Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Ideas

Howard Aiken


  1. I'd like to dedicate this quote to all cooks and chefs who so fearfully try to protect their "secret" recipes.

    Appropriately (and ironically), the second sentence is deliciously relevant as well. Most people rather eat the familiar stuff instead of trying something completely new.

  2. I am a bit slow today, I do not really understand the sense of this quote. What does he mean with "you will have to ram it down their throates"? An idea is nothing to eat (if not the idea of a cook). What about the ears of idea thieves?

    Does he mean that anyway only mediocre ideas are kept as if they were a military secret? Then what about military secrets? Are they all mediocre? Does he mean, that noone will keep a really original idea for himself? Then what about the Patent Act?

    It obviously is not enough, to have a brilliant idea. The best recepy doesn't taste well, if the cook isn't a good cook (and this makes Chef Keem's comment so charming). And I like very much the idea of open source software, because it makes compete the best realizers while working on a public good idea: res publica! Yet I understand the unappealing, antipathetic attitude of those cooks which tell you any recepy, but always conceal an essential detail. And I am thankful to the generous teachers which give away their know how without making money of each of their single pronouncements.

    Maybe he has tried to say us, that every brilliant idea is always difficult to put into action, and therefore secrecy is anyway pointless. But I disagree, if this was what he tried to say.

  3. I know the truth of this quote from my own experience. Original ideas are not welcome. They are worthless on the market, so don't care about protecting them.

  4. This morning during breakfast I just was thinking how rich sources for librettos some story collections are, and how pointing the greek mythology can be if you read it with attention, taking the myths at their word (without taking them too much literally). For example the myth of Narcis & Echo, from which the Echo part usually is not narrated, even though this part is essential. This myth is very pointful in our time. Nevertheless, I do not understand it! Not really. The myth is very realistic, but in reality one cannot really find persons which behave that way, and to press someone into the cliche is violence. So what does that myth mean? I think he describes two aspects of one and the same condition, not two persons.

    Mythology, the bible and fairy tales are fascinating open sources. Aesop was a slave. I think every great artist is a kind of slave.

    What about Josef Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces"?

  5. @Anonymous

    Are all the welcome ideas unoriginal? I just don't get it.

  6. Ramming down something in someone´s throat is like fattening a goose before killing and eating and enjoying. That isn´t polite at all. Then, why not worrying? Kan nit verstan.

  7. I could imagine that as groundbreaking pioneer in computing, Mr. Aiken faced a lot of "can't do" attitude when asking for funding or support. Maybe, this quote is simply an expression of his frustration during the early stages of his inventions.

  8. @Chef Keem

    Yes, this makes sense. It seems a sarcastic comment on dull misunderstandings of something obvious to him who saw clearly the potential of his idea. Thank you.