Creative Thought Is All Over The Place, And Out Of This World, Or Is Not

Real breakthroughs in thinking have always come, and will always come, from getting ideas from galaxies of knowledge, far away.

Why? Breakthroughs are, by definition, a change in logic. Logic can change in only two ways: by changing, or adding, one or more axioms, or by changing the “universe” the logic bathe in. Either change is metalogical in nature. Thus, out of the box.

When one speaks of nothing new, one can solve nothing new.

Science didn’t just learn, but it learned to learn. That should be, itself, learned, and one should use how science learned to learn how to learn. And the same holds for thinking. Hence the postmodernist critique of science, which amounted, correctly, to suspect that much science activity was just tribalism in disguise. Thus the “academic specialization” is often exactly that:   tribalism in disguise. Getting a PhD, for example, is often little more than a tribal accession rite enabling one to become a soldier in a larger organization.

Breakthroughs break. If one looks at the Seventeenth Century, most breakthroughs were made by polymaths who were outside of Academia (Kepler, Descartes, Bullialdus, Fermat, Pascal, Huygens, Hooke, Boyle, Leibnitz, etc.).

The pattern goes on: Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise Du Châtelet towered in many ways, including the philosophy of science, and as a polymath, she discovered and demonstrated the concept of energy, ½ mv^2 (which Isaac Newton had confused with momentum, mv). And she discovered not just kinematic energy, but infrared energy… (Not bad for someone who died from childbirth in her early forties…)

Lamarck Meditating With Recycled Aluminum Dragon Statue Behind, Jardin des Plantes, Paris

Lamarck, a research professor in zoology who demonstrated, among other things, biological evolution around 1800, was also a polymath: he started, like Descartes as an officer with a military career. After an injury and illness put an end to that, he became an MD, and, while posted in Monaco, developed an interest for botany, when he observed how much the plants varied with the environment there, among rocky crags, roasting mountainsides, sheltered oases,  and fertile canyons. He became the world expert of malacology, which he uses to demonstrate speciation, over millions of years (something the Catholic and Anglican churches hated him for). Darwin, a student of Lamarck of some renown, was also a polymath, like Wallace, outside of academia (Lamarck and evolution couldn’t be taught in England, by law; Darwin and Lyell had to go to Edinburg to be taught evolution).

Historians now believe that Lamarck’s military career and battlefield prowess is the reason Lamarck defended and continued the study, and publication, of his theory of evolution despite its unpopularity in the scientific society of the times (the same applies for Descartes who had to flee the god crazed French superpower).

Lamarck was mostly opposed by the bloody, self-aggrandizing dictator Napoleon and the Catholic and Anglican churches. Napoleon insulted Lamarck, while telling him a number of idiocies witnessed by mathematician and physicist Arago. Essentially, Lamarck viewed life as having arise gradually from inert materials, thanks to physics. Not nice for the self-described god derived Napoleon, a dinosaur in more ways than one (whom all too many French still adulate, while they reject Maréchal Pétain, who was not as bad).

It is curious that Lamarck didn’t insist on natural selection. But clearly the giraffes with longer neck would reproduce better. Not only Anaximander, Empedocles and others mentioned it (they were opposed by the deists Plato and Aristotle), but a mix of natural and artificial selection was well-known to produce superlative Greek cattle sold all over. It’s possible that Lamarck viewed the selection of the fittest as self-obvious. What was less obvious is what impelled animals to become fitter. Even the modern contemporary theory, which views DNA as more durable than stone (except for allele variations) is weak that way.

Lamarck’s observation, the complexifying force is a fact. There again, contemporary biology and physics have no final answer. An obvious hope is Quantum theory, because the Quantum is nonlocal, which makes it all-knowing in some ways. DNA is essentially a Quantum structure, so the connection is obvious. As the deepest polymaths, Lamarck dared to make observations which require explanations whose time has not come yet.

There is no reason to believe this superiority of polymath will stop:

As I said, the reason for polymath superiority in the advancement of thinking are intrinsic to the nature of logic, however crazy said logic is.

Jules Henri Poincaré (creator of Relativity, including, local spacetime, E = mc2, gravitational waves, and the most general theories of gravitation of which Einstein’s weirdly called “General Relativity” is a special case) became revered after 1905; however Poincaré’s early career in France was difficult, precisely because the tribes didn’t appreciate his encroachments over their territories… Although Poincaré made it so that Lorentz got the Physics Nobel for Relativity, he didn’t get it himself, although even most deserving of it (later all too conscious of the controversies about Relativity involving Einstein, especially with Bergson, the Nobel committee specifically did NOT give the Nobel to Albert for Relativity).

