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Jason Yeh

SFU Alumni
Arts + Social Sciences › Criminology

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jason looking up at the sky
Absurd and illogical ideas help us so we do not become stuck - by pushing our thinking from its usual patterns. Every idea is a stepping stone that can lead to something significant, so be more accepting by being more creative

Our current thinking culture does not usually accept absurd or illogical ideas well. Often, we are scoffed at or ridiculed for putting out these kinds of ideas as if they are an indication of our intelligence. Through such experiences, we become inclined to hold our seemingly unreasonable ideas to ourselves, in fear of and for our personal protection from being judged. Logical thinking has engulfed our culture: in education, business, politics, communication and the socialization process - all for very good reasons. Even though logical thinking is such an important facet of our society, we should not dismiss absurd or illogical ideas from our thinking culture because they hold great creative possibilities.

Our Mind

Our mind - our brain - is incredible in so many ways. At the age of 2, our brain begins to encode, store and retrieve information. Much of this information is categorized and set up into patterns by the brain. The brain is very much a pattern recognition machine. According to Stephan Wolfram, the creator of Wolfram Alpha:

"Pattern recognition is the ability of an individual to consider a complex set of inputs, often containing hundreds of features, and make a decision based on the comparison of some subset of those features to a situation which the individual has previously encountered or learned."

Our ability to recognize patterns aid us in solving difficult and simple problems in our professional and personal life. It is the reason why experiences, such as those stated in job posts, are significant.

Whenever someone suggests an absurd or illogical idea during a business meeting or at a friend's gathering, more than likely the person will become under attack by criticism or ridicule. This is because these kinds of ideas are not recognized as patterns by our brain. We respond by saying "that is weird" or "that does not seem right" and condemn anything that is not a recognized pattern.

Creativity Is Not About Patterns

Whenever we look at art, technology, fashion and business, several thoughts come into our mind: Is it original, is it fresh, and does it violate what we already know?  These three thoughts are in fact the staple of creativity - the ability to go beyond conventional ideas and patterns to form new interpretations and methods. Creativity is not about patterns, but about breaking them.

Creativity is also very much about possibilities and experimentation. Our world today would not be same without these two elements, and it is the power of absurd and illogical ideas that creates the foundation of innovation. Concept designs are incredibly popular in technology. Although most of the time we believe the product would cost us a fortune or that it is simply too good to be true, the design is filled with possibilities and experimentation by the creators. Without possibilities, you cannot make progress. And without progress, we are stuck.

Absurd and illogical ideas help us so we do not become stuck - by pushing our thinking from its usual patterns. Every idea is a stepping stone that can lead to something significant, so be more accepting by being more creative.

  • Jason Yeh Sep 3, 2012
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About the Author

Jason Yeh

SFU Alumni
Arts + Social Sciences › Criminology
Jason is a Criminology Alumni who is hooked onto policing as a career. But that isn't all, he is also hooked on helping others become the best and strongest versions of themselves. Through his blog, Brave-Up, he looks to educate, motivate, inspire and raise questions about counter-productive social norms within our society. "Man up" is now an archaic term - because Brave-Up is NOW. You can find Jason on Twitter at @BraveUp_jy.

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