~ the paradox of original ideas ~

"Knowledge is not a copy of reality. To know an object, to know an event, is not simply to look at it and make a mental copy or image of it. To know an object is to act on it. To know is to modify, to transform the object, and to understand the process of this transformation, and as a consequence to understand the way the object is constructed." - Jean Piaget

a lightbulb illuminating in a hedgehog's thought bubble

There's an interesting paradox, that in order to really adopt a new viewpoint from someone else, one actually has to be allowed to form that viewpoint themselves.

If Person A, for instance, provides a water-tight solution for some question but doesn't leave room for Person B to answer the question themselves, Person B might agree with Person A's conclusion, but it's unlikely they will internalise it.

the hedgehog telling the idea to another hedgehog

Therefore it's important for Person A to leave space for Person B to form that thought themselves and adopt it as their own.

thought bubbles combining

The paradox becomes evident when Person B, having made the logical connection themselves, fails to "give credit" to Person A for the idea. Because Person B has the sense that they formed that idea rather than adopting it from Person A.

Other hedgehog enthusiastically sharing the idea back

SO... this seems a bit unfair doesn't it? Or does it?. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Okay, that was not actually the end of the blog, but imagine if it was - what would you have taken from it? What ideas have you come up with yourself?

The reason I ask is that I considered finishing the blog at this point and leaving the conclusion up to you, the reader. But I was interested to see if you came to the same conclusion I did.

Rabbit having an idea

When I think about the issue of who deserves the credit, I have to ask, who has really done the work? Person A is getting to spread a message they want in the world (a reward in itself), what's more they don't have to change, or learn. Whereas Person B has changed their mind when faced with evidence and logic (no mean feat) and has taken on the cognitive load of making new connections in their brain.


Perhaps Person B actually does deserve the credit that they had the idea themselves. I'd love to hear your ideas on the topic. If they differ from mine, that's interesting and if they do align with mine, then you will have concluded that you deserve the credit for that conclusion (and I agree). So, either way, well done.