So, this morning, I remind myself to work on my homework for the digital media class I am taking, and — bam! — a story on NPR re: truth, facts, and Wikipedia.
INSKEEP: So Wikipedia is not a compilation of things that have happened in the world; it is a compilation of what reasonably reputable people have said has happened in the world.
In class, I was interested in the ideas brought up in our discussion of ‘original’ or ‘creative’ thinking: Since people pre-determine our paths through hyper links, we only think that we are coming up with new ideas. And I was interested in this discussion’s link to something brought up in our previous class — does the digital world expand our thinking or merely represent our thinking in a new, perhaps expanded way?
I am not sure where I stand concerning ‘original’ thought. It seems to me, at least as an academic, that thought evolves, builds off of or in reaction to previous thought. I know this is a bit cliché, but we are all part of an academic conversation. So, what came first? It’s a chicken-and-egg-like question. I don’t know where the first ‘thought’ came from (probably from repeated observation?). But, now that we have accumulated thoughts, the ability to write them down, and the capability to share more and more of it–albeit limited or framed by those reputable people Inskeep mentions–the possibility of original (read: purely original) thought is long gone.
I think creativity is a different idea. If we base our definition on ‘purity,’ original thought ≠ creative thought. Synthesizing, evaluating, and applying information and ideas in new and interesting ways — this is creativity. I know this is not an earth-shattering (creative, if you will) insight. But, I disagree with the claim that digital media does not allow for creative thought, just ‘fake’ creativity or pre-programmed thought masquerading as creativity.