I never want to run out of new ideas to contemplate. Some people say that technological progress will eventually reach a natural stopping point but my logic is that new inventions will always exist because as long as there are human minds in the universe, we will always wonder about what is next. Is my logic correct or does it have inherent flaws?

  • That's assuming civilization never regresses, which has happened before and could still be the case. When fossil fuels will be depleted and hydrogen or batteries will have failed to replace it, temperatures will be up a few degrees dramatically changing our supply chains for food production, people will still wonder "what is next?", but it will be about food and shelter.
    – armand
    Jul 2 at 22:20
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    But Futurism was an early 20th century movement. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurism What do you mean by Futurism?
    – user4894
    Jul 2 at 23:35
  • I would say Godel's Incompleteness shows the set of true things is not recursively enumerable, so can always be added to - like number lines iteration is possible infinitely
    – CriglCragl
    Jul 4 at 13:17
  • I think that your question is somewhat vague. What exactly do you mean with "idea"? Does something only become an idea once a person thinks of it or is it one before that? Jul 4 at 15:36

It depends on what you mean by "idea". It sounds like by "idea" you mean something similar to what contemporary philosophers mean by "proposition" (something that has a truth value and can be the object of belief).

It's very widely accepted that there are infinitely many propositions. For example, for all natural numbers n, one can contemplate the proposition that there are n dogs.

Whether a human being can contemplate an infinite number of propositions at the same time is an empirical (not philosophical) question, which will depend on what one means by "contemplate".


Futurism is normally linked to the movement in art that originated in Italy, early in the former century: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurism See also:

It accentuated newly invented technologies like cars, planes, the radio, rockets, new materials, household and garden equipment, electricity, etc. It put an emphasis on the new, the dynamics of invention, and the dynamics of youth and discovey. Perfectly fit for the newly developing fascist ideas whirling around in the Italy of the new leader Mussolini (former anarchist and socialist!). "Avanti!" (forwards!) was heard out of many mouths and meant to hurry and install a new order in which technique played a huge role. The "autostrada" were realized (serving as an example for the "Autobahn" in Nazi Germany.

This is not to say that the artists embraced fascism. The were just fond of technological inventions and progress (like you).

What about the eternity claim? In principle, there is no boundary to technological ingenuity of people. New ideas will always develop. There is no funamental upperbound and if there is one it will never be reached in practice.If the situation is right or just for the sake of or to make money with. In the thoughest circumstances people always find a way to survive, be it by technique or other means.

Of course there is a practical limit on how much things you can actually construct. But the old can always be rcycled into the new.

Of course one has to take into consideration that relentless engineering has consequences in Nature. The more technique is realized, the less Nature remains and biodiversity will dimish as can sadly already be seen around us in a changing climate. Another political climate is needed badly if mankind wants to survive and make it it into the future! But if we put our shoulders beneath it the production of energy and its transportation can be made neutral. Natural resources like the sun and carriers like hydrogen can be realized. Up till then I take my bike and hire a car if needed (to race the road... Avanti!). And let's hope that the world will not be thrown back to the stone age after nucleair conflict escalated to global proportions. The threat is still there and people in the stone age (whereto Einstein refers when talking about an eventual fourth worldwar) at least couldn't have fear for global annihilation. Technique is not the one and only way.

  • Probably the OP was thinking of futurology or future studies rather than anything linked to the art movement--"futurism" is sometimes used to mean the same thing, for example if you go to amazon's "look inside the book" feature of The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction and search for the keyword "futurism", p. 15 does use it as a synonym for futurology.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jul 2 at 22:59
  • @hypnosifl I think this is relevant too; futurism.com I think futurology is trying to predict the futurr. This can be what he means but I dont think so. He is interested in prrsent day tech. Not that of the future (well he might be actually, I dont know, but I dont think he wants to predict. Only if men will always find new tech things. Jul 2 at 23:08

There might be or not be infinite ideas floating around. There is no other means for investigate and count them than by looking at the ideas themselves. Looking at an abstract idea of ideas will not do.

The number of experienced ideas is finite untill now. One may speculate about other universes (parallel or previous) and try to figure out if for infinitely many worlds there is at least one idea different from others is available.

Suppose there were infinitely many big bangs before our own. Each one resulting in a universe comparable to ours. Will there be ideas floating around in the latest universe that weren't floating around previously? I am inclined to say yes. Human ingenuity knows no limits (as a figure of speech). But i have no formal proof as I don't think that ideas can be formulized. Well, it is possible, but when doing this you create a new idea about ideas and I don't think that's a good idea. Especially because infinitely ideas simply cannot be experienced by one person or whole humanity all together. You can split every idea up in sub-ideas or calculate the maximum number by looking at all possible configurations of particles in phasespace but in doing that, again you replace the ideas by an abstract idea of them. The contemplation of an infinite ideas is beyond anyone's reach.

If you could already now contemplate such an idea then future people would have nothing to come up with anymore. They would just have to take a look in the great book of ideas.

Maybe the world of ideas, as contemplated by Plato, contains infinite ideas to be drawn from (in the shadow cave you can even have indirect acces). But, again again, it is the contemplation of the ideas themselves that counts. Assigning infinity or a huge figure to the number of them doesn't make the ideas more or less valuable.

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