Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I was walking down the hall in the motel and a girl of about six was standing in the partially closed door of her room.  She was speaking to someone inside the room and saying,"If I were you, I would..."  In answer, a higher and younger voice inside the room said,"Well, if I were you,..."  From the voice tone and pacing on the words, it was clear that the younger speaker was not going to be lead by the older one and that the rejoinder was inspired by the form and intent of older girl's comment.  

I don't know if you have heard of the big deal being made over the discovery of "mirror neurons", the brain cells in chimps or some apes which fire when the animal observes another member of the group doing something.  Just as the internet and open meetings and open source projects have shown an amazing ability to have one idea or comment inspire many others, these parts of the brain imply that we are wired to learn and sympathize with each other.  A long standing debate in some philosophical circles was over the source of ideas: do we get them from examples from others or do we create new ideas from our own minds or both or what?

When our older daughter was about 4, she was instructing her sister in vocabulary and word production, gratis.  It was an activity inspired by love and offered just for the enhancement of her sister's knowledge.  Unfortunately, the older sister was still forming her own speech skills and could not yet say "sh" or some instances of "f".  So, when she told her sister the word for the contents of the goldfish bowl, she pointed to the fish and clearly said,"Fleh".  We both laughed realizing that one daughter would be hampered for life by the other's examples.  Whew!  She wasn't.  

Many books and witty comments from writers advise the beginner to steal.  Look for good ideas and use them.  In academia, citing good ideas along with a citation of the source, is required as evidence that one knows the writings on a given subject.  Much research depends on publishing results in the hopes of inspiring further results and progress.  You have probably heard the saying," Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."  Wily human brains can often take an idea or a design and use it to spring to a slightly modified version that is somehow better or more fitting or more striking.  Sometimes that process is referred to as "tweaking" or "elaboration".

Main blog: Fear, Fun and Filoz
Main web site: Kirbyvariety

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby