Crazy thoughts on how ideas spread

An idea can spread and disappear quickly. The ideas that survive for thousands of years usually spread very slowly. It is not the rule but it is often the case.

Historical Shiva lived 7000 years ago. Historical Tehuti lived 6000 years ago. Krishna lived 3500 years ago. Their teachings survived for thousands of years. We still write commentaries on their teachings. They still inspire us. Which personalities of the 20th and 21st centuries will be remembered 7000 years from now? Which ideas will have the staying power?

I am fascinated by the process behind the spreading of ideas. Not just the major ideas, I am very curious about how videos go viral on the internet, how people get famous, how a melody catches on, what makes a movie sell, and how books and blogs get readers. It looks random but clearly it is not a random process.

For the impatient readers

If you are an impatient reader like me you’d probably want to see my list of factors that determine the fate of ideas first

  • Spiritual charge
  • Beauty and elegance
  • Strong feelings
  • Resonance
  • Universality
  • Simplicity
  • Originality
  • Substance
  • Clarity
  • Unification potential
  • Network externalities
  • Replication
  • Citations and links
  • Promotion
  • Factors specific to science and mathematics
  • Circulation of ideas by other non-material ways
  • Zeitgeist
  • Archetypes
  • Karmic reasons
  • Cosmic Mind

The last 2 factors are all encompassing. The Cosmic Mind and the karmic reasons explain everything but explain nothing at the same time. This is similar to the situation in science where scientists try to find explanations without mentioning God because the concept of God explains everything and nothing at the same time.

Spiritual charge

What I learned during my investigations is that there is only one Universal Teacher in the universe. All true teachers (gurus, murshids, and all the Self-realized human beings) are one with the Universal Teacher. They are different expressions of the same Universal Teacher.

The Universal Teacher uses us all to deliver messages all the time and comes closer during crisis times. This happened many times at many places. The historical personalities have different names but the Universal Teacher who teaches through them is the same.

The words of the Universal Teacher(s) are spiritually charged. Their words create long lasting vibrations in the primordial fabric of the universe. These vibrations can last for thousands of years.

All human beings have the capacity to charge their ideas with spiritual content. Labor of love is recognized. Sharing your experiences of love in the form of art, music and writing, science and mathematics can be very powerful.

Remember the definition of power: force times the number of times the force is applied. The effect of the spiritual charge is small in force but great in power. The prolonged application of the small force results in a powerful effect. This is how spiritual power works. Spiritual force is very subtle but it is very long lasting. Physical forces can be great but they dissipate quickly.

Beauty and elegance

In all aspects of love there is an esthetic factor which is best described by the word beauty. Without this esthetic factor we could not feel love. Beauty is spiritual because it brings us to love. This is exactly why ideas with beauty and elegance create a deeper impression and therefore last longer.

If you focus on a symbol of beauty such as a rose, and ideate on the source of beauty, the mind soars. If you focus on a symbol of love, such as the face of a baby, and ideate on the source of love, the heart burns with ecstasy. Ideas with beauty and elegance may cause such experiences.

The criterion of beauty is used even in science to judge the promise of new theories. The mathematical beauty is often invoked to claim that the theory is closer to the reality. Beauty is obviously at the forefront of human relations and it is the most important factor in arts and music.

Beauty is another factor that determines the fate of ideas.

Strong feelings

Artists charge their masterpieces with emotions and feelings. Great artists have the capacity to transfer their strong feelings to their art, music and writing. This is similar to spiritual charge but different because not all feelings are spiritual. Even the negative feelings can be transferred to objects so the persons interacting with those objects in various media can be affected negatively.

Artists, musicians and writers have great responsibility in this respect. They can make their works of art to spread and last long by charging them with strong feelings but they also bear the karmic responsibility for doing this because their feelings will be alive in the universe for many years.

