The shoulders of giants: exponential knowledge and the internet
Whenever I think I have a good idea, writing or otherwise, I've made it a habit to search the internet before continuing. I run it through Google using multiple variations and phrasings of the idea and, as expected, many of my ideas have already been had; often times in a better or more developed form than mine. The truth is humbling.
I do this for reasons other than grounding my ego. Mainly, it allows me to get from point A to point D in the time it would normally take me to get to point B only. Once at point D, I can then decide if I want to add my own thoughts and possibly take the discussion to point E or take a few steps back and develop D v2.0. In the past, people could stay at points A and B thinking they had a unique and developed perspective, but that's no longer the case. Technology and, more importantly, knowledge in all fields is growing rapidly and
if you're incapable of piggybacking on groups and summaries, you'll be left behind.
But, let's use this post as an example. Here is a great article on exponential knowledge and the internet: Fueling an Exponential Growth in Human Knowledge. Here is an article about the details behind cumulative creativity: Building on the ideas of others: An examination of the idea combination process.
What initially inspired me to write this post, however, was not exponential knowledge. It was something altogether different from what is has turned into. The phrase dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants is common in various forms. My thought was to further the picturesque metaphor. What are the dwarves reaching for? Are there spikes on the ceiling that will lead to the dwarves' death? Is there a reward? After searching s while for this type of idea in direct relation to the metaphor, I gave up. Either I have something original for a future post or I'm not searching thoroughly enough. It's nice to know every idea isn't taken.