Serendipity and Randomly Generated Ideas

I just finished writing my thoughts about randomly generated ideas. As I reflected on my writeup, more ideas crossed my mind, randomly. So I just want to write them here.

As I suggested, randomly generated ideas can be both good and bad. And when they are good they can be quite beneficial. As a matter of fact, randomly generated ideas can sometimes be a lot better than the ideas we try to generate with conscious effort. I wrote about jokes. It is my personal experience that a comedian or a funny person does a lot better at entertaining people while performing extemporaneously. If jokes are read out from a script, the audience can feel less excited. Even if the jokes are memorized, their exhibition can sound artificial.

Similarly, consider an adept player of badminton. consider a scenario when the shuttle is thrown towards his left side in an intense rally. He figures out at once that playing the shot with his backhand will end up in a loose shot and put the opponent in control of the rally. Instead, he immediately decides to about turn on his feet, and throw the shuttle over the net towards its right end. He flicks his racket accordingly as it is normally done in squash. He does this with so much alacrity that everything appears to have been done in a split of a second. But in doing all of this he had to do a lot of decision making in his mind so as to take the prime shot. The mind, however, may have generated a number of maneuvers randomly and the subject picked up one consciously.

Randomly generated ideas can lead to some luck in other feats as well and we can think of other examples. In science, for instance, a scientist can have a serendipitous moment just because he instantaneously conceived an idea that was generated randomly by the mind. There are many such accounts of this kind of serendipity in popular science literature.

But serendipity through randomly generated ideas does not begin to follow simply from out of nowhere. The mind needs to be trained for a considerable time before it begins generating problem-solving ideas. In some cases this time can span many years.

Photo by Håkan Dahlström

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Serendipity and Randomly Generated Ideas by Psyops Prime is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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