Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good Ideas

Published in the Fiji Times - Wednesday 3rd March, 2010

Bob Gass, an American-based Christian pastor, broadcaster and author of several books including the devotionals, "The Word Today," writes that, "Good ideas come from God, so ask Him for one.

The world's been blessed by those who did."

He offers as an example, anaesthesia: how would you like to be operated on without it? "That is the way they did it until a Scottish doctor named James Young Simpson introduced something he called "artificial sleep".

As a student at Edinburgh University he was attracted to surgery because he was troubled by the pain and mortality rate experienced during operations.

As a result of reading 'And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam...' (Genesis 2:21 NKJV), Simpson thought chloroform might be the answer. He first experimented on himself.

Finally, in 1847, the first three operations with chloroform took place. One of the patients, a young soldier, enjoyed it so much that he seized the sponge and inhaled again.

"It was just too good to be stopped," he aid."

According to Gass, Simpson encountered some initial opposition.

"Some thought it was a sin to interfere with nature. 'Hand me the Bible,' said Dr Simpson. 'This is how God operated on Adam.'

Simpson made speeches, wrote letters and pamphlets and tried to convince those who opposed him that this was the way forward.

In a setback, when three deaths attributed to chloroform were reported from other hospitals, Simpson was able to show them that they were not applying the anaesthesia correctly.

The tide turned when Queen Victoria gave birth to her eighth child under chloroform and declared that she was 'greatly pleased with its effect'."

I should mention here that I am in no way endorsing the concept of sniffing of substances (pun pun) for enjoyment or escape from reality.

The point is that a good idea is not an idea that benefits just yourself (perhaps at the expense of others), or that has only a short term benefit, with long term problems - those are the ideas that we say, "it seemed like a good idea at the time," (like that extra tanoa or two of yaqona when you know you've all had enough and have to get up early in the morning).

Some definitions (Merriam-Webster online dictionary) that we can apply to ideas that "good" are:

"of a favorable character or tendency"; "suitable", "fit"; "not depreciated"; "commercially sound"; "that can be relied on"; "profitable"; "advantageous"; "wholesome"; "of a noticeably large size or quantity"; "well-founded"; "true"; "honorable"; "choice"; "virtuous"; "right"; "commendable; kind"; "benevolent"; "competent"; "skillful"; "loyal"; "close"; "free from infirmity or sorrow".

If we take these definitions into consideration, an idea that is "good" needs to be an idea that is positive, virtuous and benefits the greatest number for the longest time.

A truly "good" idea then, must not be limited to just one person, or just one group but the whole - not just me, or my community, but everyone and by extension everything.

This may sound very idealistic, but is it not important for us to have ideals? Is it not important to measure our ideas by the weight of our values and principles? Many ideas, from the simple to the grandest of schemes fail to meet these basic criteria of a "good" idea, because of a simplistic understanding of "good".

Perhaps we are short-changing ourselves when we, either out of desperation or a lack of deeper reflection label our mediocre ideas as good ideas.

This happens when we rush, clutching at the first idea that comes to us, without thinking it through. A good idea is also of no use if it remains just that, an idea. The value of a good idea is more than just the outcome of the idea.

It is the effort you are willing to put into taking that idea from a mental or metaphysical plane into the physical.

How good you think your ideas actually are, determines how hard you are willing to work to bring it.

Many positive affirmations, and flashes of brilliance are never acted on.

I often wonder whether we allow ourselves to be distracted or whether in fact we are conditioned to act only on ideas that are simple and take less work.

I am not suggesting that every good idea needs to be complex.

The simplest of good ideas sometimes has the most impact.

What is important is that we take time to evaluate where our ideas are coming from and what they mean for us and for others. A good idea, a divinely-inspired idea is one that blesses others. We all contain the divine spark, we all are able to have good ideas. All we have to do is to open ourselves up to the possibility, reflect on the purpose and then act on it.

May the rest of your week be blessed with good ideas and the courage to act on them.

This article is the sole opinion of Reverend JS Bhagwan and not that of this newspaper or any organisation that Mr Bhagwan is associated with.

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