Get paid for busy work, get the real work done while fooling around
October 21, 2014 8:10 AM   Subscribe

"Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues." Isaac Asimov Mulls “How Do People Get New Ideas?”

A recently-published essay on creativity by Asimov commissioned by ARPA, the precursor to today's infamous DARPA. Gizmodo also has a small reflection on the piece.
posted by Perko (4 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Sinecures for all!
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:39 AM on October 21, 2014 [7 favorites]

I was reminded of Lennon's "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." Asimov's model to me is essentially, "Ideas are what happens while you are busy doing the rank and file work of a patent clerk."

So, yes, sinecures for all!*

*especially for me, hint hint, please please US Government.
posted by Perko at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have had some great, fresh ideas while deeply embroiled in other work, always thinking "once I have time to flesh this thing out it will be brilliant!" Then later, when I do have time, whatever spark of creativity or originality generated the original thought has gone cold.

So frustrating.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:23 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just goofing around about 35 years ago, a few of my friends and I had an idea for a new kind of bicycle. We called it a mountain bike. My friend Gary Fisher and I rented a garage to make them in.

As good ideas go, it's hard to top that one.
posted by Repack Rider at 7:44 PM on October 21, 2014 [12 favorites]

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