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To what extent can an idea be unique?

Are all ideas just the combination of known principles or trial and error? Examples and peronal experiences are good as well as just opinions. This question could be expanded to any thought at all, not just ideas. If there is a thought that is almost entirely unique, there can't be any previous oppposite idea. What I mean is if an idea is the exact opposite of another it isn't really original. It just stated the opposite. If an entirely original idea can be made, how will it be formed?

I have some opinions currently, but I'm sure they'll change after your comments. Please ask me to expand or clarify if needed.

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    Jul 26 2013: If we go to a theoretical ground, ideas come to us from impulses we receive as knowledge, books we read, things we see and conversations we hear. So just as energy, ideas always come from other ideas. But, an entirely new idea meaning that no one has thought it before, well, first we don't have the record of all the ideas that had gone to the mind of the billions of habitants of this world and second even if someone has thought about the topic or even the same sentence or image before, our humungous differences make it near to impossible to see it from the same perspective.

    Conclusion: Original ideas exist, but they always have an origin.
  • Aug 10 2013: Original ideas are possible. Communicating these ideas via language may distort this fact because communication is achieved primarily by associating various bits of information to an existing database. The new idea thus appears as a collage of bits of existing ideas.
    Harry Potter might be portrayed to be a potpourri of ideas about witches, boarding school, orphans, maltreated wards etc. But to deny its originality and uniqueness would be akin to denying the uniqueness of any individual; after all there are billions of people in the world.
  • Aug 6 2013: Part 1

    I think that ideas can be unique to some extent. We can´t state that something can be one way or another for certain. However I think that for me it is a very dependent on the situation. Though an idea itself might not be unique, meaning it has been thought about it before the situation is always new therefore it will mostly always be a different experience because of the people, the environment, and the requirements of something among others. However it is not always that "simple", if an idea (if we talk about something material) has been already discussed or thought about, when it is produced is it unique? For example if we put technology as an example. In movies we see flying cars, however we still don´t have them, but then in the future when they are produced will they be entirely unique or not? Because the idea had already been thought about however it has never been produced. Then is it unique? Maybe or maybe not it depends on your definition of what unique means. To me something unique is not necessarily something completely new, however it is something different, it can already be existing (to some extent) but it has a new twist to it. Then it becomes unique. I do believe that ideas can be unique, I started by saying to what extent but that gives no hope. If we look at the emotional aspect of this and what it represents I feel like we need to believe that ideas can be unique. Because if we think that everything has already been thought of or has already been invented we can´t move forward, with ourselves, if we think "No it has already been done, why try!" we as humans should not be thinking in that manner.
  • Aug 3 2013: No idea is unique. To start, there's no way of knowing if someone else thought of the same thing as somebody else. In addition, every idea that comes to someone's head has been built from other things that they've already seen or experienced. In other words, someone can't magically come to an idea--say, an iPod--without previously having known about walkmans or boom boxes. The iPod is essentially a portable music device, just like a walkman or a boom box. Sure, the person who came up with the idea of an iPod said, "Hey, wouldn't it be great if my walkman could be smaller, store thousands of songs instead of one CD and be faster?" However, that person had already in their heads the concept that something smaller and more efficient or faster is better. And, they probably reached this conclusion from some other experience. Hence, all they did was group the different concepts together to reach a "unique" idea--the iPod. What they don't realize is that everything that the iPod is had already been thought of (whether it's the idea of a portable music device or the concept of making things smaller for practicality)--all they did was tweak a few things to create the product. If the idea that smaller items are more practical hadn't crossed that person's mind yet, they would never have been able to think about the iPod.
  • Aug 2 2013: If everything is infinite, time, space etc then anything could and indeed will exist, including floating brains that can live in space, that spontaneously come into existence (just as anything else may spontaneously come into existing when things get big and long enough) and given that this happens an infinite number of times, with their lifespan having infinite lengths of time, then they would outnumber all humans that ever exist and so their perspective of the universe if more pressing than ours.
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    Jul 28 2013: To the same extent any species is original. Everything evolves upon the past. Everything is always in an original state - in the moment.
    • Jul 28 2013: Good point ! Everything evolves upon the past, so there is nothing new under the sun, but it doesn't eliminate change for us, for change occurs at a unique moment,
      NOW all wold/universe wide, it's a concrescence of everything in relation to everything else ; and it's never the same.
      So, any thought/idea no matter how old it is, is in a way unique by the virtue of the moment that brings it into your mind.
      Just thoughts ... :)
  • Jul 25 2013: an act of genius presents an unique idea/relationship
  • Aug 20 2013: From the viewpoint of Patents.....Original inventions are indeed rare.
    I was recently astounded to find the semi-commonality of thought-processes as related to a proposed invention.
    The sight of previous submissions from 4, 6 (or more) decades in the past was encouraging and discouraging!
    The previous alternate theses were a looking-glass into the past.
    The "IDEAS/INVENTIONS" often inferred:
    Electronic circuitry not yet produced but hypothetically possible.
    Potential assemblies of disparate materials which "would, could, should" elicit "such and such" an outcome.
    Inclusion of decades-old assemblies for which newer mechanisms have replaced older then-working designs.
    While many submissions were innovative, many were amalgamations of ideas to simply participate in another's (either) fully or partially-executed design/process.
    The "blanket-attempt" as a "Hail Mary" to gain a share of an eventual working model.
    Componentry from 3D/4D Production may deepen the problem even more.
    Education, communication and computerization have brought the billions of minds together.
    I would be surprised if more than a dribble of original ideas came out of any realm except the most obscure sciences.
  • Aug 8 2013: I was a little surprised at how literal and academic some of the answers became. Definition became the point not a thougthful answer. thanks for those taking a different road.

