Randomness Generation as a path to Original Thought

by phil on Thursday May 6, 2004 7:52 PM

How do you generate original thought?

How do you break from the bonds of derivative consciousness. The vast majority of the contents of our mind is a smorgasbord of random toughts heard from others throughout our lifetime.

Well, I want to create unique objects for this village, and in order to do that, I came up with a process:

from randomness emerges the new

Take a blank sheet of paper and do precisely that: generate randomness.

Below is a sketch of my first attempt.

The goal is to generate enough randomness such that a threshold is reached and an original thought is seeded. We can define original thought as a thought that is lacking connectedness to other thoughts. For me, I did actually come up with some original ideas and so it looks like I have my plate full for the next couple of weeks.

Below is my stream-of-consciousness while I was doing this:

Okay, put a square here. But then text here because that's different than geometry. But then do more of the same because that's different than doing different. But then you need to go crazy. Okay slow down. But go fast. But go fast again. pause. un-surprise. Surprise! lines. But what about found objects and corporate objects? Nothingness. Leave this space blank.

Part of the fun in this exercise is practicing the art of random generation.

Theoretically, for the longest time, random number generation was thought to be impossible; quantum mechanics is now educating us otherwise. You can read an interesting theory that describes how humans may have a quantum consciousness.

Here's a link to an online quantum random number generator


My previous thoughts on how to be a human random number generator.

May you discover randomness as a means to serendipity!


Ky said on May 10, 2004 11:26 AM:

can an original "pattern" be recognized from a mind of extant thoughts and pattern overlays?

Philip Dhingra said on May 10, 2004 5:57 PM:

If by original you mean "underived in any sense," technically no, just as I don't think there can be a purely random number generator (except in cases of quantum computing...)

If by original, you mean "previously unknown to others," absolutely. The concept space has trillions of nodes (from anything from emo, Nietzsche, to the color yellow) so combinations of a handful of those can lead to concepts that have previously not been known... perhaps.

Dave Rubel said on October 19, 2004 10:35 AM:

Look up the word 'Original' in the dictionary.

Original: Not derived from something else.

So, clearly, this entire page is useless based on the fact that original does not mean "previously unknown to others". That is not original. Putting together a sequence of thoughts, colours, shapes, and numbers is not original. That is merely taking things which already exist, and placing them.

Sara B Sterling said on November 6, 2004 1:43 AM:

Google linked me to this page, nice reading

Mike said on January 2, 2005 11:02 AM:

To the author of this website and the creator of the above drawing,

The figure in the top rght corner caught my attention for one specific reason: Whenever I attempt to freely draw random images in hopes of creating something original or even something that simply interests me, I more often than not draw a figure such as the one you have portrayed. it appears to be holding its hands to the sky as if to say "Look at all I have created". I was wondering if you have drawn others like this, and if so would you mind giving me a look?

Philip Dhingra said on January 3, 2005 12:27 AM:

Unfortunately I haven't drawn anything like this before. But you never know, there might be a reason why a figure like that may recur in desperate attempts at originality. The body splayed like that may indicate my surrender to determinism.

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