From TED talks to panel debates, we are becoming increasingly bombarded with ideas. But it’s not as if we don’t want them. When it comes to ideas, we seek them out. We believe they are the source of innovation and inspiration. We seek out people with ideas, and when we have ideas of our own, we feel good.
But ideas are not the be-all and end-all. The trouble with ideas is that they keep us in our heads. As such, they can cut us off from other forms of experience, forms that are non-cognitive. They fill our minds with abstractions. Ideas are not real. Nor do they feed the soul. What possible use does the soul have for ideas?
At the RSA, writer and philosopher Robert Rowland Smith maps out the territory beyond ideas and encourages us to develop other ways of knowing that enable us to experience the world more richly.