Old Fashioned Way Of Saying You Are Dying Or Dead Ancient and Recent Proof You Can Kill Ideas

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Ancient and Recent Proof You Can Kill Ideas

People say you can’t kill an idea.

But ideas die all the time, both from natural causes and murder.

An example of an idea:

Do you remember what the hot political issue was in 2014? Of course, groups of all kinds talked about all the usual things. Health, defense, social security, racism, corruption…

But you couldn’t go a day without someone talking about income inequality.

Everyone compared the graphs of this to her charts. The Occupy Movement drew attention to itself and everyone was sitting on it.

Then Trump decided to run for president. Obviously, that’s a tough challenge for any billionaire—but especially that billionaire—to navigate. So, instead, he talked about building a ‘great and beautiful wall’.

Boom. Suddenly the topic du jour was immigration.

Chalk it up to luck or skill, mass manipulation or an idea whose time has come. Either way, the old idea was dead—or at least bleeding out.

Want a more detailed example?

Yes, I can’t afford one. How can I? If an idea is dead, then I don’t know about it.

But I can point to an interesting counter-example, which is one of the last points of political correctness:

China.

If you look at Chinese history, it seems like endless innovation. The related Wikipedia article lists hundreds of inventions—above, it mentions the “Four Great Inventions”: paper, the compass, gunpowder, and the printing press.

These are just amazing scientific discoveries – and China invented them in ancient history. What other country can boast such a history?

Better question: how did they manage it?

Genetic dominance? Sure thing.

A culture that fosters innovation? There is not. Chinese society, then and now, hardly accepts radical and verbal thinking.

I have a theory.

And my theory explains why China invented these things but, you know, they didn’t use them.

Not to make a sore point of them, but the Century of Humiliation was tied to an alliance of Western powers forming China. They did this, in part, thanks to their superior technology. But it was ‘higher’ because European navies had more cannons for cruises and – they used, wait for it, gunpowder.

Industrial-era Europe used the same technology discovered in ancient China…so how could it be better?

My theory is simple:

China has been politically stable for most of its history. Of course, the dynasties ended in blood, they were invaded several times, then the confusion happened with the Cultural Revolution.

But look at every corner of the world for thousands of years. Most other cultures have collapsed and rebuilt dozens of times.

The buzzword these days is ‘confusion’! At that time, it was ‘stable!’ Industries have remained the same for centuries, unlike today’s wave of technology, so stability is on your side.

Because, then, new inventions might come every few decades, through dumb luck or inspiration.

But without a stable commercial system, that idea will not leave the village.

And without strong rule of law, that village will sooner or later become bandits’ food.

So one society can politically collect and share its inventions, but other societies will lose them to entropy.

But if it is too stable, then it will struggle to use those inventions.

In Europe, the press was a player. In ancient China, it may have only strengthened the existing game.

Maybe I’m right, maybe not. At best, it’s a partial explanation… though it fits the facts nicely.

(Even if they have terrible effects – most of our good ideas are lost in time.)

But let’s assume it’s true.

You can be sure that I will use this as a metaphor.

It’s a call to you to embrace chaos and routine, because too much of either is suffocating you.

And a reminder that nothing is permanent.

But the big one?

You have so many great ideas – so many solutions to the problems you face. But they alone do not do you any good.

Gunpowder is less useful as an innovation today than gunpowder was as a weapon a thousand years ago.

Learn how to act on your thoughts and instincts. Another thing is like letting foreign imperialists put their initials on your back.

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