Reflecting on my year in space last year and my theme of ideas for the new year.
For a few years now, inspired by Kath Murdoch, I have been choosing a word to focus on each year. Last year I made a change, where rather than thinking about outcomes, I instead turned to inquiry.
Inspired by a few reflections, I wondered if maybe I was approaching it all the wrong way? Rather than having something with explicit or implied outcomes, maybe I needed a new approach, one focused on an open-ended concept? Although Kath Murdoch talks about nudging you along a path, maybe the nudge that matters most is an inquiring mind?
This is something that CGP Grey touches upon with the idea of a yearly theme that is ‘broad, directional and resonant’. Although this focus may not have a direct impact on my work and relationships, for me it helps keep me focused when life becomes so busy. Last year I explored space. After my focus on flânerie, I had wondered about the space that helps make such practices possible. I had a heap of books I intended to jump into, such as The Production of Space and Assemblage Theory. However, then the COVID-19 hit and ironically changed the space. Instead, my collected reflections seemed to became about online learning, remote work and social distancing. Still thinking about some of these things, I felt that an interesting theme to dwell on was the notion of ideas. Here then are some of my initial thoughts:
- History of ideas: How are ideas developed over time?
- Ideas in space and time: What is the impact of context on ideas?
- Bad ideas, good ideas and the way ideas produce other ideas: What is the difference between good and bad?
- Musical ideas: What does it mean to have an original idea in music?
- Assemblages and ideas: What is an idea and how does this differ from an assemblage?
- Creating the space for ideas to fester: What are the conditions required for ideas to prosper?
- Ideas and manifestos: What is the difference between an idea and an ideal?
So my journey continues from capacity to communication to intent to flânerie to space to ideas. Appreciate any thoughts or ideas about resources on the theme of ideas.
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My One Word for 2021 is Ideas by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
I like this idea. My own word for the year is “anthropology”, though I haven’t written it out yet as you have.
I can’t help but thinking you picked a helluva a year to choose “space.”
Given your current word, the first few things that come immediately to mind and which you may appreciate are:
Matthew Ridley’s talk on When Ideas have sex
Richard Dawkins work on the idea of memes in The Selfish Gene (Oxford, 1976). While the whole book is a classic, he’s got a chapter or two specifically on memes where the term was coined.
And finally, I was at a presentation last year that had some fascinating framing around the difference between what we mean when we say idea versus concept.
Read on: Feb 6, 2021 at 21:50