Ideas, Thoughts and (some of) their Properties

Link to Google Doc

I have spoken, earlier, about my intentions with this blog. But I did not really touch the subject of why I write. The reason also has some implications for the existence of the blog.

I have written down thoughts and ideas for a couple of years. I started doing it by hand in different notebooks, and the frequency with which I wrote increased as I began studying at SSE. I got exposed to many new ideas and thoughts, and even new ways of thinking, which had a profound effect on me. I wanted to explore both myself, my values and my cognitive ability, and the world around me. Then, I started the blog, after one and a half years at SSE, and now I have another outlet for my thoughts.

For me, writing has become a way to structure my thoughts, discussions, and ideas. By writing them down I strive not to be right, but rather to explore what I actually believe and what I think is reasonable. Thus, I think that some of the posts that I write today might not reflect my thinking a year or two from now. What I mean is: I place higher value on rough unfinished thoughts and ideas than on polished and thought through ones. (Especially in regard to my own thoughts and ideas. I am well aware that polished ideas are the ones that make a mark) Why? There are two main reasons. First, most ideas have a diminishing marginal utility. And, second, by publishing unstructured and rough ideas I hope to get influenced by other arguments than those that I can imagine.

The diminishing marginal utility of ideas means that each unit of time put into an idea or thought adds less and less. Which means that the first time unit spent on the thought are the most valuable, i.e. this is where work per time unit is maximised.

Of course, not every idea follows this pattern. Einstein spent a lot of time doing thought experiments on relativity, until he came up with a way to mathematically prove it. It is also important to note that the diminishing marginal utility of ideas may not translate into the dimension of impact. There, utility often increase with time and effort spent.

I do not in any way believe that I have any answers, or that I can come up with any revolutionary ideas by myself. But I believe that collaboration is the way to success. I prefer to publish unfinished thoughts so that others can add to the thought or convince me that I am wrong. The thoughts and ideas that I publish may, if they are somewhat original, contribute to some revolutionary idea in the future. There is a non-zero probability of that happening, and thus I am going to keep on publishing my rough ideas and thoughts. By having others add to my ideas, the ideas can be developed into something productive at a faster rate. I will explain what I mean graphically below;

There are multiple ways of reaching an actually productive idea, by sharing the idea continuously and at an early stage one can decrease both the time and effort spent to arrive at a productive idea. Each time there is a new line in the graph above, the idea has been redacted and changed from its original trajectory. Which is something that happens to every idea. The difference comes from when, and how often one expose the idea to influences. If an idea is exposed to other minds, then less effort might be needed to turn the idea into a productive one.

These two reasons alone form an argument for the existence of this blog. Combined with the sheer enjoyment I find in writing and thinking, and we have the blog.

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