TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Is it possible to have an entirely original thought?

The other day I tested this by trying to think of a colour that didn't already exist, I came up with combinations of colours but I could not come up with an entirely original colour. This made me think that we are restricted to what we know to some degree, no matter how open minded we may think ourselves to be.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Feb 23 2013: To be entirely original one needs to create an origin. No origin can be perceived without a frame of reference which contains the origin as one of it's co-ordinate such that the reference frame itself will be more original than the origin. The reference frame will then require another frame of reference to be cognizable. That's an endless regression. So logically there cannot be an entirely original thought.
    Improvisations are mistaken as original thoughts.
    • thumb
      Feb 23 2013: Good to see your smiling face too Pabitra....love the new glasses:>)

      You make a good point too Pabitra..."original" needs an origin....no origin can be perceived without a frame of reference. What we may think of as original thoughts have a foundation/origin and we are building on them?
      • thumb
        Feb 23 2013: I was spending some quiet time in my study window when a queer thought struck me. I looked at my clothes and saw generations of people weaving threads, running looms, sewing pieces of cloth yet the brand calls it original. I looked at my table: the wood, the lumberjacks, the sawmills and the carpenters started moving before me like a procession. The paper, the tea, the house, the radio, the people all around me seemed to me as stills of a great movie.
        So I asked, what is original? The music of my favorite artist? Is she not, unknowingly, made up of her own story I just realized?
        To start with, the thought made me sad. My poems are not original too. I wrote them but my life wrote me, my society wrote my life.... who wrote the poetry then?
        But when I think, I feel relieved. It so much tore apart my ego. I can still love to be a single note of this gigantic orchestra.

        Thanks for the compliments. Sumana says my lips are rather sensuous. :D
    • thumb
      Feb 24 2013: Isn't infinite regression generally accepted, though not proven to be, impossible? Are you suggesting this is proof of it?
      • thumb
        Feb 24 2013: No. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_regress
        You easily have an infinite regress of receding images if you put two plane mirrors parallel facing each other. Of course resolution puts a practical end to it, but in pure abstraction the regress continues ad infinitum.
        I was drawing analogy, not proof.
        • thumb
          Feb 24 2013: An analogy is stated as reference to a similarity between things which are otherwise dissimilar. Your phrase reads: "That's an endless regression." which contains no stated comparison to anything. How is that an analogy? I see nothing in the link which supports the concept of infinite (endless) regression? Everything has a origin. That includes every thought. There must be an original thought because it cannot logically be said, " Thought #1 caused Thought #2, which caused Thought #3, etc. ad infinitum, without addressing the question, "What caused Thought #1?"

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.