The Power of Ideas

Aug 10 , 2019
By Tsion Fisseha

Black is the lack of colour. This was the statement that started a very long argument between my co-worker and me. We both went on explaining the idea from our point of view, unable to find a middle ground.

This was a measure of something more profound than colour. It was the measure of the ability to listen to ideas to understand each other’s perspective.

This world encompasses millions of ideas, and each idea holder has a firm belief that it is the ultimate truth,  a view that has torn thousands of families, countries, friendships and businesses apart.

Abraham Loeb explains the origin of ideas, on a blog in Scientific American, as the following: Ideas originate from pregnant minds, just as babies emerge from the bellies of their mothers.

There are two schools of thought about where ideas come from. The first school of thought suggests that ideas float in some barely perceptible ether waiting for someone to pick them up, while the second school suggests that ideas come from hard work and concentration.

Regardless of their origin, however, ideas have existed for as long as the creation of the human species and maybe even longer than that.

And for as long as they have existed, they have differed among cultures, spaces and people.

These differences have sometimes been resolved in a civilised manner, but more often than not, they have been the core reason behind bloodshed and unending wars among nations and nationalities leaving bruises and irritations on every generation.

A point, for example, that is being taken up by Democrats in debates for the upcoming US election is whether reparations should be paid to black people for slavery. It is a point that has been debated for many years and has been one of the reasons for various movements in the black community in America.

The tough part of this concept is the thin line that separates the idea from the person and vice versa. Ideas can clash with one another and become productive and a means of a better outcome.

However, when they are personalised to the person that raises them, they become the reasons of war, conflict and instability.

Most times, the victims of these instabilities are those who are unaware of the depth of the ideas raised by the people who are running the show.

The fact that ideas always have consequences is a truth that is neglected often. These consequences can vary from positive to adverse to destructive, but regardless, they do have consequences.

Being aware of the outcome should be the first thing that should be thought about while thinking about spreading an idea across the universe.

The late Robin Williams once said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

And if this is deemed to be correct, care should be given to both concepts. The argument between my co-worker and I started with the idea of black being a colour or not but gradually escalated into personal attacks. Ideas tend to get a hold of our ego and pride. They tend to make us believe that if we lost the argument, then we have failed ourselves and our ancestors.

This perception, however, is something that should be changed. Fallen ideas don’t make a fallen human. A fallen idea builds a better person, more aware of the different aspects of life, the different challenges and the various perspectives.

Ideas make the world go around, but if not spoken and appropriately heard, if they are not handled with care, they have all the power of weapons of mass destruction, and they can surely burn this entire globe to ashes.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 10,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1006]

Tsion Fisseha is a writer and head of foreign languages in the news department at a local TV station. She has been a part of a pan African poetry slam competition representing Ethiopia and is a member of a rock band entitled the Green Manalishi. She can be reached at

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