“Panidealism” is an idealist philosophy underlying some of my recent efforts to revise the systems of formal research and higher education. However, it is my own personal philosophy, and should not be linked to the institution I am founding. It bears some similarities to the philosophies of Kant, Russell, Plato, Aristotle, and Berkeley, but it was developed independently of these philosophies. The philosophy concerns itself with ideas - primarily what they are, how to generate them, and how they interact with reality. It will probably make you more creative (all but the ethics section, anyway, which takes a wider, societal scope), and many experts on creativity have independently espoused similar behaviors for fostering creativity (likely consequences of the underlying abstract principles we present herein). It is founded on the following principles, which are discussed in detail in their respective sections:
Before proceeding, it should be noted that we do not use “ideas” solely to refer to creations of the mind. Rather, we consider them in a manner closer to Plato's Forms: abstract principles comprehensible by the mind, particularly the intuition. Examples include “made of wood”, “occupation”, “Gaussian”, and “Beethoven Sonata”.
- Universality: Ideas form the basis; reality forms the image. That is, every concept that is naturally present in the tangible world is a combination of a set of more primitive ideas. Understanding a thing, whether a physical object, a philosophy, or an innovation, means understanding the nature and interaction of its constituent ideas. Because the individual ideas can be parsed and examined by reason, comprehending one thing expedites comprehending another. Thus, knowledge - our grasp of these ideas - is universal.
- Additivity: Because our knowledge is the sum grasp of these ideas and no new insight can take ideas away, it is prudent to gain exposure to as many new ideas as possible. Even falsehoods yield additional truths (their negations - they tell us what is not). Thus, known truth and known falsehood add directly to knowledge. Ideas of unknown veracity still add to knowledge, for they encourage integration of existing ideas and creation of new problem-solving techniques. Because any exposure to ideas increases knowledge, censorship of ideas deliberately induces ignorance and has no place in an enlightened society.
- Objectivity: Ideas possess an objective measure of absolute worth. They do not exist in an abstract realm, but are found in their implementations within reality. Even abstract ideas that have no tangible representations, such as the concept of a polynomial equation, retain objective meaning through their intangible representation within reality.
- Subjectivity: Paradoxically, the objective value of an idea is hidden from us. The complete set of ideas is infinite, thus comprehension of any idea's intrinsic nature requires an infinite amount of knowledge. This is the “Panidealist Duality”. Because we can do no better, we should estimate freely. However, because our estimations may be highly inaccurate, restricting the innate tendency for ideas to propagate based on estimates of their worth or potential impact is presumption of the highest order. This is yet another reason to avoid censorship of any sort.
- Interaction: Ideas have a force of their own, such as the “innate tendency for propagation” just mentioned. The essences of art, science, and technology are creativity and intuition, which are essentially receptive states for “communication” with ideas. As many creative individuals can attest, their ideas compel them to create. Though a great boon to society, this can place great demands on creators. Though the demand is truly in the mind of the creator rather than an innate property of the idea, it is still a clamor for the expression of that specific and unique idea. Additionally, ideas can interact with each other. For example, the rules of counterpoint as they appear to a composer (one set of ideas) influence the theme and development of a musical piece (a new idea). One idea can thus be used to manipulate another.