2. On Monday afternoon, I picked up my book-in-progress–Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer–and opened to where I’d left the night before. Chapter 7 began with a Jane Jacobs quote:
“By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely the strange.
3. Lehrer explains that cities foster creativity because people foster creativity. Creativity is fueled by a constant influx of new ideas that come from other people. And the best ideas don’t come from our close friends or family members. They come from our weak ties:
“The most creative ideas, it turns out, don’t occur when we’re alone. Rather, they emerge from our social circles, from collections of acquaintances who inspire novel thoughts. Sometimes the most important people in life are the people we barely know.”
The seemingly trivial conversations we have every day–with our barista, mail carrier, librarian, cashier–force us out of our regular network and expose us to different people with different ideas.
As Lehrer says, “Sometimes the most important idea is the one we don’t even know we need.”
4. Last week, I read the following comment on Shawn Smucker’s blog:
“The internet is the new city.“ -Jason McCarty
5. A few weeks ago, we talked here about how the internet is bringing people together, how offline friendships are blossoming among people who first met online. If you’re a blogger, you’ve surely heard of the importance of finding your “tribe.” Finding people like you.
6. If we connect to other people like us online, we’ll have a sense of belonging. We’ll probably be happier and feel better about ourselves. But we’d be selling ourselves short, and we certainly wouldn’t be in a virtual city. Lehrer says,
“Instead of sharing links with just our friends, or commenting anonymously on blogs, or filtering the world with algorithms to fit our interests, we must engage with strangers and strange ideas. The Internet has such creative potential; it’s so ripe with weirdness and originality; so full of people eager to share their work and ideas.”
7. If you look on Amazon you’ll see the reviews for Imagine are terrible. Lehrer was busted this summer for fabricating key quotes (attributed to Bob Dylan) that appeared in the book. The publisher has since pulled it off the shelves.
What’s your favorite way to get out of your regular circles online? (Mine’s Twitter.)