    I guess to answer this one would have to determine what is meant by unique and by idea. Also needing answered is if unique for the individual or for the 7 billion others living today. By idea, one would have to determine if it is only a cognition or something turned into physical reality. Such as something another can sense with their 5 senses or gain an image in another's mind. So much for the definitions. You can sort those out.

    I'm not sure where you were going with this when you first asked the question. But while the unique for the 7 billion maybe more definitive, I'm more intrigued by the individual. I think unique for an individual has meaning and application. The unique for the billions while thought provoking, has little utility. And from the conversation so far, would you say we have some unique answers, maybe even some unique ideas? I would say there were some unique ideas, but only from the point of view as individuals. From the more strict interpretation, the 7 billion, likely not so much. And therefore for me that lacks interest.

    Unique for me would be those firsts. The first time some little person touches the hot stove. That experience was only unique to that person. I'm sure there was a unique idea planted in his/her brain. Once in a while someone does venture out to something nearly unique to the 7 billion. But even then I believe they were “standing on the shoulders of” others. The other idea of sharing it may be relevant here. Others may have thought it, but only until one shares it can it be “determined” to be first or unique.

    So for me the academic questions of can something be truly unique for all history or all future doesn’t give me much to be excited about. But make it unique to me and you have a winner.
    • Aug 10 2013: What an interesting view..
      Having the 'first' feeling of the experience would be the unique moment of your life, then I would also say having constant relations with the experience would also be 'unique'.

      "individual" that you point out, I think, is one of the main factors of being unique.
      Actually it's the key point, I believe.

      But what if it goes with a group experience?
      Or continuous, boring experience?

      Does it ever lose its peculiarity?

      Might sound too obvious, but does it?

      Want to share your thoughts on this :)

      • Aug 10 2013: As far as the group experience, it may be an experience while in a group, but the individual still has the unique first experience. So the sense or feeling, or image, etc is still a personal experience and while in a group setting, still that individual's experience and maybe unique. It can only be unique once. So continous is no longer unique.

        The thought of peculiarity is a completely different line of thinking separate from unique. As for losing it's peculiarity that is situationally depend. What is the event, thought, image, experience and how does the person respond to it. Depending on which definition of peculiar you use could make a difference on how one would view the experience(s).

        For example, My girlfriend has a peculiar way of kissing which I love and makes me want more. Versus, that peculiar odor coming for the frig makes me wonder what may be growing in there. The first one may never lose it's peculiarity or sought after or enjoyable experience for me. The odor may remain that odd smell you had that given day. I hope this got my point across. I'm not sure but right now can't think of another way to explain it.

        But I think we are mixing the unique (from the TED question) with repeated events (continuous). I think unique from the TED conversation was meaning the first idea without just extension or combination of existing ideas for anyone along the continuum of time. Your comments are not referencing this uniqueness.

        As I stated earlier, the uniqueness of the TED question isn't all that interesting to me. Make it unique/new to me and you have a winner. As an extension to your thought(s) make it something I find pleasuseable and I will hope it can be continuous.

