Saturday, June 05, 2010

Rumination, Innovation, More Rumination

Category: Issue 20

Reading and thinking are so intimately related that sometimes what you think seems to have crept in what you are about to read. This happened to me a number of times, most recently while I was about to start reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. A while before noon that day, when I was about to start reading Frankenstein, I was strolling outside my room, ruminating over the connotation of ‘innovation’. It was hard to draw the line between a ‘new concept’, or a ‘new theory’ as I was particularly thinking of, and something that already existed. The concepts or theories of a heliocentric universe, evolution, electric energy, gravitation, vampires, sacrifice, resurrection, and everything else seemed to have their roots down to an untraceable source in antiquity. Innovation, it occurred to me, is just a rehashing of older bits into a new style with a few additions that are the product of one’s mind. 

As I sat to read Frankenstein, the Introduction page by the author had something to say about exactly what I had been thinking earlier. The relevant passage reads: Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded; it can give shape to dark, shapeless substances, nut cannot bring into being the substance itself.       

Mary Shelley’s words, written about two centuries ago, brought me close to reconsidering if at least parts of minds are reincarnated, or thoughts get another life; if so, then certainly I got part of my mind from the celebrated author from the Romantic period. And again, reincarnation is a concept that I can’t trace exactly to its first root in history, though certainly another great topic for rumination!