Ideas: Definition, Origin, Meaning, Function

Friedrich Nietzsche:

“Ideas come when they want, not when I want.”

Jean Genet:

“Ideas don’t interest me so much as the shape of ideas.”

April 3, 2020.

The sociologist Robert K. Merton has pointed out “the role of ideas in directing action into particular channels.”

It is the dominating system of ideas which determines the choice between alternative modes of action which are equally compatible with the underlying sentiments.

Without such guidance and direction, no-logical action would become, within the limits of the value system, random.

Karl Mannheim:

Role of Ideas

Ideas are not dreamsĀ  and desires imaginary imperatives wafted down from some absolute sphere; they have ratherĀ  a concrete life of their own and a definite function in the total process.

They die away when they become outmoded, and they can be realized when the social process attains to a given structural situation. Without such relevance to reality, they become merely obfuscating “ideologies.”