“Combinatory play,” said Einstein, “seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.”
Ruminating on the necessity of both reading and writing, so as not to confine ourselves to either, Seneca in one of his Epistles, advised that we engage in Combinatorial Creativity — that is, gather ideas, sift them, and combine them into a new creation.
Montaigne, perhaps echoing Seneca, reasoned that we must take knowledge and make it our own, Seneca comments:
The Loeb Classic Library collection of Seneca’s Epistles in three volumes (1-65, 66-92, and 92-124), should be read by all in its entirety. Of course, if you don’t have time to read them all, you can read a heavily curated version of them.
This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.
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