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Where Do Ideas Come From - Essay Example

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Every development made by man in all areas that he is engaged in is always prompted by an idea. Social advancement and transformations in the fields of economy, politics, and culture are also results of ideas coming from leaders in such respective areas. …
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Where Do Ideas Come From
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Where Do Ideas Come From

Without ideas, there are basically no new things to speak of. Apparently, novelties are only possible because there were ideas that came first and when realized resulted in these new things. However, while it is easy to conclude that so many things in this world came from ideas, from the mental constructs of man, the issue of where do ideas come from remain to this day an unresolved issue for some because of contrasting perspectives. One camp has a metaphysical perspective, which insists that ideas are simply the imaginations of the human mind that is not in any way related to the physical or objective conditions. Another camp has a religious or supernatural point of view on the matter; it maintains that ideas come from superior or divine beings and planted in man’s mind in the form of inspiration. The third camp, however, bases its argument on more scientific grounds; it explains that ideas are mental constructs resulting from the appreciation by man of the objective conditions surrounding him with the use of his senses. Of the three different answers to the question of where ideas come from, the metaphysical and supernatural points of view share so much in common. Both essentially maintain that ideas are not in any way related to the material world but are results of man’s perspective that is absolutely independent from objective realities. The belief that these are inspiration may just be meant to give credit to the God that he believes in but ultimately, the ideas are still products of his own imaginations. However, a deeper study of the ideas that man can have in relation to the objective conditions that surround and confront him often shows that he is actually influenced by factors that are external to him. It is therefore more accurate to conclude that ideas may come from the internal, particularly the mind, but these are also shaped by external conditions which man may not have control over. Ultimately, the third argument regarding the origin of ideas, which is that these are influenced by objective conditions, is the right perspective. The adherents of the metaphysics and the supernatural would insist that the human mind is an object in which inspiration from above or from within would emerge. In Theory of Forms, Plato does not only isolate idea from material world. He actually gave so much importance to ideas while negating the relevance of existence of the material. However, such form of subjectivism actually disregards also the fact that the human senses are also factors for determining the essence of the material and that even before man could label and define a stone as a stone, it was already there. This just means that before the idea, there was already matter. In fact, the human mind itself, which the adherents to metaphysics and the supernatural would say is where ideas are created independently or planted by external beings as inspiration, is matter. Before such inspiration could develop, the mind, which is material, has to exist first. Without the mind, whether inspired from a divine being or not, no ideas would be created. The mind, therefore, is a key requirement for the creation of ideas. Since the mind is material, this only proves that concrete objective or material conditions exist prior to the development of ideas. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels explained in The German Ideology that “consciousness is the product of man evolving in natural circumstances, in other words that consciousness has a natural origin” (Bloch 136). This means that man’s ideas can never be isolated from what he observes in his natural surroundings. One principal reason for this is that it is the mind that creates ideas but before such mind performs its task of construction, it first gathers the necessary materials. This ... Read More
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