Captain Jonathan North Priluck

Hello Captain Priluck,

Thanks for the note. You’ve got noting to worry about as I changed enough of the obvious recognizable details so that the real Jonathan (who’s not named Jonathan, of course) isn’t uncovered but that all of the relevant points remain. In fact, the only people this article is absolutely NOT about are Jonathans — specifically in the healthcare industry. : )

Kudos to you for being successful despite having three PhD degrees. I have to say that the majority of PhDs Ive met and heard about who have founded businesses haven’t been successful because their brilliance has been so validated by their degrees that they are incapable of believing that they don’t know everything they need. Often, they have the opinion that no subject is as difficult as the one/s they majored in so business ought to be a snap. It takes real work to remain open, curious, and respectful of what we don’t know and the skills others have.

BTW, I’m on the board of Teague, Boeing’s design firm, so I get my airplane “thing” on a few times a year when I visit Seattle and Everitt. It’s not an easy business but it’s fun and fascinating.

As for ideas, I suppose it depends on how you’re defining them but, yes, I believe they do — at least, outside the brain. Ideas are stored and communicated in many ways, including writings, books, etc. and for the physical versions of these, they have to. Or, at least, the objects that support the communication of ideas have mass. Outside the physical, ideas need to be stored in other ways and communicated electronically. You could say they must have mass since electrons have mass but those electrons weigh the same whether they’re communicating an idea of random signals. Do the ideas, themselves, have a mass different than any other piece of data? in this case, probably not.

Now, in the case of the brain, I guess the answer relies on whether neurons associated with ideas are used or structured differently than any other information in our brains. Like digital media, they require signals for storage and communication but it’s not clear whether the signals for an idea are any different than the signals necessary to communicate that you’ve stepped on something sharp. The other thing we need to verify would be if when ideas restructure our brains, it causes us to build more brain cells than if we had no ideas at all. In that case, if true, than again, ideas could be said to have mass.

REALLY interesting question. What do you think?

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