Thursday, May 22, 2008

Think About It

The fact that human beings have a concept of meaning is telling. It demonstrates that, whether or not we believe meaning actually exists, we can at least imagine its existence. And it is impossible to imagine anything that is completely outside our own experience. The most creative human thinkers merely discover, reorder and synthesize elements collected from their senses and experiences. They never come up with anything truly new.

For example, try to imagine a new primary color, a sixth sense, a fourth dimension or a third sex that is not a combination or extension of those that exist already. Of course we can claim to imagine things we have neither seen nor experienced—flying cows, strangely shaped alien beings or water running uphill. But such mental fabrications are assembled from the raw material we have gathered from actual experience. Recombining or reshaping what we have experienced through our senses is the limit of what we can create or even imagine.

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