1. Throwing light on knowledge- Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within.”
- Yet all the ingredients of human success—tool making, big brains, culture, fire, even language—seem to have been in place half a million years before and nothing happened.
- But the sophistication of the modern world lies not in individual intelligence or imagination. It is a collective enterprise. Nobody—literally nobody—knows how to make the pencil on my desk (as the economist Leonard Read once pointed out), let alone the computer on which I am writing. The knowledge of how to design, mine, fell, extract, synthesize, combine, manufacture and market these things is fragmented among thousands, sometimes millions of heads. Once human progress started, it was no longer limited by the size of human brains. Intelligence became collective and cumulative.
- ideas are having sex with each other as never before.
- The rate of cultural and economic progress depends on the rate at which ideas are having sex.
- We tend to forget that trade and urbanization are the grand stimuli to invention, far more important than governments, money or individual genius.