George Boole invented a mathematical tool for future computer-builders--an "algebra of logic" that was used nearly a hundred years later to link the process of human reason to the operations of machines. The idea came to him in a flash of inspiration when he was walking across a meadow one day, at the age of seventeen, but it took him twenty years to teach himself enough mathematics to write The Laws of Thought.

Although Boole's lifework was to translate his inspiration into an algebraic system, he continued to be so impressed with the suddenness and force of the revelation that hit him that day in the meadow that he also wrote extensively about the powers of the unconscious mind. After his death Boole's widow turned these ideas into a kind of human potential cult, a hundred years before the "me decade."

-_Tools For Thought_ by Howard
Rheingold