The (Idea) Ether · 13 March 2021

There is this old imaginary substance in the universe called ether. Nowadays ether is where forgotten ideas go to be snatched up by somebody else.

Back in ancient times, people could not understand or imagine a vacuum. They thought there had to be a medium to transmit the light and heat of the sun. So they figured that ether was the thing. For the ancients, space and indeed the universe was full of ether.

We no longer believe that there is ether in space. Of course, we do have Ethernet and a gas called ether. Still, I like to think that there is this imaginary ether all around us. Even more pervasive than what the ancients thought. This imaginary ether is where ideas live.

I came up with this idea ether long ago. So long ago that I thought I had already written about it. (I looked at my old stuff and only found one mention of ether in my old writings. Which I thought was odd. After all, in my own mind, it seems I have already written about everything.)

Nobody really knows where ideas come from. Oh sure, there are times when we are talking or just thinking about something and a great idea springs from the conversation (even if that conversation was with yourself). That sort of idea genesis is common. It is probably even where the notion of brainstorming came from. Get people together to talk about stuff and ideas pop out. Some might even be actionable.

(I must note here that I do not really like making verbs or pseudoverbs from nouns. Actionable seems to be one of those words. It is technically an adjective, a word that describes a noun, but it still seems a questionable word to me. Even though questionable is legitimate, but probably has the same background as actionable.)

While brainstorming is often how we plan to get ideas, there are other ideas that pop into our heads seemingly from nowhere. Which is where my imaginary ether, my idea ether, comes in.

The idea ether is an imaginary place where ideas live. Ideas circulate around the universe in the ether, and pop into people’s heads at any moment. Sometimes those people act on those ideas. When they do, the ideas are removed from the ether. Even the act of writing down those ideas is good enough to remove them from the ether. At least for a time.

The bad part about the idea ether is that sometimes ideas pop into your head and just pop right back out into the ether. Oh sure, the ether usually gives you enough time to at least write the idea down, but sometimes it is capricious and just takes the idea away without giving you any chance of acting upon it. But if you are like me, those times are the times when you can come up with great fish stories. The idea that got away can be such a marvelous story. (I actually did write about that. More than once.)

One good thing about the ether, is that there must be eddy currents that keep ideas close to you. When you have a great idea pop into your head only to pop out again just as quickly, it seems to hover close. It gnaws at you just out of your reach because the ether eddy currents keep the idea near. The idea taunts you because the ether seems to have a mind of its own. A mind that likes to tease you.

I know. It is crazy to think that ideas roam around in an imaginary substance called ether. But it makes sense to me. After all, if that ether did not exist, why is it that somebody else comes up with my great idea that I forgot? I could have had the idea to invent the internet, but lost it back into the ether. Really. Okay. Not really. I would have had to have been a child genius to have the idea first. And people tell me all the time that I am far from being a genius.

Well, I could probably write for days about the idea ether that I imagined long ago. But I will end with just one more thought. Write your ideas down.

When you write your ideas on a piece of paper, you take them out of the ether. Even if you just take them out for a while, you will have better fish stories than if you never write any of your great ideas on paper. And yes, you do have great ideas. So act on some of them. You never know. You might create the next best thing since sliced bread.

I hope that you are blessed with many ideas. You can even say they come from the ether. I just hope you do not let them escape back to the ether to be grabbed by somebody else. Unless, of course, you just want to keep telling big fish stories.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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