        Good luck figuring out what I'm actually trying to say. I just reread it. I'm even a bit confused.

        Either way, Smile and have a great day.
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    Aug 8 2013: "Unique" means simply one of a kind, it doesn't mean that it has to spring from nothing. A unique piece of music is made up of notes, harmonies and intervals that have been used thousands of times, but the new combination is unique. You create unique ideas and thoughts precisely by combining well-used components into something new. Every new discovery in science, and innovation in technology is unique by virtue of being new, but they are all based on existing knowledge.

    On an average day, we all say things that are unique. The uniqueness may be that of a contrast between two unexpected things, or a different way to express something. Everyone who plays chess will find a new, unique position (that has actually never occurred before) in almost every game, and your thoughts about how to solve the problems of the position must therefore be unique, although they build on well-known tactics and stratagems.

    Look, for example, at this sentence in your question: "What I mean is if an idea is the exact opposite of another it isn't really original." It may well be that this sentence has never been written or spoken before. (By the way, while I'm on that sentence, I'll disagree with it. The idea of turning something upside down, of emphasizing the opposite, may well be a revolutionary mind-blowing thought and can absolutely be unique.)

    Uniqueness isn't rare. Certainly each of the comments here is unique. I'd bet a good sum that no one has written exactly what I've just written in this note, or what David wrote in the previous note, etc. So do these sentences and comments constitute a "unique idea?" I'd say they do. Each comment represents an expression of thoughts, and thoughts are ideas. A new way to put a sentence together is a unique idea.

    So to your question, "Are all ideas just the combination of known principles or trial and error?" I would answer that all UNIQUE ideas are combinations of known principles.
    • Aug 10 2013: Totally agree.
      “it doesn’t mean that it has to spring from nothing.”

      People tend to think pop culture—including, of course, pop songs are just so common; but at the same time they find it unique to share the culture with others.

      So it all depends on perspectives.. for ‘they are based on existing knowledge’

      Let me add my thoughts on this.

      I think in order to find whatever—what you’re doing, seeing, feeling.etc.—unique, one has to be wide open like a child.

      I’ve seen some people who don’t seem to regard what they’re experiencing as ‘unique’ as what others would have felt.

      By all means there’s no way I can know exactly what they’re thinking about the experience they’re having, but I could clearly see that they were not excited enough to consider it ‘unique’.

      Spotting ‘unique’ things and realizing what’s special are related to excitement, curiosity and interest. Without these childlike feeling, one can never find uniqueness in it.
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      Aug 17 2013: Thanks for the comment!

      Maybe I missed it, but what is your criteria for uniqueness? From your comment, it seems to me that everything new is unique. What is considered new?
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        Aug 17 2013: Yes, I think you understood me correctly.

        As I said, unique means something that's different from everything else - one of a kind. Everything that is new is by definition unique, until a copy appears.

        You raise the key question: What is new? That's really what it's all about. As others have also pointed out here, most "new" things or ideas are only partly new, and that raises a problem when it comes to patenting. When you come up with an improvement to someone else's patent, the patent laws seem inadequate to resolve the resulting knot of rights. It seems clear from this discussion that our patent process needs some serious rethinking, to adapt it to modern realities.

        I don't think, though, that dropping all patent (and copyright) protection will be the best solution.
  • Aug 7 2013: In my opinion most ideas are unique. Unique means something special that is so different from the rest. What happens these days is that people add creativity to original idea to make a difference and most times creat a wow effect. Either way, that touch of extra creativity, makes a huge difference.
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    Aug 2 2013: I must need to say "A good Discussion"
    An Idea could not be Unique in any manner, Here in this world we are not alone. We are a part of big population and we contribute very less than we expect.
    I am not a pessimist but I would like to say that We all are communicative and very much related to others.
    How an idea of our could be Unique ?

    For Example - If I am a kid who is too new to this world, I can propose that we should have wings - but as we can see that one person has not just thought about it but he gave us modern Airplanes.
    Here I can ask
    Q. To whom you will give credit of Idea about Airplanes
    1). Leonardo Da Vinci
    2). Wright brothers

    So in my opinion, I'll never consider an Idea totally Unique because It always has roots in other ones.
  • Aug 1 2013: Yes. Good Point, Daniel. Thanks for the heads up on that. I stated how I think anything new becomes while you stated what it iIS!
  • Aug 1 2013: Ideas are unique to the extent that they jump beyond polarities into a paradigm-shift; however, if the shift is not well documented and acknowledged by the right people who will prove it out, then it will not recognized as an idea at all. I'm having that problem right now in what I'm calling a socioeconomic paradigm shift that works beyond any kind of collective monetary system.