Resonance

Devotional songs and poetry have always sustained my spiritual practice. Sometimes a single song inspires us so deeply that it stays with us forever. I envy musicians because music touches the soul. Some poems are like that too. A single poem or a single song resonates in the universe for a long time. Lucky are those who receive these songs and poems. We honor them for their gift and thank them for sharing their love with us.

When we publish and promote our ideas there has to be receptive minds out there otherwise our ideas will be hanging in the supra-mental realm of the universe.

We receive ideas from outside all the time. Outside ideas rarely germinate in our mind because they don’t resonate in us. We internalize the ideas that resonate with us. When we internalize an idea we feel that it is our own. This is an important factor for the acceptance of an idea.

Universality

Universal solutions to the local problems will last longer. In matters of communication presenting universal ideas in a localized way will create deeper impression.

Simplicity

Yunus Emre expressed the highest spiritual truth of Divine Love, the states of mind during the spiritual journey, and the Sufi metaphysics based on the concept of Unity of Being in simple terms in his poetry. So did Kabir. The ideas they presented are very abstract but they found a way to present those abstract ideas in simple language. This was the most important factor for their longevity.

In his wonderful book “Road to Reality” Roger Penrose mentions that the Euler rule \displaystyle e^{i \pi } + 1 = 0 is “almost mystical” because it relates the 5 fundamental numbers 0, 1, i, π and e to each other. Euler rule is mystical and powerful because of its simplicity.

Originality

It is almost impossible to come up with a totally new idea. There is nothing new in the universe. It may be a new idea among human beings on this planet but I guarantee you that it will not be a new idea in the universe. Most probably, some other sentient being on a different planet has come up with the same idea before it appeared on this planet. Having said that the nuances of an idea can be infinite in number. Originality still counts. Originality will be a strong factor on how ideas spread and survive.

Substance

Substantive ideas lack simplicity and they have a disadvantage in the short term but they will be appreciated in the long term.

Clarity

Two of my most favorite physicists are Richard Feynman and Gerard t’Hooft. They have written physics papers with exceptional clarity. Their theories had substance too but their clarity of thought was the primary factor behind their success. Their clarity of thought allowed them to formulate substantive theories and their clarity of exposition was the main reason why their theories received recognition.

Unification potential

Ideas that provide fresh new perspectives may or may not have the unification potential. If the new perspective provides a common mental framework for our models of nature then it may have a special consideration. Simplicity, clarity, universality criteria apply here. There is a quality that cannot be reduced to one of the factors mentioned in this article, I call that quality unification potential.

Network externalities

There are nonlinear network effects that can be summarized by saying that 1 plus 1 is greater than 2.  This is a weird but real effect. As more people join a network there will be more benefits for each person. The social networks will be more useful and effective as more people join.

If your idea has a characteristic that makes it a candidate for a network effect then it will be shared (re-blogged, re-tweeted) by more people and hopefully go viral.

Replication

Viruses spread by replication. Ideas spread by replication too. If you formulate your idea in such a way that people find it easy to internalize then they may replicate it as is or may modify it slightly and send it back to the universe.

Citations and links

Nothing is forever. Writings on the web are very ephemeral. Web sites and platforms die. Even if the platforms continue the rankings of the web pages will decay in time. If people are not citing your work you will be forgotten sooner or later. The web is very much like the scientific world in that sense. Citation is king.

In physics or other physical sciences the the theories age very quickly. The older models and theories are replaced with newer models and theories. Compared to mathematics physics ideas will not last long but citation prolongs the life of physics ideas. We still cite Newton and Einstein. I guess anyone who invents/discovers a better theory of gravitation will be remembered forever. The mechanism behind the remembrance is citations and links.

Promotion

This is the reality of our times. Promotion of ideas is necessary. I know all about the ugly antics of the self-promoters in the business world. I have seen them in the academic world as well. It works. They are not well-liked but their ideas spread quickly. If my theory is correct their ideas will be forgotten quickly too but who knows?

