Posted by: Brad Stanford | April 29, 2014

Yes – Re-Invent The Wheel

There are those who talk about not re-inventing the wheel. I understand what they mean – don’t put work into solving a problem that’s already been solved. And that’s a really good idea most of the time.

But we we get so caught up in trying to be efficient with time and resources that we forget to live. You know what? Occasionally, I need the experience of creating my own wheel. Not only that, but I often find this equation at work:

My Perspective + Current State Of The Art = Discovery

At the very least, this equation will always happen:

My Perspective + Current State Of The Art = A Better Me

Then we see that:

A Better Me + Current Society = A Better Society

Now multiple my personal result across all you persons out there, and we end up with a much better group of people, simply by deciding to do something that seemed like it didn’t need to be done.

The problem with re-using an idea is that it’s somewhat of a cheat. If I re-use code that I wrote 10 years ago, I am denying myself the opportunity to make it and myself better. In some cases, this is correct, but the longer I live the more I think that it’s not the re-use of ideas that makes us efficient, but the development of more thoughtfulness. More thoughtfulness comes from using our minds more. Using our minds comes from solving problems, or reproducing someone else’s work (learning how someone else solved a problem).

Right now, you can learn to do almost anything via the web. Moreover, you can probably find a video of it! Never before in human history have we had such a library of how-to resources. And what are we doing with it? Not much yet. There has been a subtle jump of advancement amongst experimenters and early adopters.

The big story here is that of our mindset. The world has run a certain way for a very long time, but that time is coming to an end. We have all the tools to do things very differently, but our minds are not ready yet. We keep putting our foot in the pool, but we haven’t decided to dive in yet. But once we do, we’re in for some amazing things.

For instance, if we decided today to quit having new ideas and simply go through the entire worldwide library of patents and apply current technology to all of them, we might discover that some from very bright minds thought up some very incredible ideas that might just solve some of today’s problems. They just couldn’t have built them back then, and the societies at the time would have considered the ideas – and the inventors – crazy.

If we had taken the amount of money we have spent on war in the last 10 years and put it towards space exploration instead, we could have at the very least been on Mars by now. Better still, we could have a starship-like structure in constant moon-to-earth orbit, providing the most educational vacation possible. If you want people to get some perspective about our place in the universe so they’ll start acting more like people and less like animals, then we need to get them to see earth against the vast backdrop of space.

OK – so you think space travel is useless. That same amount of money could have gone to connecting people with ideas so they could start carrying for themselves, their neighborhoods, their cities, their countries.

And when you give someone an idea, they will apply their perspective to it.

They become a better person.

They might make a discovery along the way.

And so the cycle goes.

People are talking about collapse. And to a degree, that’s coming. Perhaps to a grave degree for some of us.

But I’m starting to think about collapse as the scaffolding coming down. Or the seed being planted in the ground. One thing dies so that real life can emerge. This system of possessions and governments is scaffolding. People being pushed around by advertising and other threats is simply a seed that must die to release the plant.

Something new is coming. It’s better than what we have now. Far better.

Sometimes the path to this new thing will look like we’re going backwards. But I think we need to be in the habit of re-inventing wheels to get where we need to go.

Don’t think of it as re-inventing something. Think of it as gong back to get the tool that you need to complete your work.


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