    This idea is a evolutionary in human history in an area of life that usually changes through revolution. Even though the time is right for impliment it Even if the technology is available, there are cultural memes that will not change fast enough for the idea to take place without the right kind of support. Certain factors have been identified that can quickly surpass the constraints but I am without resources to take it further; this includes skill-sets and experience needed from qualified others to make this idea a living, breathing experience. for all who use it.
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    Aug 1 2013: First, tell me to what extent unique can be an idea.
    • Aug 1 2013: Unique is what happens when you put a new thwist to an old idea that makes is almost unrecognizable but delightfully refreshingly new and useful.
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        Aug 1 2013: That's what everyone keeps saying, but doesn't the 'uni-' in 'unique' suggest one, as in one-of-a-kind and not just new-kind-of-some-old-kind?
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    Jul 30 2013: Behind every idea there is a need and Inspiration.Example for need is "Quicker transportation" and inspiration is "Birds travelling faster through air". In "Faster world" today the expectations of "Invention delivery" is quicker.Hence the look out for an Inspiration immediately starts by referring past works or from the surrounding environment..Hence most(or all) of the ideas generated today aren't completely unique. Completely unique ideas are ones that have yieded Nature's creations. And any idea conceived by Human mind cannot be "completely" unique as our mind needs some spark for conceiving an idea which can only come from pre-existence of some knowledge.
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    Jul 30 2013: Paradoxically, ideas become less appropriate, less intelligent and less creative, the greater the number of people involved in formulating that idea. One would think that an agglomeration of many brains working together would be collectively super-intelligent - but no, the opposite is almost certainly true.

    There may be several explanations for this. It might be that ideas get coloured by social/political interactions and taboos, possessiveness of an idea, and fights over who gets financial reward and accolades.

    So, if the above is true, idea formation must be something to do with the deeper psychology of the individual, rather than the chaotic sociology of a group.

    I subscribe to the notion that the greatest ideas come from the silent but incredibly powerful unconscious mind of the individual. The unconscious is, in everyday life, all but inaccessible except when in a state of being half awake/half asleep, dreaming, daydreaming, or during meditation. All four states have the effect of shutting down the noisy, distracting conscious mind, allowing the powerful creativity of the unconscious to be revealed. This, I think, is where most original ideas are formed.

    The ideas from the unconscious are fragile and fleeting in nature - a bit like capturing a glimpse of something in one's extreme peripheral vision. Similarly, trying in vain to remember dreams, easily lost and forgotten. Creative types sometimes tend to keep a notebook or voice recorder with them at all times to try and translate these rare gems into a more obvious form that the consciousness can handle.

    I'm not certain whether the unconscious is a fount of known principles. I suspect not, although Jung's theory of the 'collective unconscious' is worth studying. However, the 'personal unconscious' would tend to be a repository of past personal experiences, and ideas based on those can sometimes reveal themselves as ideas related to one's own history.
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      Aug 2 2013: Thanks for the comment! I must give Plato credit for part of my reply. In one of his dialogues, he says that our senses are what separate us from truth. To die, would be separating our soul from our body/senses so we may have a much better chance of attaining universal truths. I think with more people, there is too many senses, perceptions, and biases going on that you get farther from the truth or an original idea than closer.
  • Jul 30 2013: 7, 000, 000, 000 in the world with 7, 000, 000, 000 imaginations thinking differently every moment having new ideas. A unique idea out of 7, 000, 000, 000 people depends on every single person's perspective. Critically acclaimed award winning brilliant idea's are rare but a responce to a need of every individual. Relation between you and the rest of humanity or sometimes the universe and everything within it. You can have a unique idea to yourself a unique idea to the human population a unique idea to life on earth a unique idea for the universe. But most of the time our unique ideas only can be comprehended by others who understand our own language.
  • Jul 30 2013: It depends on how we define unique. Is it doing something no-one else is doing? Is it handling an issue with a different way that no one can think of? Unique as I perceive is comparative with other people's ability. For example in the stone age, the first man came up with using stone as knife to cut food would be considered unique.
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    Jul 30 2013: If no insect or bird could fly would we be where we are today in aviation and space exploration? Would humans ever come up with this idea alone to build a craft that could travel through this fluid? I assume this would be unique. Maybe we should give credit to the doodlebug or anything round that rolled after falling from a tree for inventing the wheel.
  • Jul 29 2013: "To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires a creative imagination and marks real advance in science!" (Albert Einstein) , this is a clare way of seeing this topic, cause you may have an unique idea, but the person that have the courage of seeing the same as you from a diferent angle, has a unique idea too.
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    Jul 29 2013: Ideas.... Let see, about 600 years ago a Bavarian printer (I think he was Bavarian) figured that if he could print bibles with reusable letters quickly and cheaply he could sell a bunch of them. About the same time, A Korean king figures that if he could use 24 characters to represent his language, he could use carved wooden blocks to print out his decrees quickly and cheaply....
    I think the mother of all great ideas is quickly and cheaply....
  • Jul 28 2013: What a lovely question and a very meta-cognative one at that which for me, brought up the following questions;

