The creation of mind, formless in being.

Immortal, indestructible, cannot be seen.

But, what power an idea holds.

Can change the tide as it unfolds.

The above lines are my attempt to define an “Idea” in my own word. The dictionary defines it as anything that exists in the mind, as a result of mental activity, or it may be someone’s personal opinion.  The ability to create, define and understand ideas is something that makes humans different from the rest of the life forms on earth. The power to think to imagine, to ponder over either an abstract thought or just planning ahead for the future, humans use their mental abilities  every day.

An idea can change destinies of Nations. Men may fail in their attempt, they may die, but an idea lives on. We remember the idea not the person, it is through the idea that we remember the one who first thought about it. Archimedes would have been just another Greek citizen, but it was the idea that struck him in the middle of his bath that floated him in the pages of history. Be it Plato or Descartes, Ceaser or Hitler, Einstein or Gandhi, it is their ideas that have made them immortal.

This subject is a source of a lot of debates in philosophical circles. Philosophers are divided into three groups;

1.  Innatism is a school of thought that believes that mind is born with ideas and knowledge. These are general and abstract ideas that were always in the mind, we just didn’t know about them.

2.  Adventitious ideas are images accompanied by a judgement caused by objects outside the mind.

3. Tabula Rasa or blank slate. This school of thought believes that human mind is like a blank slate in the beginning, and it is the experiences that define their way of thinking and behaviour.

Plato was the first one to discuss on this subject when he gave his “Theory of Forms” in which he claimed that knowledge of material world was not true knowledge. His theory was steeped deep in metaphysics. And it was Descartes who broke away from the Platonic school of thought and defined an idea as an image which may or may not be in the mind. He believed that it was facts that led to knowledge and knowledge to ideas, and the deep pondering over these ideas gave birth to wisdom. Intelligence in this school of thinking is the true first principal. In layman terms it is good sense or common sense. Descartes himself said and I quote, “Of all things, good sense is the most fairly distributed: everyone thinks he is so well supplied with it that even those who are the hardest to satisfy in every other respect never desire more of it than they already have.” Wundt, Kant, Lock Hume, Stout….etc are all philosophers who have written on this subject.

But what is the power of an idea? It is the power, to make fanatics of mere mortals. The power to get the citizens to rise against and crush the ruling government. The power to imagine and create new things, be it an invention or a work of literature. It is awe inspiring and yet dreadful to believe that something without form, something that cannot be seen or touched, can wield so much power. Men kill; they sacrifice themselves for the sake of an idea.

If you think for a moment, you will believe that ideas are the real cause of everything going around. It is an idea that made me write this post and an idea that creates terrorists. It seems we are ruled by ideas. But isn’t an idea a creation of our own mind, our own brainchild. How did it become so strong, that it began controlling us? Yes there are ideas that have brought prosperity and many ideas are helping bring the world to a better future. But what about the ideas that create hatred, kills others, rapes and plunders. Then there are some ideas that in the future may not be as rosy as they seem now. They look harmless but in the long run have the ability to transform into monsters.

Next time before blindly following an idea, ponder on it and create your own opinion. Think of its future implications and then take your step.

4 Responses to “Idea”
  1. sylani says:

    wow… great !

    what an idea sir ji !

  2. Sapna says:

    Great idea!!!

  3. ranjith says:

    Well written prateek ! Reminded me of V for Vendetta !

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