Creating and sharing wacky ideas can be just plain fun. I
recently read about one man's crazy idea to give away free gas
an make money doing so. There were remote-controlled paintball
guns with cameras on them, connected to a web site where people
would pay to fire paintballs at drivers as they filled up. This
guy even went so far as to ask city officials if they would allow
a business like this. Apparently they wouldn't, but it did make
Humor and fun can be good things, but there is often something
to be gained from exploring crazy ideas as well. Some really
unusual ideas have lead to practical solutions for business.
For example, the idea of eyes on shoes lead (by a circuitous
route) to safety reflectors which make joggers more visible to
drivers at night. And important questions of philosophy, psychology
and morality that can be profitably explored from the perspective
of an unusual concept. Consider the following example.
A Thousand Mile Hole
An image came to mind one day, of an isolated forest where
a hole a thousand miles deep and several hundred feet across
is found. Instead of ignoring this idea, I worked with it for
a while. I imagined falling into the hole. I realized that because
of air resistance, I would quickly reach a terminal velocity
of around 120 miles-per-hour or so. At that speed I would have
eight hours before hitting the bottom.
Imagine yourself in this scenario for a moment. It is a very
certain countdown to death, and you know you have about eight
hours to live, so what do you think about as you fall? Does it
matter what you do or think? What if you could hold a pen and
piece of paper against the wind, what would you write about?
Assuming for the moment that someday your remains will be
discovered, you could have something to offer the world with
your writing - an intriguing thought. The writings of the first
person to fall a thousand miles to his or her death would generate
enough interest that people would surely read what you wrote.
Would this eight hour journey provide some special insights?
Could you share something that might help other people in some
Now consider if you had no pen nor paper. Death is coming
and nobody will ever know what happened during these eight hours
of falling. Does everything you think or do then become irrelevant?
Most people would like to think that with even eight months left
to live what we do matters. What about eight hours though? Do
you try to live the "good" life for those remaining
hours, and what would that mean? Having loving thoughts about
others, or trying to see the bright side of life?
These ideas bounced around in my own mind for a while, and
one question in particular came to mind more than once: What
is the reason for morality or any decisions we make. Is an action
or thought moral (or immoral) only on the basis of an expected
or actual future result? There isn't much of a future when one
is falling eight hours to one's death, so is there any moral
significance to thoughts and actions that are in the moment,
in the action itself - in this case as you fall to certain death?
It might be worth considering the metaphorical value of the
above scenario too. What would be a "thousand mile deep
hole" that we might fall into? Is there a new spiritual
perspective to be gained in the process, with which we are "reborn"
after the presumed death from the fall?
New and unusual ideas may come from unconscious places that
are trying to show us something important or insightful. They
are an opportunity to look at things from a new perspective.
Imagine a new creature, for example, the "deniaphant."
This is a being who is human-like but with elephant-like feet
which are so large that he regularly steps on and kills people
wherever he goes. That makes him very sad, so what is his solution
to this problem? Simple - he just stops looking down when he
A silly thought perhaps, yet it immediately suggests itself
as a metaphor for what we humans actually do at times. We simple
refuse to look at the pain and suffering we cause others, because
that's easier than watching where we step. Develop the story
of the deniaphant further and we might see what the consequences
of such an approach are. We might even have some insight into
what could be done differently. Stories and examples like these
hint at the value of unique ideas when they are explored with
an open mind and a willingness to play with them.