    1)Are we looking at a notion being of form (the language use to express the idea) , context (a combination of variables within it`s environment), application (how that idea influences it`s environment) and/or cognitive structure (the arrangement of the idea itself).

    2)Is a role of biology included here, for example, is the idea inferred to be an expression of neurological networks which are in and of themselves unique in the context of the individual?

    3)Is the extent exclusive or inclusive? Does the entire idea have to have a uniqueness, or can a portion be unique and thusly the whole be defined by this part. If the latter, then to what proportion does the idea need to be previously undiscovered?

    4)Is there an implicit value to uniqueness of ideas? Does an idea perhaps with few or indeed no as yet understood context have greater or lesser value of one than is within some form of cognitive/social/emotional/imaginative etc framework?

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      Jul 29 2013: Wow. Thanks for the questions! I'm either brain passing gas right now or don't really know enough to answer your questions well. I can say though, I'm seeing if an idea can be universally unique, not just unique to the person that had the idea. Also, seeing tf anyone knows how we would objectively, if possible, evaluate uniqueness. Hope that helped :/
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    Jul 28 2013: I just had an idea that was unique to the fullest extent. However, in order to keep it perfectly preserved that way, I'm not going to tell any of you or any one else, what that unique idea was. I'm taking this unique idea with me to my grave. You'll just have to take my word for it. It was totally, completely, utterly unique.
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        Jul 28 2013: ...awwww... Dude.... Not cool..... I totally thought I had it.
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        Jul 29 2013: That's the scary thing about some ideas, though, too.
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        Jul 29 2013: "If you aspire to be a great thinker in your own right, you have to keep thinking until you get ahead of all the rest."

        ...or until you expire and your great thoughts disappear together with you. Sad but true.
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        Jul 30 2013: That is positive indeed. Ideas with value and potential should not deserve to die.

        Unfortunately, original ideas, although there, often do not see the light of day, for a variety of reasons.

        Which university is it you represent? Just asking out of sheer curiosity.
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    Jul 28 2013: If by 'idea' it is meant any thoughts on or regarding our universe, human endeavour or consciousness, then I would posit that none can be unique. An example could be mathematical discoveries that are attributed to two men in two countries almost simultaneously. Geniuses in fields such as physics or medicine explore new theories which are only new because they had not yet been explored by others. An idea that was unique would create something entirely new not discover something that was already in existence.
  • Jul 25 2013: An idea/thought would come into being only if there is awareness of it and as soon as we are aware of it, it is relative
    to something we already know (through personal experiences or examples). That has to be the case because awareness can only be relative, therefore there can be no such thing as an 'original kosher' idea at this plane.

    However, once we are at a more relative plane (post awareness),we can continue this discussion of whether an idea is "relatively" original and would conclude that originality is a mere judgement call. You experience the notion of an idea and then make a judgement call on it whether the idea is"original/non-original", once you have determined and convinced yourself it is original, you then sell this notion of an original idea to other peers. At this plane, depending on how widespread the awareness of that idea (body of knowledge is) is amongst the bearers of similar notions/ideas, the idea could be termed as relatively original. In conclusion. an idea could be referred as "original" only and only in terms of- degrees of originality not in absoluteness.
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      Jul 29 2013: Does originality have some clear rules or is it all perception?
      • Jul 29 2013: Good Question, first some general agreement on terms, so the context to my response is clear:
        Perception = Instant awareness of a notion
        Rules = Represent structured judgement (through inductive or deductive logic)
        on our awarenes of a notion (aka perception). Rules would be standards set by those passing a judgement on their subjective awareness of a given notion. Rules are very appealing to our mind because they can stand their own ground based on human logical reasoning.

