Are ideas alive?

Perhaps they are a kind of sentient life-forms, non-cellular and semi-autonomous. They do seem to feed off of our attention, going into a kind of torpor when no-one’s aware or thinking of them, ultimately dying when forgotten completely.

These entities that are concepts, thoughts and idea seem to evolve with time, just like organic life does. They morph and mutate, fuse into new generations of thoughts, spreading like memetic spores from one host conciousness to the next.

Their presence leave inprints on the mental and social environment in which they are instantiated, much like any physical body does to its surroundings. After all, works of art, fictional characters, over-arching narratives, prejudices, norms, convictions et cetera either indirectly influence and affect our state of mind and moods, or cause outright shifts in our perception of the world.

Are they self-aware? They appear to be. To a degree atleast. When I write i definitely shape and mold my characters, scenes and situations. That said, there is undoubtedly pushback from the work itself when I go to far or force them to stray from the natural inclinations. It is as if they want to be a certain way, that they want certain things and merely use me and my act of creation as a vessel or conduit for making this occur. I used to study theater in my teens. I think that screen and stage actors are perfect examples of artists as channelers of a certain breed of ideas.

Well-established characters, such as Superman, Dracula or Perseus, affect and influence the world of men in a way that is distinct and recognizable. So much so that we’d easily spot any forced deviation and squirm at the dissonance of the portrayal. If these characters originated in the minds of individual humans, they sure aren’t limited to any one perticular person. They’re sovereign, in some sense. Beyond our realm yet in contact with it, daily.

Larger classes of these kinds of beings—be they ideologies, religions, nation-states, institutions, legends and mythical archetypes—appear to be self-replicating, popping up at different points in time and space, molding and shepherding entire collectives of humans. It is then, it seems, not the people that wield power of these ideas, bit rather the other way around. The Pied Piper of Hamelin comes to mind.

I’m not saying that we didn’t create these phenomena. That could be completely or partially or not at all true. I have no idea. All I’m saying is that we simply aren’t in control of them, and that they have agencies and agendas of their own. And I am definitely saying that these things are real, albeit not real in the same way as a table or a giraffe is physically real. But real nonetheless.

Just look at money for example. Or the idea of governments, or any kind of exhalted ideal.

Sure, all of it may have emerged from the miasic ooze of the human psyche. But no single person could possibly hope to tame these concepts nor would not even the most adamant of materialists refute the realness of, for example, the United States of America, the Yen or the existence of truth or truthness.

In other words, they aren’t just in our minds—but somehow partially outside of them.

Perhaps they dwell primarily in a layer of reality that is theirs alone. Perhaps there are even more levels to the universe, beyond our material world and than the world of ideas. Perhaps not.

I do like to think of art and the act of creation, however, as a way to probe and explore these different strata of existance.

If the above hypothesis is true it’s not we who get ideas, but we who go to them. I like to think that dreams, drugs and hallucinatory states, religious extasy, mystical experiences, automatism and the outpour of subconcious thought, occult practices, synchronicities, chance and randomness, not to mention dadaist and surrealist techniques are other methods of expanding our metaphysical horizon.

This is ultimately why I write, why I actively go looking for the flora and fauna of the Imaginarium and grant them material form in our native dimension—in the shape of artworks.

It’s not to way to escape reality. It’s a way of having more of it.