Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

aseidman's picture

The Origin of Thought

"Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear."

This quote, profound as it may seem (or seem to be trying to be) is actually from cult film Empire Records.  It does seem to effectively sum up one of the arguments we had in our small group this past thursday, though.

 We accessed, in class, Dennett's reference to the fact that many authors claim that ideas "simply come to them" or that their characters take on a life of their own independent of the thought of the author his or herself. This of course brings to mind the frustrating chicken-or-the-egg style dilemna, "which thought came first? Where did they originate? If all thoughts are just memes, creations of other thoughts, where did the first thought begin?"

I'm bothered, of course, by the assertion Dennett seems to be making that creativity doesn't really exist. I follow his reasoning and I see his point, but the idea that nothing we could ever come up with would be original or truly creative is very worriesome and disheartening. The fact that we can't really explain where the firs thoughts came from kind of helps that difficulty. Sometimes I'm glad we can't explain everything. I"m not sure I like that fact about myself.




To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 7 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.