"A great idea is one whose opposite is also a great idea," Niels Bohr is reputed to have commented. What could this mean? (And does it apply to the concept of "great idea" itself?)

Interlocking pairs of opposites, or conjugate quantities, seem to be singularly fruitful sources of creative thought. Some candidate pairs to ponder are:

             mercy {-} justice
          solitude {-} friendship
      independence {-} collaboration
       electricity {-} magnetism
        innovation {-} recycling
          position {-} momentum
           limited {-} infinite
             depth {-} breadth
              time {-} space
               yin {-} yang
                 0 {-} 1

Marion Tinsley, the late world checkers champion, reportedly noted "Chess is like looking over a vast, open plain; checkers is like peering down a deep, dark well." Numerous other aphorisms arise from the juxtaposition of duals. Einstein's advice, "Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.", is an example. Meditation on paired concepts may be worthwhile. (Then again, maybe not!)

Monday, May 03, 1999 at 22:11:57 (EDT) = 1999-05-03

TopicThinking - TopicWriting

(correlates: OutOfMyWay, BeUnprepared, ExtractTraction, ...)