Silky threads connecting seemingly disjoint sets

M.C. Escher, Sky and Water I, June 1938


  • There is no such thing as an original idea. Everything arises from what is already there. There might be times when a particular idea is hailed as revolutionary or “never seen before” but in reality, it may be a random mutation of ideas which are already in existence. Random bits from many ideas are brought together and mutated to form a seemingly non-existent idea. Creativity is another form of genetic engineering.
  • Where do our ideas come from? Most of our concepts come from societies in which we are brought up. Even those ideas we think we get ourselves come from various sources which we have read, heard, known or interacted. Our brains don’t manufacture thoughts in direct ways that muscles exert forces. Instead, we have to engage ourselves with a vast amount of knowledge, resource and ideas to have our own random mutation of ideas. Our brains feed on past experiences as inputs and make the best out of current situations by doing rigorous pattern matchings.


  • Human beings form tribes to protect themselves, both from predators and other tribes. Therefore, having a social status becomes a part of surviving in the game of evolution. Those who have better places are better respected in their tribes and thus, they have better chance of surviving as they are treated better and taken more seriously. Those who are accepted by society have better chance to making their offspring stand out better among their peers. I would rather say this is a kind of social psychology playing a great part in the game of survival of fittest. Everything we do, buy, crave and have is connected to this urge to fit and stand out amongst our peers. People try their best to secure their places in society by buying things which define them or which society use to define people. Reflect carefully upon this — “We are defined by our societies”. There are outliers who brandish their hands and go against norms of their societies but most of us try to live according to expectations of our societies. Imagine a culture where long nails are the symbol of high social status. Those who have long nails are hailed as successful and powerful and thus have more secure places in their society. So, people in such society will try to keep long nails as much as we try to get higher degrees, better paying jobs, bigger houses, faster cars and so on. All the financial institutions, all the rules and regulations, everything which we put in place to have the illusion of perpetuity are merely products of our society. But sometimes, we are caught up in our own ill designs.

Do we define what we are or are we defined what we have to be?