(...) ideas aren't summoned from nowhere: they come from raw material, other ideas or observations about the world. Hence a two-step creative process: collect raw material, then think about it. From this process comes pattern recognition and eventually the insights that form the basis of novel ideas.
— Creative professionals and the two-step process for developing ideas
Luck favours the prepared mind
— Louis Pasteur
I think the trick with knowledge is to "acquire it, and forget all except the perfume" -- because it is noisy and sometimes drowns out one's own "brain voices". The perfume part is important because it will help find the knowledge again to help get to the destinations the inner urges pick.
I soon raised the question with myself, "What is the smallest or close to the smallest program I believe could think?" Clearly if the program were divided in two parts, then neither piece could think.
— Limits of computer applications - AI-I - Richard Hamming
- Nothing is original.
- Everything is a remix.
- Creatio ex nihilo is a myth.
- Originality is a romantic idea.
— Johannes Mutter - https://twitter.com/JohannesMutter/status/1260188809112817665
I've advocated "learn everything and then forget it except for the perfume". This can create a mental space for thinking which will inescapably be helped by what we know - it's really hard to completely forget! - but in which what we know (mostly meaning what we believe!) is far enough away to allow us to feel things, listen to our subconscious whispers, and generally barge around.
— Alan Kay - https://www.quora.com/What-advice-would-Alan-Kay-give-a-curious-individual-to-improve-their-ability-to-think-and-learn-Is-there-a-place-to-see-his-library-%E2%80%94-every-book-person-and-research-he-has-studied/answer/Alan-Kay-11
One way to think about a Dynabook is that it is mainly centered about all aspects of user interface design, especially for children, and not just about how to access, learn and use a computer but how to access, learn and use ideas.
— Alan Kay - https://www.quora.com/What-lessons-were-learned-in-aspiring-towards-the-DynaBook-and-have-any-of-its-original-goals-become-dated/answer/Alan-Kay-11
Perhaps oddly, I find even this works. If I tell myself to mechanically write down 5 new ideas, I can do it. They're usually bad, but then somehow later in the day I'm more likely to have a good idea arise "spontaneously" [sic]
— Michael Nielsen - https://twitter.com/michael_nielsen/status/1350897498244612096