        With those definitions,Yes, there can certainly be rules imposed on notion of originality. In fact, not just one set of rules, conflicting set of rules... to the point of chaos, all at a relative plane (post awareness/perception) though. The rules would be based on the subjective belief system of the bearers of similar notions/ideas and the judgements they pass in order to understand a concept, in this case the abstract notion called originality.

        At an absolute plane, the question would not apply, as it becomes invalid.
  • Jul 25 2013: We can start this off by saying that everything around us is the product of someone else's ideas and that we cannot form a conception of something that doesn't exist because the idea for that thing that doesn't exist would have already been thought of. For example, a unicorn doesn't exist. Correct? Yes, but the parts that make up the animal do; the ears, teeth, eyes and so on. They exist in other animals from which we base our fictional creature, aka, our unique idea. Therefore, our unique idea is a jumble of other ideas we have put together to create a whole.

    In my opinion, a good idea is one that provides value to society and changes it(society) in some form or other. Whether for good or bad would be up to the person carrying out that unique idea. A unique idea should be one that leaves you thinking one of two things: 1. "Damn, I can't believe I didn't think of that. 2 "How did he/she even come up with that?" Lets discuss these further. For #1, if the idea leaves a person thinking that, it means that somewhere in their mind they possess the knowledge/know-how to have come up with that idea. It just so happened someone though of it sooner. For #2, the person is completely astounded as to how someone thought of it because unlike in #1, they don't possess the knowledge/know-how. Therefore, a unique idea is one that uses our previous ideas, thoughts and knowledge and compiles them into one that will leave others thinking.

    A unique idea is not really a unique idea, it is just a bunch of regular ideas that have been put together but have not yet surfaced.

    I will leave you with a quote I was told was from James Jannard, the founder of Oakley. "Everything can and will be made better."

    Thanks, for reading my post :)
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      Jul 25 2013: Thank you for making your post. Interesting ideas. Your one and two examples, however, which define what makes an idea unique, are both dependent on this highly elusive yet extremely important quality called recognition. Ideas, as you define them, are only unique once they incite one of the two reactions you mention. Does a tree that falls in the forest really make no noise?

      You're assuming that all human ideas are derived from other human ideas, and not from observations of ideas in nature, such as the behavior of birds, the actions of monkeys, etc. or that of natural processes as a whole, in which cases, a unique idea IS really a unique idea, because it wasn't based on "just a bunch of regular ideas that have been put together and not surfaced" but is taken instead from direct and immediate observation of the natural world, aka reality, in which we are totally and utterly immersed.
      • Jul 26 2013: Thanks for the reply. You added to my daily brain stimulation.

        If we take a look at the behavior of birds or the actions of monkeys, the act of learning from them in itself is not an idea; they are what you said they were, behaviors and actions. For example, if you see a bird flying and you say to yourself, "Wow, I wish I could fly. Maybe I could invent a machine that'll allow me to do that." All you did was watch their behavior and try to mimic it. It only turns into a unique idea until you put your thought to work and actually make the device or at least come up with a good plan to create one. Because if you think about it, before you came along and created the flying machine, how many people thought to themselves the same thing you did? I bet a whole lot.
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          Jul 26 2013: Mmm...sure a whole lot of people had the idea and tried to realize. The one who realized it first was unique.
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          Jul 29 2013: He wouldn't be unique to the fullest extent though, right? If he had never seen anything that could fly, he wouldn't have come up with the idea. He was inspired, and although his product may have been completely unique, his idea wasn't completely unique, since it was based off an observation.
      • Jul 26 2013: True.

