So anyway, are we seeing and experiencing more frequent 'breakthroughs' in our thinking, as a result of our hand social contexts? In my case, I think... maybe.
For me breakthroughs often seem to be about context and perspective. What am I breaking through? It's often my own hide-bound notions and set-in-stone ways of thinking. The social dimension lends a wider context that allows me to jump the tracks and see my own ideas anew. I had a good example this evening where sharing an idea I have been thinking about with my good friend Max Blumberg, over a few beers. Max was enthusiastic and, in his reflections and contributions, cast the idea a new, considerably more ambitious, light.
Indeed pretty much my whole working experience leads me to believe that the social element is essential to realise my breakthroughs. But I guess that this does not have to be supplied by real, live, individuals. Quite often the trigger for a breakthrough will come to me from a book. Smails "Illusion & Reality" being a recent case in point.