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Thread: The best ideas arise from a passionate interest in commonplace things.

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    The best ideas arise from a passionate interest in commonplace things.

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    "The best ideas arise from a passionate interest in commonplace things."

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    At the first glance, the world consists of simple things. But all you need is just to magnify them or to look at them from a different angle to see how complicated they actually are. I truely believe that careful and persistent investigation of even most commonplace objects has allowed mankind to create it's most significant ideas.

    People are always looking around them. It is a kind of a natural instinct - to look around and to notice new details in old things. A lot of tecnological innovations are derived from the prototypes created by nature. Throughout the time the flight of birds has inspired humans to make a flying machine which is heavier than air. A lot of prominent thinkers have tried to solve this problem until the law of uplifting force was discovered. This is an excellent example of how the pure inspiration by such common live creatures as birds has allowed humans to overcome the earth's grasp. Modern insect-like robots, used for exploration of space, may serve as another instance of usage of usual, but elaborated natural forms for the benefit of technology. However, engeneering is not the only sphere of human knowledge where the use of common objects allow to make a significant breakthrough.

    Contemporary Biology is another perfect example. While being nearly purely discriptive science in the XIX and early XX century, nowadays the life science is mostly experimental. Now, it becomes clear that the most significant accomplishments of molecular biology were reached through systematical and careful examination of the most common life creatures, the so-called model objects. The persistent investigation of a single celled baceria Escherichia coli allow mankind to create artificial insulin, to solve the question of a genetic code, to learn how the species evolve etc. One famous biological proverb states: "Everything that is true for E. coli will be true for elephant as well". And that is generally true.

    The art has also become somehow dependent from the common things. The paintors were always inspired by the forms of nature. Even one single landscape may allow several artists to see the new facets of a common picture. Some divisions of the modern art even use common objects in their unchanged form. The simple commonplace objacts become masterpieces if we learn how to look at the from a different angle. "Even a simple bathtab can be beatiful" - think some artists.

    In conclusion, it becomes evident that the mankind throughout it's history have used the commonplace things as a source of inspiration and new ideas. The ideas borrowed from nature find it's application in all spheres of technology. Use of common life organisms as model objects have serves as a basis of the rise of biological science. Art has also has finded it's inspiration in common forms.

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    "truly", "painters"

    I like this one! Maybe I would recommend to accentuate here more on "best ideas" (it is primarily discussing general ideas, especially part about paintings), but I still think it is very good essay. It is obvious, you can write even more next time!

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    Lime: Thanks for your response! Yes, I agree with you that the "art paragraph" is rather weak - I run out of time here and have only 5 minutes to write down intro and conclusion.

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    Please grade my essay!

    I'm trying to improve my writing score based on the last time I took the test - grades/comments are very much appreciated! Thanks in advance for your help!

    Prompt:

    The best ideas arise from a passionate
    interest in commonplace things.

    Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree
    with the statement above and explain your
    reasoning for the position you take. In developing
    and supporting your position, you should consider
    ways in which the statement might or might not
    hold true and explain how those considerations
    shape your position.

    My Answer:

    Great ideas come in all shapes and sizes, and determining which ones are best is in many ways a subjective judgment. Nevertheless, a quick survey of the history of innovation clearly supports the idea that a passion for commonplace things is as good as a passion for anything else at producing great ideas. Ray Kroc ended up buying into the fastfood business when, as a milkshake machine salesman, he noticed a particularly large order from the McDonald brothers and was so impressed with their business when he saw it that he decided he had to get into it. And Adam Smith produced a grand theory about The Causes of the Wealth of Nations by integrating innumerable personal and anecdotal observations with the philosophy and political economy of his time. Both instances illustrate a fundamental link between great ideas and a passion for everyday things, but they also illustrate that great ideas tend to come from those who have an interest in how common things relate to the big picture.

    The 1950s witnessed the birth of fastfood, and with it, a handful of new fastfood tycoons to reap the benefits. Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds, always wanted to start a business, but it wasn’t until he was well into his forties that he saw an opportunity to do it. He had been selling milkshake machines to all of the new fastfood restaurants sprouting up all over the place, but generally only one machine per store. One day, though, he received an order from the McDonalds brothers for four machines. He quickly calculated the number of milkshakes the machines could provide at one time and decided he had to go see the McDonalds’ business to see if they were really doing that kind of volume. Had he been less passionate about his job, his curiosity likely would not have been so strong as to compel him to visit the McDonalds store, and it is even less likely that it would have resulted in all the questions he asked the brothers about their business when he did so. Because of his passionate interest in what was happening around him, he saw the promise for fastfood restaurants in America’s rapidly growing car culture, and found an opportunity to take advantage of it – simply because he was curious about why the McDonald brothers needed four milkshake machines.

    Similarly, Adam Smith’s interest in how everyday people conducted their affairs and his meticulous observations of their economic behavior led him to develop a unifying theory of The Causes of the Wealth of Nations. In The Wealth of Nations, Smith illustrates many of his ideas with examples taken from his observations of behavior in local marketplaces, structures of early corporations and trading institutions, and insights about different industries gleaned from conversations with workers at all levels. For example, he asserts that wages in different employments are based in part on the amount of education one receives before entering the occupation, and then goes on to discuss colliers and lawyers, noting that lawyers invest more time and money in their education (and also have a lower probability of success), so part of the reason lawyers are paid more than colliers is to compensate them for this added expense. Smith even approximates the success ratio for lawyers at the time at 20 to 1, versus a near 100 percent success rate for colliers (in terms of getting into the occupation). This level of detail is extremely helpful in illustrating the basic reasoning behind his theories, and it is fundamentally tied to Smith’s passion for common place things.

    However, Smith and Kroc both illustrate how an interest in common place things needs to be united with a desire to understand their place in the bigger picture in order to produce great ideas. Kroc always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and when he saw the McDonalds booming business he grabbed the opportunity and didn’t let go, leading McDonalds to become the largest fast food corporation on Earth. Smith could be endlessly captivated by individual accounts from businessmen and men involved in trades of any kind. But it was his interest in how all of these individuals’ behavior could be made sense of in aggregate that led to the formation of his greatest ideas. Smith and Kroc both demonstrate that the best ideas are not only dependent on passion for commonplace things, but also on passion for understanding the potential of those things in a greater context.

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