Like all humans, I too have a strong spiritual desire to convey my philosophies. And unconsciously, so do you.
Where do ideas come from?
Asking questions is an impulse as old as time itself, but asking the right questions demands a little more intelligence. Before trying to decode the enigma of the origin of ideas, let us try to decipher the identity of an idea. What in the heaven’s name is an idea?
Is it a proposition of what action to take in the near future? Or a plan? Maybe a moment of enlightenment or realization. Might even be something that you were looking for and ended up finding it in an unexpected place.
Or, it is just an energy impulse that takes its time to be formulated into words by you and then conveyed to the world.
There are innumerable ramifications of the definition of the word in question, and trying to construe its originality through our limited intellect is fruitless. Let us just consider it a gift from the universe.
When we are confronted with an idea, it may or may not be useful depending upon our needs at that time, but whenever an idea comes, we think we created it. That conception itself is a manifestation of our ignorance.
As the great auteur director, Mr. David Lynch says, ideas are like gifts that we rely on. It just drops into our consciousness out of the deeper layers of our minds. We are always dependent on them to tell a story.
So one perception can be that they are formulated in the subconscious and the unconscious parts of our minds, and from there they come into our consciousness. Going by this, a new question arises from the dead.
For me, the genesis of an idea is life's way of working on the universe's Photoshop.
— Vaibhav Mishra
How are they made?
Being a human myself, all I can do is pitch an idea as to how an idea is created in our minds. Ever heard of the famous photo editing software called Photoshop? It is very less likely that you have not.
To make an artwork, especially a photo-bashed one in Photoshop, you will be required to feed it with images. Be it downloading it from the internet or transferring it from a device or a social media platform, you would have to feed the software with multiple images, then use those images or at least parts of them, in a certain way and combine them and arrange in the right way as per your idea.
Our minds work in a similar way. All the time that we spend here in this world, we feed our minds with visuals, images, sounds, feelings, and all other things imaginable and beyond. Through our five senses, we record all kinds of things, and our mental warehouse stores them.
We when desire a particular idea, the mind picks up small fragments (sometimes even the whole) of all those things recorded by us and arranges them in a particular combination to give us a visual, which we term imagination, the department of forming images.
If I were to imagine a restaurant, I the outside of a restaurant at a low angle, and I see the road other buildings on the sides, signs on the gates, and the evening orange sky. As I ponder upon it further and analyze it, I realize that the doors of the restaurant were the doors of a bar I saw in the first episode of the famous Netflix series, Peaky Blinders. And the other buildings and the road were from the New York environment in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy. The process is indeed intriguing.
David Lynch portrait
Why do ideas come to us? Well, they do not come to us. We go to them. When we feel an impulse for an idea, when we yearn for it, we are actually hunting for it. And in that hunt, we go into the limitless expanse of our consciousness and try to arrange things in different permutations and combinations.
To get the right combination at the right time is a lottery ticket.
Why are ideas formed? It is the nature of our minds. Our memory and our imagination are the greatest tools we have and we use them heedlessly almost every moment. Even at the time when I was conceiving the idea for this article, I offered myself the luxury of a soliloquy, just like the one I enjoy right now as I write it. Or…has it already been written?
Why do we need ideas? We need them because we are human beings. And because of that, we have an innate spiritual desire to tell a great story and share a common experience which is really good. And to achieve that, we are reliant on them.
How to make use of them?
To facilitate the production of more ideas, we need to connect with the life around us. The people, the things, the events, literally anything, and everything has the potential to provide you with a great idea. Why?
Because the universe has a license that we cannot deny. A poetic and a creative license, with an infinite validity. No matter how many plans you make for the future, any unexpected person or situation at an unexpected time could give you a new inspiration, which might even force you to forsake your last gift.
At the same time, you just cannot sit back and wait for the universe to grant ideas to you. You have to go out, explore and reach out to the world in many ways, and in the journey, gradually through osmosis, one small thing will lead to another, and with ample progression, you might end up with an unprecedented conception of a radical idea.
Why don’t ideas just come like that?
Why does the genesis of an idea take so much time? This question leads to a surmise that all ideas are always there around us. But to catch them we need the right tools. The vocabulary and the visual literacy required for us to be able to receive and understand the value of the idea takes time to be accumulated.
That’s where being open to life and exploring becomes important because in doing so, you will get to know things your books won’t tell you. Even the smallest and the most unanticipated things can trigger something long forgotten in your mind and ignite a spark, leading to a wildfire.
A dry tree in a park can inspire a horror movie. An artist can get pose references for his art from an erotic magazine. A random person in your locality might inspire a character for your story.
It all depends on how receptive you are.
© 2021 Vaibhav Mishra