Factors specific to science and mathematics

I have asked few scientists their opinion on how ideas spread among scientists. All of them said that if I solve a major problem and express the solution mathematically other scientists will know about the solution. I don’t see it the way they do. My main argument was that we live in a different world now. There are thousands of academic journals and thousands of scientific papers are published everyday. It is impossible to be aware of all the important papers out there. All scientists apply filters because of limited time and energy. This will result in delays. My paper may be a precious gem but it will take time to be discovered. If I can publish that gem in a prestigious journal with a huge built-in readership then I have better chances, of course, but the situation is very different from the golden days of physics in early 20th century in Europe. In the modern scientific world the recognition of your contribution is a function of many things. Many human factors are involved. Sociology, shortage of jobs, psychology, academic rivalries, and academic fashions are involved. Promotion by your institution, promotion by your nation make a big difference. Priority or importance of your contribution may not be noticed for a long time.

In mathematics if you prove a long-standing mathematical conjecture other mathematicians will know about it but this is a very slow process as the other mathematicians have to check your proof. It takes a long time. Other minor results or proofs will only be known by few other mathematicians.

Circulation by other non-material ways

I would like to believe that my thought waves circulate in non-material ways. Blogging and book writing help me create those thought waves.

This is the natural point to bring up Microvita but I am still not ready to discuss Microvita yet. I doubt that I will I ever be ready!

Even though the Microvita theory is only a small fraction of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti’s contributions, the impact of Microvita theory will be even greater than the Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics combined when it is worked out scientifically. Microvita theory promises that the distinct disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology and psychology will merge into one science in the future. At some point I will present the hints he has given us and expositions made by his students whenever my mental block is lifted.

Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist (spirit of the age) is a German word referring to the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that influences the culture of a particular period in time.

In the resonance section I mentioned that there has to be receptive minds out there otherwise our ideas will be hanging in the universe. We are not in control of this process. Whenever the number of like-minded people increases our ideas floating in the universe will find more reception. So the reason for acceptance is resonance but the number of receivers is important too.  As the intellectual fashions change the number of people tuning in to the same frequency will change.

Archetypes

If you chant a sound archetype and ideate on the source of that vibration the mind may resonate with a particular aspect of the Divine Power. If you create archetypal ideas they will be dominant over other ideas. But, I remind you that the time scales of archetypal ideas are very long. Certainly, you will get no credit for creating an archetypal idea. It is between you and the Cosmic Mind.

Karmic reasons

As I mentioned in the introduction we can explain everything by karmic reasons but I think that we should go easy on the “karmic reasons” as an explanatory factor. On the other hand, there are many examples that force me to think that karma is certainly a factor that cannot be reduced to other factors.

I would like to remind you about two cases:

  1. The case of the musician Sixto Rodriguez.
  2. The case of mystery novelist David Gordon‘s fame in Japan.

Their unexpected fame outside of their own countries are curious cases and bring karmic reasons to mind.

Cosmic Mind

In my Cosmic Inversion article I argued that

  1. All ideas come from the Cosmic Mind
  2. We are all connected through the Cosmic Mind

Cosmic Mind is the Mind of God. Entire Cosmos is a thought in the Cosmic Mind. Nothing exists outside of the Cosmic Mind. Physical reality is a mental projection of the Cosmic Mind. All manifestation is internal to the Cosmic Mind but the individual minds within the Cosmic Mind perceive these cosmic thought vibrations as physical particles, as physical worlds. Cosmic Mind creates the Cosmos and guides the individual minds towards a realization of their connection to the Cosmic Soul.

Nothing will happen in the universe without the approval of the Cosmic Mind. As part of the Cosmic Drama, in the liberation struggle of the soul from materiality, as part of the karmic action-reaction principle, if you really wanted to be recognized for your ideas you will experience that in one of your lifetimes sooner or later. Cosmic Mind has the ultimate say on these matters.

All ideas come from the Cosmic Mind. As individuals we don’t have the ownership of ideas yet we want to be recognized for these ideas that appear to be originating from us. This is so ironic. Cosmic Drama indeed!

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About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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