<-- home

Original Thought

Edited: July 30, 2020 (v0.0.5)

After years in an engineering industry, I’ve come to terms with a reality: there is no such thing as new or original ideas. Taken as an axiom, engineering then becomes practice of recombination and reuse.

Recombination and reuse can cross ideological boundaries. From electrical grid algorithms based on bees and bullet train aerodynamics based on bird beaks to distributed consensus algorithms based on ancient politics, it seems the limits of recombination and reuse are pretty loose.

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.

Mark Twain gets it.