Many of the top thinkers of the Twentieth Century were polymaths. De Broglie started as a prince studying medieval history. Then the prince wrote a physics thesis, getting the Physics Nobel 4 years later, after his waves were observed by Americans. Cartan, Bergson, Weyl, Feynman, Von Neumann… Nearly all the top research mathematicians or physicists I got to know some of them recipients of the greatest prizes are, to some extent polymaths, or have a very strong desire to be so (Chern, Thom, Yau, Attiyah, Donaldson, Singer, Penrose, Connes, Witten, Susskind,  etc.). When one knows the research in detail, one can see that the pattern is always the same: ideas from way out of the box are brought into a field, and revolutionize it (even Planck, a sedate career physicist, if there ever was one, brought ideas of statistical mechanics to optics to derive the Quantum, another case of polymath…)

Thinking anew requires at least wanting to jump out of the box. It’s intrinsically multi-learning (the translation of polymath). Indeed, “mathema” comes from the Greek manthanein “to learn”. Would-be philosophers can’t invent new wisdom if they couldn’t learn anything new, first.

Let alone the fact that it is hard to invent new ideas from the same exact old basis; “Pascal’s” famous triangle was already known in China, and maybe that’s what Blaise alluded to, when he said “we come too late, since there are men, and they think…“. However, from a new basis, Pascal discovered atmospheric pressure… 

One could say, that learning, mathema, is the opposite of Jihadism, or, more exactly of superstitious religious fundamentalism, which is intrinsically axiom, and universe, reductive, not open and expansionist (as learning is).

The Quantum is out of this world, and all over the place, so is creative thinking. And only those who fester too deep in the box, couldn’t guess why!

Patrice Ayme’

12 Responses to “Creative Thought Is All Over The Place, And Out Of This World, Or Is Not”

  1. Gmax Says:

    Yes, out of the box always, for us mavericks. Nice essay, thanks


  2. pshakkottai Says:

    Another example of creative thought. Do the Vedas really mention some serious physics?


    “The Surya Siddhanta also estimates the diameters of the planets. The estimate for the diameter of Mercury is 3,008 miles, an error of less than 1% from the currently accepted diameter of 3,032 miles. It also estimates the diameter of Saturn as 73,882 miles, which again has an error of less than 1% from the currently accepted diameter of 74,580. Its estimate for the diameter of Mars is 3,772 miles, which has an error within 11% of the currently accepted diameter of 4,218 miles. It also estimated the diameter of Venus as 4,011 miles and Jupiter as 41,624 miles, which are roughly half the currently accepted values, 7,523 miles and 88,748 miles, respectively.” from the wiki at

    [The Surya Siddhanta is the name of a Sanskrit treatise in Indian astronomy from late … It calculates the earth’s diameter to be 8,000 miles (modern: 7,928 miles), diameter of moon as 2,400 miles (actual ~2,160) and the distance between moon …

    How were the planetary sizes determined? What are the possible scaling rules? Let us define

    D = Planetary diameter

    R= Orbit radius

    M = planetary mass ~ D^3

    T = Orbit time = 2 Pi/ Omega

    I = angular momentum = Integral of R^2 dm .Omega ~ R^2 D^3/ T

    Possible relations: (This law of gravitation is most unlikely to be known so early in History)

    If force is G M_sun M_planet /R^2 = Mplanet. Omega^2 R

    R^3. Omega^2 = constant

    R^3 ~T^2

    Snow plow theory:

    Larger radii sweep more particles leading to bigger planets

    D^3 ~ 2Pi R no pf particles ~ 2Pi R n. volume ~ 2 pi R R. thickness

    ~ R^2 if thickness is fixed, n being number density


    D^3 ~ R^2

    Thin disk:

    In this case the planet grows to bigger than the thickness and

    D^3 ~ R^3 or D ~ R

    It appears that ancients assumed the last possibility. The planetary diameter scales with the orbital size.

    It appears that ancients assumed the last possibility. The planetary diameter scales with the orbital size.

    Body mile(D) “Relative Size `Orbit size (modern)

    Mercury 3008. `0.38 `3.87E-01

    Venus 4011.00 ` `0.50 `7.20E-01

    Earth 8.00E+03 ` 1.00 `1.00E+00

    Mars “3.77E+03 “0.47 `1.52E+00

    Jupiter 4.16E+04 ` 5.20 `5.19E+00

    Saturn 7.39E+04 “9.24E+00 9.24 9.53E+00

    ( Ignore the`. I had to use it to line numbers up.) Relative size is from Surya Siddhanta and is compared to modern measurements of orbits compared to Earth’s orbit. Venus and Mars have the most disagreement . They are the rocky planets. The agreement is very good in general. Especially good for gas giants!

    Conclusion: The vedas predicted planetary sizes using the acretion model from the initial solar nebula. So it automatically means they were the first to hit upon the idea of sun-centered planetary system!

