How to Have Radical Ideas
The following tips on how to have radical new ideas come from
the original Radical
Thinking Course on my website radicalnewthoughts.com.
The course is no longer offered because I decided to use the
content for other projects, including my book The Thousand
Mile Hole, which might still be published in 2011, but had
been delayed. Though these are short descriptions of methods
discussed in detail in the course, they are still useful if you
By the way, the word radical has a bad name lately, with people
routinely assuming it to mean "extreme" in a negative
way. But this is not the only meaning. The word "radical"
comes from the Latin radicalis, radic-, or radix, meaning root
or more at root. Common definitions in modern dictionaries include,"of,
relating to, or proceeding from a root," and , "of
or relating to the origin : fundamental." Radical thinking
then, is thinking that gets at the root of things. It is deeper
thinking. Here are some methods:
Questioning in general leads to a deeper understanding of
things, but in particular it can help to question the purpose
being served by an object, a system or an idea. What is the purpose?
Is it acknowledged? Is it served in this case? Is it appropriate?
What about more fundamental or hidden purposes?
The obvious purpose of voting, for example, is to elect political
leaders who serve us. I don't find that my vote ever elects anyone
I want, nor who serve my interests, and we might investigate
why that is. We can also see that a more fundamental purpose
for voting is to get a particular kind of government - one which
enacts the policies we prefer. Looked at that way, we might wonder
if there are better ways than voting to accomplish this goal.
As an aside, I often wonder if my time would be better spent
calling and convincing five friends to vote for my chosen candidate
rather than bothering to vote myself. This brings up the issue
of the real value of voting in national elections that have never
(so far) been decided by one vote.
Question Those Premises
Anytime you want radical ideas that are new (at least to you),
question the premise of existing ideas and arguments. People
may argue about the best way to outlaw and punish marijuana use,
for example, while sharing the premise that making drugs illegal
actually reduces crime in society. A truly radical approach is
not an argument for a better way to outlaw the drug, but to question
the premise. Does outlawing marijuana reduce crime. Experience
and data suggests the answer is no. The history of alcohol prohibition
shows just the opposite, with the illegality and the resulting
profitability of alcohol directly contributing to more violence.
From there you can decide if there are other premises for
such prohibitions, or whether they are necessary at all. Whatever
ideas you have, they are likely to be different from most of
the thinking on the subject. Always question premises.
Use Metaphors as Tools
Man: thinking animal or emotional computer? The metaphor you
choose determines how you think about the subject, so choose
to use many different ones for different ideas. Do laws guide
us down the right roads, or restrain us like chains? Does a "marketplace
of ideas," lead to the promotion of those ideas that make
the most money over those which are closer to the truth? A dozen
metaphors may show you a dozen different aspects of something,
and sometime give you a deeper understanding.
Use Different Perspectives as Tools
Metaphors are often just a way to create another perspective,
but you can do this more directly by thinking about the existing
ways things are seen. A business problem can be considered from
the perspective of the owner, a customer, suppliers, competing
businesses, or the earth itself. Think about how an issue would
appear to a person from another culture, or another solar system.
Look at things (in your mind) from five miles up or five years
down the road.
This is just part of a review that covered a dozen more ways
to have radicaly differentl ideas - and hopefully the occasional
useful one as well. These and the other were covered in much
more detail - as they will be in some of my books. I will also
introduce the others in future pages of this site - and announce
those pages in The Mind Power Report.