Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Good thinking, recorded

Lent 2017 - Day 7

Reading back old posts on this blog, I find myself asking more often than not these days whether I haven't already passed peak creativity. Have already I thought all my best ideas? After all, most of the Greats of Popular Music had hit their peak before they were 30, and those that are still around are doing little more than revisiting their greatest hits written decades ago...

Well thought-through, original ideas based on inspired conjectures should be captured, moved forward, then pushed, extended, towards a deeper and wider understanding of our human condition, then shared and tested in dialogue with like-minded people, resulting in better quality ideas, robust, able to stand up to scrutiny, a synthesis, a new standard, a new foundation from which to strive further.

It does take self-discipline to write down those thoughts. For the past ten years I've carried a notebook in my pocket everywhere I go, but sadly too few of my more interesting thoughts have been recorded. The content of my notebooks, each containing about three months' worth of notes, is around 95% work-related and a mere 5% is inspired observations and insights. Some of these thoughts end up in my blog posts, some don't. They'll often not make the mark when subjected to subsequent scrutiny. "I thought that was interesting or inspired? It's banal..."

Many people have had the experience, after four pints of ale quaffed during the course of a long and fascinating conversation with interesting people, that they have captured the secrets of the universe, only to forget them after the fifth pint of ale. Jotting down ideas - then revisiting them when sober - is a good litmus test for whether you indeed stumble upon any philosophical revelations.

As it happens, today I have filled my most recent notebook - begun on 5 December 2016; it was a fresh notebook, bought a few months ago, is sitting in my desk at work. All are around one-quarter A4 in size, all fit in my trouser pocket. Most have elastic bands to hold them together and another elastic band to hold a ball-point pen in place. Below: gathered in one place, my notebooks, going back to 2007.

I should have started a long, long time ago; notebooks and ball-point pens were around all my life. Writing down those startling thoughts is a discipline, but I find myself raising my camera to my eye far more often than taking out my notebook and jotting down some thoughts. This is a good time of year to work on the habit of writing down thoughts as they happen, rather than hope I'll remember them. Looking back at old blog posts, I can see that I've had some good ideas that I did manage to enshrine for posterity - and a good thing too, as I forgotten I ever had them. Going back and re-reading helps cement them in my memory, much like revising for exams helps studying.

Capturing thoughts to my smartphone will no doubt come soon as voice-recognition software and mobile apps will appear allowing me to dictate in the phone and turn my speech into the digital word, to appear directly on screen. But for now, notebook and ballpoint pen must suffice.

Thoughts rush through our mind all day - and indeed all night too, in dream form. Capturing thoughts that can be useful tools in the continual improvement of our lives, towards the goal of fulfilling our potential here on earth should have been a commandment. It's something we should all do, a natural part of the process of human growth.

This time last year:
Spirit of place and our own spirituality

This time two years ago:
Poland's road death toll falls but remains too high

This time three years ago:
Putin: tactical genius, strategic failure

This time five years ago:
My photos turned into beautiful watercolours

This time six years ago:
Silver birches and blue skies

This time eight years ago:
Jeziorki's wetlands in late winter (2009)

This time nine years ago:
Jeziorki's wetlands in late winter (2008)

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