Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty of Ideas
Welcome to Blog Action Day 2008. Last year D*I*Y Planner participated with a post on recycling planners as a way to help out the environment. This year's topic revolves around poverty. Talk about a tough topic to write about. While I know many blogs are posting ideas about what poverty means to them; or ways to donate time, money, or energy to help those in need; my mind wanted to take a different turn on this topic. This isn't to say that human poverty is not important-- I do believe that it's important to do what we can to fight poverty in our own countries and help each other out. It's just my mind, and my muse, want to discuss something a bit different.
I want to briefly speak about the poverty of ideas. If poverty means, "the state of being poor," then I think we're currently in the midst of idea poverty. All around me I see ideas that are not thought out, poorly executed, or just don't seem to raise the quality of life or entertainment of our societies. Many ideas today aren't always the best ideas. Look at Hollywood, where movies are churned out based on the same old ideas (sequels and remakes), or based on someone else's ideas (graphic novels and books). To me, this is rehashing what has come before and while it may be a bit lucrative, it doesn't show our society pushing the edges of creativity. It's stifling and damaging to our creativity.
So what can we do to get over idea poverty? Well, as normal human beings we can stop falling into mass media for one thing. We spend too much time attached to our televisions or the internet (and believe me I'm guilty of this one a lot). They're feeding us patterns of belief and attainment that we can never really attain. We can also do the following:
Enjoy the silence. Instead of filling every hour of every day with noise from the radio, television and internet, we should practice being silent. Block out some time and retreat into your mind and imagination. Being silent, and withdrawing into our minds (and imaginations), allows our internal voice to speak up. To say what needs to be said or written. Great ideas occur when we're able to sit silent and hear that small but powerful voice suggesting those ideas that make the light bulb inside turn on and us to say, "a-ha".
Write it down. This should be one of the site's mantas considering how many forms we have here to help you do just that; as well as all the times that Doug, myself, and others in the forums repeat it. When I get that spark, a flash of insight for a new post or story to write about, I put that idea down on an index card and file it into a folder that sits where I can read and use it. Then, I allow my brain to percolate on the idea until it is ready to be executed. You can do the same for home projects, artwork, or anything else you are passionate about.
Keep an idea journal. The best way to fight idea poverty is to cultivate a list of ideas. Keep an idea journal where you brainstorm solutions for all the problems facing you in your life. Or facing the world. Write down every solution you can think of. Even the bad ones. Doing so teaches you how to create ideas when you think you can't come up with one single idea in the first place. It also shows you that all problems have a solution, no matter what. And it also teaches you how to distinguish between a good idea and a poor one. Who knows, maybe you'll uncover the right idea to help someone in need and end human poverty as well.
I know that many of you will disagree with me and might see many of these solutions as similar or contradicting. That's totally okay. I just wanted to get you to think about the concept of a good idea and to discuss whether or not you think we're seeing a glut of good ideas in this day and age.