3
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Prelude (with no hint in prelude)

There are many hints here, the answer fits ALL of them - though it may be a bit tedious to show examples for each hint... So if you get the right answer I will accept one example for each block of hints, hope you enjoy.


I can be bad. I can be dangerous. I can be good. I can be better.

I can be simple. I can be complex. I can be crazy. I can be absurd.

I can be wrong. I can be right. I can be radical. I can be bright.

I can be popular. I can be wrong. I can be given. I can be expressed.

You can have me, likely you will many times. I might escape you or you might lose me in time.

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I suspect there are quite a lot of things these all apply to fairly well, but my guess at the specific word the questioner has in mind is:

idea.

I can be bad. I can be dangerous. I can be good. I can be better.

"That was a bad idea. This is a better one. This other one is a good idea too." "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" (title of a book by Daniel Dennett).

I can be simple. I can be complex. I can be crazy. I can be absurd.

"The theory of evolution is basically a very simple idea." "The Langlands Programme in analytic number theory is a very complex idea." "Don't do that -- that's a crazy idea." "You may think this is an absurd idea, but let me explain why it really makes sense."

I can be wrong. I can be right. I can be radical. I can be bright.

"The idea that the world was created by the sneezing of the Great Green Arkleseizure is intriguing, but wrong." "Yes, you've got the right idea. Now explain why all the clues fit." "Feminism is the radical idea that women are people." (This slogan actually usually has "notion", but "idea" works about as well.) "This is a tricky problem, but I've had a bright idea that may help."

I can be popular. I can be wrong. I can be given. I can be expressed.

"Cutting taxes is always a popular idea." "Yes, it's a plausible-sounding idea, but it's wrong." "That word you just used gives me an idea." "Populist politicians gain their success by giving expression to ideas that are unacceptable to the elite but resonate with a large fraction of voters."

You can have me, likely you will many times. I might escape you or you might lose me in time.

"I've had an idea." "I had an idea for how to solve this puzzle, but I got distracted and now it's gone."

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  • $\begingroup$ Nailed it... and just like you said, there are probably many, many that fit in a way one could describe as 'close-to, kind-of, could-be' but ultimately (until I'm proven wrong) this is the only answer that fits perfectly. $\endgroup$ – MegaMark Jun 10 '16 at 16:01
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Maybe you are a

Theory

I can be bad. I can be dangerous. I can be good. I can be better.

Theories can be all of this, a bad theory can become a better one if you improve it

I can be simple. I can be complex. I can be crazy. I can be absurd.

Theories can be all of this, a simple theory without much thinking, and some are so complex nobody understands them

I can be wrong. I can be right. I can be radical. I can be bright.

Some theorys are proven wrong, some are proven as right

I can be popular. I can be wrong. I can be given. I can be expressed.

Some theories are more popular then other

You can have me, likely you will many times. I might escape you or you might lose me in time.

Every one has some theories during his life. Sometimes you will be proven wrong

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  • $\begingroup$ This was pretty good, but a couple (hint 3, pt 4 & the last hint) don't quite fit perfectly. A <your answer> might escape a person, but how would one lose <your answer> in time. (although it may be lost in general, a person would not lose it)... truly love the answer, but not what I was looking for. +1 $\endgroup$ – MegaMark Jun 10 '16 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ @MegaMark Pretty much a belief, theory, idea, thought, or any synonym could fit. A <t____> can easily be lost - if it it is proven wrong. $\endgroup$ – Inazuma Jun 10 '16 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Inazuma however, do those synonyms also fit in the rest of the puzzle?... I tried to make sure that synonyms would not get in the way... the closest of which you already mentioned was excluded by "I can be given"... close fits... but only 1 perfect $\endgroup$ – MegaMark Jun 11 '16 at 0:26
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You might be

An adjective
(All of the listed things are adjectives)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ LOL yes, they are!... but the answer is a noun... still excellent observation! $\endgroup$ – MegaMark Jun 10 '16 at 15:02
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It could be:

a mathematical solution.

I can be bad. I can be dangerous. I can be good. I can be better.

A mathematical solution can be wrong, it would be dangerous if it's used for an experimentation (example : to build a bridge).
It can be right, or even better: a same problem can use a much more easy solution witch would be talked about as better.

I can be simple. I can be complex. I can be crazy. I can be absurd.

simple and complex are easy to explain.
A crazy solution can be taken if there is no good option.
In mathematics there are problems solved by reductio ad absurdum: an absurd reasoning.

I can be wrong. I can be right. I can be radical. I can be bright.

as in first paragraph wrong or right.
A radical solution like beginning again something when you already began (ex: you erase all your letter when only the last paragraph is bad)
It can be bright: like some of the greatest physicist's solution.

I can be popular. I can be wrong. I can be given. I can be expressed.

popular: A political solution that is popular for example.
Wrong again, it can be given by someone else, or even expressed.

You can have me, likely you will many times. I might escape you or you might lose me in time

You can get the solution. But the solution can escape you. Or you can forget the solution of a riddle for example.

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  • $\begingroup$ Some of these are a little bit of a stretch... but I really liked the take! +1, but not the solution (pun intended) $\endgroup$ – MegaMark Jun 10 '16 at 15:49
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Could you be

A pet. Pets can be all the things above, and many people will have multiple pets in their lifetime, which may run away and get lost, or eventually die.

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  • $\begingroup$ But could you be a wrong pet? (clue 3, pt 1) $\endgroup$ – MegaMark Jun 10 '16 at 15:48
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Maybe you are

Words?

Reasoning

First four lines same as previous answer, but:
You can have [words], likely you will many times. [Words] might escape you (common phrase) or you might lose me in time.

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  • $\begingroup$ Different and not bad... but this was not what I was looking for $\endgroup$ – MegaMark Jun 10 '16 at 15:47

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