Yesterday, I was writing about Shakespeare and the fantastic time and place he lived within. Probably those people didn’t realize the impact their actions were going to have on the entire world for hundreds of years to come; but, during Shakespeare’s life, England went from being an insignificant military and intellectual power, an island off the coast of the real world, to becoming the foundation of the greatest political, military and social expansion the world has ever seen. Of course there were others who captured continents and founded civilizations, Alexander the Great, Qin Shi Huang, Muhammad, Genghis Khan, Cortes, but what these few Englishmen, in their little boats, did was to convert the whole world into Englishmen.
Nonsense, everyone will say, I’m not an Englishman, I’m an American, I’m an Indian, I’m Chinese, I’m Japanese, I’m Indonesian, I’m whatever – but in nearly every country that, “I’m not,” can be spoken in English. Clearly, Elizabeth, Drake, Shakespeare and a few others set into motion something which conquered the world, and it was far more than just guns, germs and steel — it was their ideas that worked. The possession of better ideas could be said about those other conquerors who went before, but the English somehow did it better. People may look back at the tools or the diseases that brought them victories, but those tools were fashioned by people, and those people were filled with new ideas, and not just any ideas, but ideas that worked, and worked better than other people’s ideas. They developed systematic ways of understanding the world around them, and then developed ways to put that understanding into action. That is why the Englishmen flourished, and flourished in foreign lands.
Today, one might ask, what, where and when are similar core ideas, and core things happening? Are there tipping points of huge things transitioning inevitably over into something totally new? Or, are there tiny sparks of a new idea so profound that the world will totally change, and change quickly, when those sparks touch tinder? The problem at the moment appears to be that whatever it is seems to be happening everywhere. It’s like the Big Bang in that it is in every direction and here too, but you can’t perceive it.
If you are connected to the internet you are being being fire-hosed with a very large dose of information. Finding the content that is meaningful is the challenge, but what is meaningful seems to be slipping away. We must take in the whole thing as a single gigantic lump, or nothing, but both of those options are impossible. Possibly a good search strategy is to just put in several obscure words associated with what you are interested in, for a filter, and send it off to Google. Look at those results and then put a minus sign in front of those parts of the search results you don’t like. This is cyclic searching, or tinkering, and it is reminiscent of evolution.
Evolve ideas by cycling repeatedly with ideas.