    This also means Indian Astronomy was developed by Indians with no input from the Greeks. No others have planetary diameters! The kalachakra was a giant astronomical clock and was used to calculate orbits of planets visible to the naked eye from which planet sizes were determined, a far cry from the flat earth theory of Christianity! See

    This uses four dials, one of which is the Zodiac, the same as the Greek one, most likely copied by the Greeks, an exact translation from Sanskrit! For fixed stars, the kalachakra uses bright stars with Sanskrit names. The Indians have been observing stars from long enough to know the period of nutation of Earth is 25,000 years. At least 5000 years of data is required.

    Rg Veda is variously dated from 1500 BC to 8000 BC (from internal evidence on the order of time when River Saraswati was still flowing). (The internal reference also mentions a big earthquake that made River Saraswati stop flowing.)


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Stunning Partha. Thanks. India is part of the Indo-European civilizational block (from which China itself is an outlier; early western Chinese were… Europeans from the Altai region, 1,000 kilometers north!)

      But I am confused about how they would have got those precise numbers. The Greeks got the diameter of the earth, we know how they did it (measuring angles of sunlight on the same longitude between Greece and Southern Egypt). They also got a minimum of the Earth-Sun distance (3 million kms), by watching the terminator of the Moon. Assuming Sun at infinity, they could also have estimated the size of the Moon, from Earth’s shadow on the Moon.

      However, experimental proof of heliocentrism happened after Galileo’s death, when telescopes became powerful enough to see the phases of Venus…. (Some claim to have done that way earlier, but Galileo used a X30 telescope already, and that was not enough, so I doubt it…)


  3. pshakkottai Says:

    By heavy averaging of orbits. from
    The Àryabhatíya of Àryabhata, the oldest precise astronomical constant?

    Here are some tables.

    Table 1. Comparison of The Àryabhatiya of Àryabhata and Astronomic values.(orbit times are slowing down ever so slightly)

    Astronomy Constants AD 2000.0 _AD 500_ 1604 BC

    Rotations per solar orbit 366.25636031_ 366.2563589_ 366.25635656

    Days per solar orbit 365.25636031_ 365.2563589_ 365.25635656

    Days per lunar orbit 27.32166120_ 27.3216638_ 27.32166801

    Rotations per lunar orbit 27.39646289_ 27.39646514_ 27.39646936

    See the number of decimal places. It goes on like this to the rg veda. India had a passion for astronomy and was very good at it!

    See the full description.

    Other links.

    Amartya Kumar Dutta — Aryabhata and Axial Rotation of Earth

    Khagola (The Celestial Sphere)

    Naksatra Dina (The Sidereal Day)

    A Brief History

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Very interesting journal, I love to have discovered it, thanks to you, especially the article on the Banach paradox, but the exact references you wanted to give escaped me! 😉


  4. pshakkottai Says:

    Thank you Patrice! I appreciate your nice remark! Partha.


  5. ianmillerblog Says:

    People like Lamarck would not have to worry about being attacked today – nobody attacks you today. Instead, they ignore you, or in the event they get to referee your paper, they find some excuse to reject it. The classic excuse I have had from an editor is, “Most of our readers would not be interested and space is at a premium.” Sadly, the first part is probably true. As for space, I have noticed a tendency to recycle more or less the same stuff as was published by someone who is not famous say thirty years ago, i.e., before computer searching would make it likely to be caught.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      A variant I am personally familiar with is:
      1) reject the paper
      2) offer to negotiate, and write a paper together.
      3) As you declined, paper is rejected
      4) ideas adopted by the reviewer who rejected in a paper he writes (it’s nearly always a he)
      I also know that a paper written as an apparent male has much higher probability to be accepted. A female I know had 100% of her papers accepted when apparently written by a male, and zero percent when she exhibited her female first name.
      I have seen people reject my ideas, and then used them for themselves (say ideas I presented at Stanford on Black Holes with world’s top specialists in attendance; the approach became later worldwide and standard; at the time I was publicly accused of “meditation”)
      So this is all pretty rotten.
      Solution? Much more money in research, enough so that the rats don’t have to eat each other to survive as presently the case…
      Let robots work, and us, think. At least those of us capable of thinking.


  6. Picard578 Says:

    Found something that might interest you:–western-philosophy/


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Consecutive to an article in Aeon, just published, which accused Western Philosophy of racism, I was ready to assemble an essay from my intervention there. I go further: Western Philosophy recently has been worse than racist, it has been idiotic (and repetitive).
      However, turns out a paper published in NATURE (!) just lifted my main idea on the disappearance of Neanderthals, and I was thinking of reacting to that instead, as it’s an emergency (!) They didn’t refer to me, but I have come out on the very top of Google searches (#1!) on the subject of mathematical extinction Neanderthals.For more than 4 years. I arguably invented the subject, although I use more powerful mathematics…

      But thanks a lot, I will look at your references… Once I have stopped foaming at the mouth…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Partha Shakkottai Says:

    ‘Mathema comes from manthanein “to learn”. Would-be philosophers can’t invent new wisdom if one couldn’t learn anything new, first’

    Partha Shakkottai: Mantha is “to churn” in Sanskrit, ideas in the mind of course😊


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