Great idea? First check the collective…

Sigmund Freud

Had yet another experience today where someone else — several steps ahead of me — fleshed out a concept I’d fully intended to accelerate my energy and effort toward. While I’m absolutely delighted that the concept might become a reality (and will undoubtedly participate), it has also made me, again, stop and think about performing even MORE due diligence on my ideas and checking the collective unconscious (and consciousness!) more closely before moving forward.

Sigmund Freud postulated a collective unconscious. In the Wikipedia article referenced above, “The collective unconscious refers to that part of a person’s unconscious which is common to all human beings. It contains archetypes, which are forms or symbols that are manifested by all people in all cultures. They are said to exist prior to experience, and are in this sense instinctual.” So you can be assured that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of others that see the same things you see. The acceleration and exponential increase in ideas proliferating is staggering as more and more of us connect via the internet.

The internet, in my view, is most importantly enabling a collective consciousness. Over-n-over again I’m finding like minded individuals that are seeing the same things I’m seeing or sensing changes and shifts in economics, spirituality, and raised levels of consciousness. I gravitate to these people and somehow we’ve been finding one another. What I’m most interested in is finding ways to collectively harness and focus our respective energy, achieve and accomplish much, while each of us continues to do what we need to in order to economically survive and thrive.

What’s most interesting (from a 40,000 foot perspective)…

…is that manifestations of this conscious coming together, achieving and accomplishing is already happening. Examples include the oft-cited Wikipedia model and its success; the entire open source software movement; the exploding non-profit space and social capital/entrepreneurship; and the incredible passion and investment of energy in blogging, vlogging, and overall participation as the next generation internet we’re experiencing right now unfolds.

This collective unconscious/consciousness connection — traveling in milliseconds over the internet — means that the rapid dissemination of ideas (and knocking them off) is easier than ever. The tools to build and deliver applications above the internet-as-a-platform layer are easier to use and more powerful than ever (e.g., Ruby on Rails, AJAX, many enabling open source software projects, et al). Access to the internet, its speed and continued drive toward ubiquity, is weaving it into the very fabric of culture and human interactions. The internet is also removing inefficiencies from almost every conceivable process to the point that most innovators I know instantly conceive of new, efficient models and software which incorporate some sort of internet connection component!

I’ve talked before about patents being a problem and barriers to innovation and so have alot of others. The challenges to innovation are greater today than ever before in history as is protecting ideas. I’ve counseled several friends, former colleagues and clients on the necessity of performing more due diligence than they’ve ever done previously as well as ensuring that they’re protecting their innovations and intellectual property. Otherwise their ideas and approaches will be on the other side of the world moments after someone clicks “send” in their email program or “submit” in their blog post.

Since I’m not involved in global intellectual property law (good Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) area here with Global IP links at the bottom right of the page) I can only watch from the sidelines and lean on smart people like Professor Larry Lessig, the EFF and others to form opinions and be somewhat smart about what to do and what not to do.

I quote the Roman philosopher Seneca in my “About Steve” page, “The best ideas are common property.” Even Seneca sensed that truly great ideas spring forth from like minds, are obvious and are owned by all. I submit that only the few actually seize these common ideas and turn them into reality. So seize the idea, do your due diligence and then move damn fast to protect it and to make it real.

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  1. Jason on October 2, 2006 at 3:50 pm

    Hey –

    I don’t know why you’re being such a prick on the 43 weblogs site. I never did anything to your entries, as the whole point of the site is to promote the best blogs, not to bash other people’s blogs. In fact, I haven’t even been to that site in over a week, as I’ve been out of town. You can tell by my lack of posting to my own site. If someone is messing with your stuff, I’m sorry, but don’t take your aggression out on me. The slander is unnecessary and unprovoked. Please stop.


  2. Steve on October 2, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    Huh? I just went there and looked at “history”.

    I’m so sorry to inform you that someone has been hijacking your IP address ( and has been there about EVERY DAY in the last week and made edits.

    No harm no foul.

  3. Jason on October 2, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    (please remove my full IP, thanks) Wow. I will have to seriously look into that. I would like to know how you even do that. Yeah, someone is trying to incite some sort of wiki war or something, but I don’t know why. I don’t even think your blog is bad.


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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.