Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Elusiveness of Originality

It's Christmas break!

Moving on, I've been thinking a little bit lately about just how difficult it is to think or do or say anything that is truly original. The world has been around a pretty long time. And there have been many, many people that are smarter and more talented and more creative than I am. So chances are, nothing I do is going to be something that a million others haven't already done. For example, a couple posts ago I wrote about my theory on time and about how time seems to move faster as we get older because it's a smaller percentage of our lives. Probably not a groundbreaking concept, but not a bad idea, I think. In the following several days, I was informed by two people (Jackie and Tom) that they too had thought about this. So if two of my five readers have already had this same idea, I can safely assume that 40% of the world's population has thought the same thing. So my theory on time is less original than eating turkey on Thanksgiving.

Also, our freshman year, Charlie wrote a line for a paper that was something along the lines of "Jesus was crucified for our salvation and resurrected for our hope." It's a good quote. Really good, actually. So I jokingly questioned that Charlie had thought of it himself. When we googled it, we found that someone else had already said pretty much the exact same thing. Now I really don't think that Charlie stole the sentence. Someone had just unfortunately beat him to the punch.

However, there are some people that truly do come up with original ideas and who are genuinely creative in a way the world has never seen before. At some point, Eli Whitney had to sit down and invent the cotton gin. Beethoven had to write his symphonies. Dave Thomas had to create square hamburger patties. These people were pioneers. Whereas I recycle decades-old ideas on my blog, they brought something new and fresh to society. So to all you writers, artists, musicians, inventors, and everyone else that churn out original ideas: I salute you. I mean, without you, television would just be filled with the same, ridiculous reality dating shows where one dude dates twenty women until he eliminates all but one.

Oh wait. I guess that's really all that's on TV. My bad.


Ansen Bayer said...

Hey David,

Just thought I'd let you know that I enjoy reading your musings. That way I'm not that weird stalker guy who reads your blog without you knowing about it.

Also, I like your Relient K Christmas music. I just saw them in concert last weekend. It was good.

Hope you're doing well!

B24Ford said...

Nice post Dave! I remember a couple times in my childhood when I came up with an invention idea and then sure enough a few days or months later I would see it on a commercial. I am not writing this to say i have good ideas, but rather to pose the question. How much do you think our unconscious psyche picks up? I think a lot of the times we read or hear something, then unconsciously later think that we thought it up on our own.