring out invisible life-giving energy into the inner space of the human soul and, like the starry worlds above us, these ideas can never exist alone, but are always inextricably part of a galaxy, or cosmic community, of other great solar worlds of varying magnitude, age and magnificence.
- Jacob Needleman
Ideas can be unstable and dangerous. If not nurtured properly, they can collapse and take down other things with them.
Every idea is a complicated and delicate machine. In order to know how to handle it, it is necessary first of all to possess a great deal of purely theoretical knowledge and, besides that, a large amount of experience and practical training. Unskilled handling of an idea may produce an explosion of the idea; a fire begins, the idea burns and consumes everything round it.
- P. D. Ouspensky


P. D. Ouspensky. A New Model of the Universe: Principles of the psychological method in its application to problems of science, religion, and art. Translated by R. R. Merton. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, Inc., 1997. (Originally published New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1931.) p. 138.

Jacob Needleman. Why Can't We Be Good? New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2007. p. 142.

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