ORIGINALITY : when does it happen?

by Terry 15 Replies latest jw friends

  • Terry

    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?


  • Double Edge
    Double Edge

    Great movie with wonderful music.... John Wayne at his best.

    ORIGINALITY : when does it happen?

    March 18, 1994 .... the last time I had an "original" thought.

  • SixofNine

    I recently read a very original yet quite lame defense of plagiarism ;-)

  • Satanus

    To be totally original, that is to create something out of nothing, you have to go deep, very deep, past the learned stuff, past the memorised stuff, towards your core. Even then, i wonder if anything is original. You may have read about jung's archetypes and interconectedness. But, as far as consciously copying from others, i think they should be credited, or at least quotations used to show that there is another source.


  • Terry
    six of nine says: I recently read a very original yet quite lame defense of plagiarism ;-)

    Oh, pray tell what would that be? If you are going to share your covert hostility with us why not make your target plain and your intentions open?

  • Carmel

    In my business Terry, using someone elses ideas, then improving upon them, is a given. Science is like that. Test a hypothesis, find it wanting, then give it a twist of your own knowledge based on a different set of experiances and you have advanced the diciplin. This dam computer is an example of thousands of souls doing that very thing. I have four patents in the US and Canada, and have improved upon them a dozen times since I taught the patent. The food industry is just the same. Crossing over, is not only in music. I see an idea on how ham is processed and packaged and wonder, how can I do the same for salmon?? Creativity comes in miniscule connecting of the dots or in fully baked backages (the cotton gin). Don't know if I've added anything but I see the advancement of civilization a function of this process.


  • SixofNine

    Since I included a winky, I've trumped any efforts to paint my post as hostile. And since my meaning is clear, if I had been hostile, it would have been *overt* hostility, not "covert" hostility. ;) You'll get the hang of this db thang yet, just keep at it.

    IMMVO, originality happens when an individual creates something, or performs an action, that is unique to that person and most observers. If that something or that action is derived from someone else' thing or action, it must be either a clear improvement on the thing/action borrowed or show true cross-breeding with the soul of the borrower. I mean "soul" metaphorically, not mystically.

  • larc

    I beleive, like many of you that originality is based on the occomplishments of others. I have some original ideas, but my research was a function of my education from others.

  • Dogpatch

    Carmel's was a good answer. I say, we are always re-arranging the molecules around us to make new clothes for ourselves. :-))


  • Sunnygal41
    "A man is the essence of the things he loves"

    Terry, is that the same thing as "you are what you eat"?

    I feel, just as I cannot say that the beautiful voice that I inherited from my mom is mine, I cannot claim anything "original" to me........I think it is very true that we are all a product of our ancestors genes and the life we were born into and have lived up to this point........but, if we have arranged something seen or heard before into something slightly different...then we have I think put our own personal stamp upon that and it can be considered ours.

    IMHO, of course.


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