I’ve wondered about this expression for some time. I’ve always thought that it referred to wiping your slate (chalkboard) clean before starting something. I just finished a google search and found that it can have a deeper meaning or much lighter.
One thing I found deals with the whole “Nature or Nurture” question. The blank slate referring to a child being born with no thoughts or instincts and everything is learned from the environment. Too deep for my taste this evening.
I also found a rather poorly written (in my opinion) Harry Potter based story. Dealing with one persons magically induced amnesia. Yawn.
There were a few sites that used “the Blank Slate” as part of their name. Nothing that really caught my eye.
One or two political references to the Blank State were also found, and that is all I will say on that.
Even one reference to a Blank State Theater. More to my liking, but not exactly what I was looking for.
Funny, I didn’t easily find anything close to what I actually had in mind when I formed those words in my mind.
So, since I didn’t find what I was looking for, I’m going to have to think more on exactly what starting with a blank slate means. Look for further updates or add your own..
2 thoughts on “Blank Slate”
To it means just as you said, starting from nothing, clean, blank. It’s origin being a clean chalkboard seems reasonable to me.
Dr. Phil always says that kids are blank slates and that parents have to be careful what is “written” on them. I agree with his interpretation regarding the innocence of children, and I also believe that the term can refer to someone who is trying to start over in life by stopping some sort of undesirable behavior or habit. Then again, that would probably be referring to a ‘clean slate’ rather than a blank one… so scratch that last part.
Dictionary.com says: blank slate
n. Something that has yet to be marked, determined, or developed: “Neurobiologists have been arguing for decades over whether embryonic neurons are blank slates or prefabricated units destined for a particular fate” (Natalie Angier).