Brooke [Shields] is superficial, she talks only about things rather than ideas. — Attributed to Andre Agassi.

BrookeSupposedly Brooke graduated Magna from Yale, so she must be a well-reasoned thingophile. I called my college daughter this morning, hoping to give fatherly advice on "how not to be superficial." A simple formula: in speech, increase the ratio (ideas)/(things).

This advice rapidly became convoluted. An idea fundamentally is a thing. Structurally — an arrangement of specific neuronal connections. Money certainly is a thing, but also an idea; an idea which can transmit ideas (e.g. paying a consultant for ideas). A vehicle to facilitate trading of things, often glorified, and vilified, by people with conflicting ideas about the value of things.

Breast implants are things, with an idea behind them (a new tee-shirt logo?). Make-up is a thing — to present an illusory idea; allure, of youth and seduction, and escape from the idea of time, aging, and death.

Brooke may have had ideas about using her things to get things — a very common idea.

The advice was unnecessary as my daughter isn't superficial. But still it's interesting that smart, beautiful women, who never do things by accident, use the idea of things to get things.





Speak your mind

4 Comments so far

  1. Nic Chalmers on November 20, 2009 6:28 am

    Surely everything that exists (let's stay with manmade) originated as a thought/notion/idea and is simply a manifestation of that thought? Yes, nothing would happen unless there was some extra effort and, usually, money but everything starts with an idea.

    How many traders self destruct as they have the idea that they do not deserve their returns or are afraid of success? How much of our trading returns are a direct result of our attitudes rather than our "luck"?

    I will ponder this while fishing this weekend and thank you for the reflection.

  2. Rocky Humbert on November 20, 2009 12:43 pm

    Fact check, please:

    If this post is about Brooke Shields, she went to Princeton — not Yale. Rumor has it that Yale rejected her … whether that was a compliment or insult is left as an exercise for the reader. (For those who care about such trivia, Shields was in the Princeton class of 1987.)

    Her contemporary, Jodie Foster graduated magna cum laude from Yale …

  3. Don Chu on November 20, 2009 4:43 pm

    Interesting and amusing post. Actually, its all about the Names…

    “Names are names of things, not of our ideas. ”
    “Are names more properly said to be the names of things or of our ideas of things?”
    “The mind can conceive a multitude of individual things as one assemblage or class, and general names do really suggest to us certain ideas or mental representations…”

    -John Stuart Mill, Philosophy of Scientific Method - Book I “Of Names and Propositions”

    [See Nominalism]

    And the chinese “School of Names” (especially of Hui Shi and Gongsun Longzi):

    The “White Horse Discourse” and “Pointing and Things” of Gongsun Longzi:

    And of course Mohist logic and philosophy of language in “Names and Things”:

  4. Names « Late Monsoons… on March 19, 2010 6:09 pm


Resources & Links