Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mental events

Sort of as a result of the interdependence of life and intellectual work, ideas (understood simply as creativity in one’s discipline) rarely occur from pure concentration on the abstracted problems of intellectual work. A sort of decollage, if you will, a thinking by analogy and intuition, the cross-classification of life and work, produces the best ideas. I find this concept easier to grasp in terms of a conjuncture. At any given moment the combination of the books you are reading, the environment you are in, the emotional sensations you are experiencing, the intentions that impel you to think, are utterly unique. And ideas are the mental events that result from such conjunctures.

— From Robert Minto’s reflections on C. Wright Mills’s essay “On Intellectual Craftmanship”.

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