The Idea Space
This is the story of the idea space. A story about everyone of us. For, at the end of the day, isn’t consciousness just an idea space, or a space for ideas, anyways? Think. Literally think. That’s all you have to do and — boom — you have an idea space.
Consciousness is a space for ideas to amalgamate in various ways and inspire the perception of our world. Since thinking is what humans do 24/7 — you are constantly living in your own idea space. At every single moment. Even this one. This is an extension to mine. Welcome.
With that intro, let’s dive in. Imagine an idea as a circle.
Obviously, ideas comes in a lot shapes and form. So the circle could be very different — red, blue, filled, small, large, whatever.
The combination of all those things, plus the null set, Ø, creates an idea space. Let’s call an imaginary idea space A.
A quick word on the null set. The null set and the symbol: Ø, are used interchangeably. The significance of the null set is as follows. Look at the below table:
Look — there’s missing things! That’s the null set, Ø! It’s when a piece of information is missing. Your brain may jump to fill it in: “Yellow!”. Maybe even “Green!”. But those are wrong. There’s just nothing. Nothing is the null set.
Null sets exist in the idea space when there is an idea missing in the mind. Achieving this is hard to do continuously, but we’ve all glimpsed it at least once. You know what I’m talking about. That moment of pure bliss and equanimity. The thing all mindfulness practitioners chase. The beauty is that we can always glimpse it at any time with a S.T.O.P. (Stop, Take a Breath, Observe, Purpose, Proceed). Let’s do it quick — it takes 2 seconds:
STOP. Stop what you’re doing. Stop thinking. Stop getting distracted. Just stop.
TAKE A BREATH. 3 of them even. Slowly inhale into your body, feeling the breath circulate inward. And slowly exhale out. 2 more.
OBSERVE. What do you notice? Your breath? A thought? Gravity? Simply notice.
PURPOSE. Now, what do you want to get out of this? Learn something new? Up to you.
PROCEED. And now that you’ve achieved beginner’s mind, we can proceed.
You have now glimpsed the null idea space. In other words, you experienced what it’s like to have no thoughts — a tall endeavor so keep the breath going! Some won’t achieve full null-ness, but everyone is at least a step closer to achieving their own null set in their respective idea space. For most, including myself, the nulls space is a mere glimpse.
However, after a glimpse of nothing, we can come back to looking at the idea space that is our mind with a fresh, new perspective.
How do ideas combine? Picture those circles again. All filled differently and with an array of different shapes and sizes. Three things (kinda) happen when we put ideas together: Union, Intersection, and Difference.
Left, union — take everything between the ideas. Middle, intersection — take what’s in common between the ideas. Right, difference — take what’s different between the ideas. Kinda, because then there’s also all the options of partial union, partial intersection, and partial difference. It get’s complicated quick.
Ideas are complicated. Too complicated to transmit perfectly. In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect transmission of ideas. Let’s see if we can make you experience this. First let’s take a look at words. Words only capture a part of the full idea space. This concept is illustrated below:
When transmitting words, it’s impossible to get a perfect mapping that captures the whole idea space. Thought experiment. Think of a red apple. I bet you 1 Bitcoin (BTC) that you and I are thinking of a different red apple. If we use pictures, mathematical equations, ect… then we get a more complete, yet still imperfect, transmission of idea spaces.
The red apple should be proof enough, but another example will help illuminate. What do you see below (the famous dress)?
“It’s either black and blue or white and gold — I know!” However, do not be so quick to, “I’ve seen this before” me. There’s untold beauty in this picture.
Example: Imagine that I sent you a picture of that dress. The idea of the dress in my idea space would be completely different than the idea of the dress in your idea space! No matter how hard I try I will never be able to see your idea of the dress. Now extrapolate that to words, songs, pictures, poems, whatever you want. No matter how hard I try to communicate my idea space, I will never be able to perfectly transmit my idea space. When I talk to you — like right now — I can’t say everything I want to say. There’s just no way. As the great physicist Richard Feynman said,
“It is not so easy to say what we mean.”
By the way, this was my red apple. What was yours?
Identity of Idea Spaces
Even though idea spaces are complicated, they sometimes have an identity. If you are lucky, then you just might catch it. The identity of the idea space is the one thing that you’ll remember about that idea space once it is gone. For example: you watch a ted talk — BOOM — idea space starts. Then, the Ted talk ends and the idea space slowly fades away. What’s the one thing you remember from that Ted talk? You’ve probably experienced this before. Maybe it’s not a Ted talk, maybe it’s a medium article you read not too long ago. What’s the one thing that you remember from it? I think you know what I mean. We can represent the identity visually, below.
You might ask: “What’s the identity of this idea space that I am writing to you about?” Answer: The idea space has zero measure and has uncountable elements. Unfortunately, that is too much to unpack in one article, but I hope to post other articles soon to further explain. For now, we move on to another property of ideas.
Ideas in Motion
How do we define motion? It depends, but most people use time. Let’s see what that looks like:
What’s time, t, in? Seconds? Microseconds? I don’t know, because time is uncountable. No matter what time you pick I can always choose a different time. Plus, time is relative (i.e. you experience time slower relative to someone else when you move faster than them). This can be explained through the Twin’s Paradox. Take 2 twins born at the exact same time. Send one to space and have him or her orbit the Earth really fast. After some time, have him or her come back. The twin in space will be younger than the twin on the ground. This holds true if I’m on a run, in a car, on a plane, or just walking. Time is relative. Ideas also get contracted through time when you move. So yeah — ideas in motion — it’s complicated.
With all this information, you have the power to take on and create your own idea space. One thing you must remember is the following: The idea space has zero measure and has uncountable elements. This may not mean much now, but remember that you are continuously living in an idea space; and, therefore it actually means everything! I hope to write further articles to explain this more deeply.