A favorite quote of mine is:
Benedict de Spinoza:
"A man is the essence of the things he loves"
We love our favorite things; our favorite authors, thinkers, philosophers and we memorize their thoughts and attune ourselves to what we perceive to be the essential truths therein contained.
If we think like our heroes and asorb their genius into our thoughts do we become one with them or do they become one with us?
At what point is what we produce ORIGINAL?
In music, for example, if we compose something that has 5 identical notes that have previously been composed and copyrighted--we are in danger of lawsuit for unoriginal "borrowing".
In school, if we copy blocks of writing from a book and pass it off as our own homework--we are in danger of being expelled.
Isaac Newton humbly expressed himself this way: "If I have seen farther than other men it is because I've stood on the shoulders of giants." Thus acknowledging his debt to Galileo, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Archimedes, etc.
At the 1955 Academy Awards; the winner of best original score for a motion picture was Dimitri Tiomkin for his music to THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY. He began his acceptance speech by thanking "Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff...." but was interrupted by gales of laughter as the audience convulsed in the throes of hysterics. They had misunderstood him to be acknowledging plagarizing from the masters! In his book, PLEASE DON'T HATE ME! Tiomkin revealed he was merely trying to acknowledge the shoulders of the giants he'd stood upon.
So--at what point does something become ORIGINAL? Does that __something__have to be never-before-seen in the history of the world? Or, can we merely adapt something slightly as Andy Warhol did with a Tomato Soup can painting?
Rap music "samples" musical phrases from classic R&B artists and reuses them in new works. Is this stealing Or is it fair use? Is it ORIGINAL?
WHAT IS ORIGINAL?