The Physics of Ideas

April 21, 2018

how do ideas move?

Historically ideas moved with people talking to each other and writing letters.

With the internet, the mediums changed.

People find out about new ideas on the Internet. Then if it’s something that confirms their views or explains topics that they didn’t understand in a simple way, they share them with their peers, taking pride in their newfound explanations.

where do ideas come from?

Internet Communities obviously.

But are all communities equal?

On the most mainstream platforms where users post using their real names the ideas that circulate are only the most widely accepted.

Nobody would ever dream of posting something they believe that is highly controversial on Facebook as they might lose their job.

What someone wouldn’t share on their Facebook profile gets talked about with like minded friends (in person or through messaging platforms).

On Twitter profiles that use pseudonyms are even more honest.

On Reddit users get almost real, but still cultivating their pseudonymous reputation. So as there’s something to lose, users won’t go too far with their untested opinions.

4chan and fringe anonymous online communities bring freedom to the extreme. There is nothing to lose when trying to come up with new ideas, the single users will judge if it’s something interesting and if it’s not it will just get piled up with the rest of the garbage.

The most controversial and powerful ideas come from communities that don’t get outraged about anything, that have no filters on thoughts. Ideas are born to tap into humanity’s deepest fears. Once a strong idea hits the underground it slowly gets echoed to the mainstream.

First a someone posts it anonymously, then a pseudonymous picks it up and gets consensus, then slowly the idea floats to the mainstream.

what ideas thrive in this environment?

It’s more about human nature than about the environment.

Our brains use 30% of the energy our body consumes, which is a lot. So our body will naturally try to limit the amount of energy we consume thinking.

If there’s an explanation for something which is easier to understand as it confirms some of our preconceived opinions we’ll accept it.

This saves us time and energy.

Once we accept something we’ll naturally pass the opinion to other like minded people or to everyone else if it’s socially acceptable.

why is this interesting?

Replace ”ideas” with ”fake news“.

You now have the perfect propaganda machine, with real human soldiers.

The only thing missing is a message to spread.

But through trial an error you can find your target audience’s deepest fears, and trigger them to make your agenda float up from the underground to the mainstream.


I'm Ferruccio and I like to make things. I also enjoy doing random experiments and writing about wild ideas.