We know a promise only lives as long as the one making the promise, and today we must confess that no idea is forever. 

In a previous article about technology, I argued:

The glorious thing about these massive and superfast HDDs is it makes copying stuff from one to the other easy.  You just keep “renewing the copy” forever and ever and ever… without any degradation of memory or quality of product.

The problem with copying and storing and the preservation of memory-as-data is that the idea behind the propagated twinning cannot be lossless between copies.

If we can preserve the result of the idea, why are we unable to preserve the idea itself?

Ideas are fleeting and contextual and the frame of understanding is always changing and realigning between generations and cultures. 

Ideas must be fervently expanded and reconditioned in order to remain timely and fruitful — but there are few of us that understand how to make an idea last beyond a single thinking.

How do you preserve your ideas and the ideas of others you value?  Explain your process and its context.


  1. This is particularly poignant for me during the Sabbath and Festivals during which I am not able to write down anything, which is usually how I hang onto my ideas. What I try to do is a modified version of the phone game. I tell at least two or three people to please remind me that I had the idea, which I then tell to them, and ask them to repeat it back to me. More often than not, just the process of telling the people helps me not to forget it!
    I try to take notes whenever I can vis-a-vis external ideas; the Blackberry notepad is excellent for that. Then it is just a matter of review and re-review. Whatever is most important gets reviewed the most and therefore sticks.

  2. That’s interesting, Gordon. You keep the idea alive by not direct copy, but by giving it life in translation between the minds of others. Do they then write down the idea for you or email it to you? Or must they just remember to tell you when you are allowed to write it down?
    I find the moment I write down an idea it dies. It’s as if it has been given birth and I forget about it because the thought is realized. My best ideas are kept internal and remembered and remembered and stewed upon until they’re fully cooked for exploration and implementation.

  3. The reason I tell 3 and not just one is because none of them can write it down but I bank on at least one remembering.
    Also, I have found that when someone tells you to remember something, you are more likely to remember it because you don’t want to let them down. At least, I never want to let people down when they ask me to remember.
    Sometimes it’s just as well to write an idea tersely so that you can remember the idea fully and not completely give birth to it as it were.

  4. Too many times to count. Though it happens less often than when I’d only ask one person, who sometimes would just forget entirely.

  5. Amazing, Gordon! You should really keep a record of these events to track which sort of person better remembers the shared idea and which people most readily forget.

  6. Hi David,
    I think one of the ways i preserve ideas is by giving it a form. and i’ve often found that the form reveals aspects of the idea that were not readily apparent while the idea was still uncrystallized in the mind. so that the act of creation/preservation itself becomes a moment of learning.

  7. Hi David,
    Ideas are ephemeral and indefinable by nature, so the only way I protect mine is by constantly relating it with something existing/ real.
    I jot down some basic points, may be just one word and it works as a foundation. When I actually implement/ write about it I align it with my current thought process and make necessary changes.

  8. Hi David,
    Original subject doesn’t change – the way of writing and relating might…does that make sense?
    Suppose, I am planning to write about X, I just write down a single word about it – so that I don’t lose it. But what I am thinking about X today might not remain same after 15 days and surely going to get changed after a month.

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