        What I was trying to point out however, is that the idea of watching things in nature is not a unique idea in itself but an observation. And yes, the person that came up with it first is unique because he had the sense to gather up his intelligence and create something that would leave people astounded.
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          Jul 26 2013: Okay, not a unique idea, fine. What about Good or Bad? Were they realized through observations? Or were they unique? Don't be afraid to put the stake in me. I'm weakened and confused.
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          Jul 29 2013: I'm still trying to get adjusted to how your definition of uniqueness is based off people's reactions. Idiots could find an idea incomprehensible, but genius' find it idiotic. And if youmean everyone has to find it astounding, what if a person from the past wouldn't find it astounding or unique. Then, the standard of uniqueness would change along with time. This is just stream of conscious, so feel free to get your feet wet too and respond :)

          ^Not being pushy.
      • Jul 26 2013: The good or bad for an idea would eventually come down to that person's personal beliefs and or preferences. How they were raised, what things they saw as they grew up, who influenced their lives or just plain and simple, if that person just doesn't give a damn and wants to do as he/she pleases regardless of his/her past and/or consequences. The good or bad would also be subject to however everyone else views that unique idea. For example, the extermination of the Jews by Adolf Hitler. In Hitler's mind, it was the right thing to do, but of course the majority did not agree.
      • Jul 30 2013: Hi Kai,

        I like how you responded with the "If he hadn't seen the bird fly he wouldn't of had the idea to do it." It is true that the "idea" for flying may not have been 100% unique but what good does it do you if no one can benefit from an idea that was taken from seeing a bird fly. The point I'm trying to make is still the same; unless you can astound others and somehow profit from it, either monetarily, religiously, or whatever may interest you, then your "unique" idea is just an idea in your head along with many others.

        Because we're human, we compare our ideas to those of others. When we finally come up with something that makes us think "I bet no one has thought of this before" it is because the fruit of that idea hasn't been observed; no one has made that idea into a reality. Also, if we get our idea from an animal, it may still be unique to a certain extent since the animal will not compete with us to get our idea to market/ out to the real world. People may condemn and complain that the idea was "stolen" from the animal, but that's just because they're mad that someone thought of it before they did. They just as easily had a chance to observe and create.

        The standard of uniqueness does change but it changes according to its environment.A certain unique idea will be eventually topped by another and another and so on. It feeds on previous unique ideas. And as for the first, it would have been based on different thinking than the ides that came after it but it retained its use in the world. For example, there are a bunch of different iPods. The first was constructed to focus on having music in your pocket. The ones after that kept that same idea, but just expanded into the aesthetics of the product and the technology to incorporate as to make the listening of music a better experience. Though the newer ones have touch screens and video playback capacity and what not, the main role for it is still to play audio.

        Thanks for the response!
  • Jul 25 2013: The most unique ideas lie in our imagination,there we can develop original ideas and if they are probable and their function is true,they can be actualized.
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      Jul 25 2013: And where do your unique ideas come from before they curl up in your imagination and begin to gestate?
      • Jul 25 2013: The soul, mind, or personality of a person which is our psyche and responsible for our thoughts and feelings.
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          Jul 25 2013: Thank you for that answer. I have another question. From where in the soul, mind or personality of a person which is our psyche and responsible for our thoughts and feelings do these unique ideas come from?
      • Jul 27 2013: According to Nobel Prize Winner Roger Sperry it's the right side of the brain.Hormones produced from glands in our endocrine system act as neurotransmitters,these nerve cells transmit information to receptors in our brain,they're made up of atoms and these atoms were created as a result of the Big Bang Theory or some other creation of the universe.I guess what ever created our universe would ultimately be responsible for where any idea unique or not comes from.
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          Jul 27 2013: Thank you. That explanation I can accept. The one you first made I could not. But now I have another question. Are you suggesting that uniqueness ultimately resides in the Big Bang?
      • Jul 27 2013: I'd say for anything to be,have been or become,it must first exist in some way and if the Big Bang is the reason that anything exists,has existed or will exist at all,then ultimately it is the creator of anything that ever was,is or will be.
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          Jul 28 2013: You know scientists are suggesting that there wasn't just the Big Bang, but multiple Bing Bangs, much in the same way that there used to be just our solar system and then other solar systems and then one galaxy and then other galaxies.
      • Jul 29 2013: That's an interesting theory Daniel,thanks,i'll have to do some reading on that.
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          Jul 29 2013: This probably isn't a very helpful suggestion, because I'm not positive as to who the TED speaker was, but I'm pretty sure it was Brian Greene that made mention of it with some graphics that definitely helped me picture just what in the hell he was talking about. If it wasn't him it was Brian Cox or Martin Amis. Not sure.