Truth is always consistent with itself, and needs nothing to help it out. It is always near at hand, and sits upon our lips, and is ready to drop out before we are aware; whereas a lie is troublesome, and sets a man's invention upon the rack; and one trick needs a great many more to make it good.
Significant inventions are not mere accidents... Happenstance usually plays a part, to be sure, but there is much more to invention than the popular notion of a bolt out of the blue. Knowledge in depth and in breadth are virtual prerequisites. Unless the mind is thoroughly changed beforehand, the proverbial spark of genius, if it should manifest itself, probably will find nothing to ignite.
The children who go to bed hungry in a Harlem slum or a West Virginia mining town are not being deprived because no food can be found to give them; they are going to bed hungry because, despite all our miracles of invention and production, we have not yet found a way to make necessities of life available to all of our citizens - including those whose failure is not lack of personal industry or initiative, but only an unwise choice of parents.
Whatever therefore is consequent to a tie of war, where every man is enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such a condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
To create consists precisely in not making unclear combinations and in making those which are useful and which are only a small minority. Invention is discernment, choice. If not a brute algorithm, then it must be a heuristic that guides us to a fruitful combination. What is the heuristic?
It is said to have been reported to one of the Roman emperors, as a piece of good news, that one of his subjects had invented a process for manufacturing unbreakable glass. The emperor gave orders that the inventor should be put to death and the records of his invention should be destroyed. If the invention had been put on the market, the manufacturers of regular glass would have been put out of business; there would have been unemployment that would have caused political unrest, and perhaps revolution.
No invention could ever take the hard work out of creating - out of good writing, painting, composing, inventing, etc. The economy of the spirit is incurably an economy of scarcity. An affluent society might be able to dispense with the ethic of work in its everyday life, but to attain any sort of excellence it will have to implant implacable taskmasters in the breasts of its people. Indeed, without the disciple of the creative effort the affluent society will be without stability. It might have to become a creative society in order to survive.