Light Bulb Ideas

Light Bulb Ideas

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Did you know an early twentieth-century cartoon, Felix the Cat, was created more than a decade before Disney dreamed up Mickey Mouse? Felix was the most popular cartoon character of his time and was largely responsible for stirring America’s appetite for animated films. 

Some of the revolutionary concepts that originated with the cartoon were the symbols that would appear above Felix’s head while he was thinking. Occasionally the symbols like a question mark or a musical note would turn into a ladder, vehicle, or door— which became a prop within the story. As unimpressive as this may sound by today’s standard, it was movie magic for our ancient movie-going ancestors. 

There was one symbol that appeared in an episode airing in 1925 that would change the relationship between an image and a concept from that moment on. The image was of a simple lightbulb. It appears floating above Felix’s head at the very moment in which he’s struck with an idea. This was the first time the bulb and the brain were used to illustrate “sudden inspiration.”

Some Secular Speculations 

I•DE•A “A thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.”

The origin of an idea is an interesting puzzle that’s yet to be solved by the secular world. Educated guesses have been made in an attempt to determine where and how an idea is formed, but these guesses remain guesses— and are often debated. Are they formed in the conscious or subconscious mind? Are they speculated solutions to problems that are lumped together inside of our prefrontal cortexes to aid in verifying our hunches? Who could say? The Bible seems to indicate that ideas are personal, and personal ideas should be dealt with carefully. 

Clues In Scripture 

“For from within, out of the human heart, come evil ideas, sexual immorality, theft, murder…”

Mk. 7.21 

“There was a lot of whispered discussion and murmuring among the crowds about Jesus. Some were saying, “He is a good man”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He misleads the people giving them false ideas.”

Jn. 7.12

Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there used to spend their time doing nothing else other than listening to the latest ideas or repeating them.”

Acts 17.21 

There are other passages in the Bible that we could go to in order to further prove that ideas were seen as natural in their formation. They develop or die in the human mind and the originator of the idea will either reject it and remain silent or accept it and vocalize it. 

Is it a Good One or a Bad One?  

Spiritually speaking, a good idea typically shows itself as a novel or untried solution to facilitate a command. If the principles are based in Truth, then the idea is not only a good one— but it’s bound to mature into its desired result. 

A bad idea is one that’s dreamed up in the mind(s), unchecked by God’s counsel, and blindly pursued (1 Sam. 13, Ex. 32). 

Summarized in a Single Sip 

A true “light bulb” idea has never been credited to the human imagination because all the good (best) ones stem from the One unfailing Light (Lk. 18.19). A “golden calf” idea stems from imperfect opinions and the wishes of man. 

It’s always a good idea to chase down the source material, no matter how sensible an idea may sound. 

Dale Pollard

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