Reflection about the Meaning of Originality
You are going to visit an exhibition and the tickets cost a fortune. Why is it so? There are hundreds of exhibits there, but the price goes up as there is an original draft of one of the most famous paintings Van Gogh had. So, all other exhibits are interesting, but the value of this one is unmatched in the eyes of the visitors. Believe me, there will be a long line of people, willing to stand close to the original of the masterpiece. Actually, it is only one of the drafts and there were several dozens of them, but who cares. That is the original!
What is more valuable: a necklace of costly pearls or jewelry which imitates pearls? Beloved by celebrities and politicians, timeless gems may look a bit too conventional, but understanding that they are genuine makes their owners extremely happy. Each of the pearls has a unique shape, size, and color, producing a powerful impression. The aura of authenticity adds to the value of any object, but does originality actually exist in the era of online education, online business, online dating, and plagiarism in all spheres?
In the sphere of communications, the core concept of authenticity builds the foundation of trust and solidity of business. Empowering people to be who they really are, the company equips them with their personal strength and lets them be motivated in their work. Thus, they learn to develop and grow and they speak openly in the brainstorming sessions and practices of generating ideas. Will those ideas be original even if the members of the team seem to generate on the spot in the course of discussion? Not always! In most cases, they will just repeat what they have heard, read, or learnt before, doing that absolutely unintentionally.
Can a person living in the 21st century communicate in his own voice if there is the World Wide Web with the information space common for all the people of the universe? Is it still possible to express a new idea after so many of them are in public access? Can a musician use the same patterns and create music which is genuinely unique? Will the story stir the readers’ minds if the number of plots is actually limited?
It is easy to start criticism and blame everything around for being not original; still, even if most of the content can be viewed as a compilation of what has already been said or done, the concept of originality should not be questioned altogether. Otherwise, everything becomes boring and senseless, but that is not the right attitude at all! In the era of file sharing, electronic music, web-linking, Wikipedia sources, and no authorship of texts and images, digital technologies contribute to diminishing the role of originality and an increase in copying and plagiarizing.
“Am I original?” that is the question which comes to the mind of every person somehow involved in creative activities. The same question worries the students who do their own research but use a number of works of those who have devoted their lives to experiments and analysis. How can a young person without any experience make conclusions on a certain serious matter without using the ideas of others? The best student will present a perfect compilation of ideas done in an appropriate manner according to all standards of academic writing, but will it be truly original? Naturally, his or her opinion will coincide with thousands similar ones. OMG! That idea can drive one really crazy!
It is practically impossible to create a perfectly authentic idea and conceive a concept which has never appeared before. Even with tremendous efforts taken to fabricate a truly new idea, some of the aspects of that idea will be borrowed. There are hundreds and thousands of scenarios about wizards, but the stories of Harry Potter managed to appeal to the emotions of millions of people all around the globe. It is a prime illustration of originality for me as even with a number of prototypes and previous stories with similar plots, the masterpiece of J.K. Rowling told in her unique voice constructs an exclusive piece of literature. That is genuine magic!
For sure, the subjects for discussions cannot be original, but it is highly valued if one can express the philosophies, concepts, ideas, and points of view in an original way, different from the others. Reflecting about the same things (because life is diverse but restricted in the number of subjects), the writers try to throw in their individual vulnerabilities and personal stories. This is what makes their writing authentic.
So, do not get discouraged! What you have to admit is that it is not the originality of the idea which counts now and counted before. It is your imagination, diction, vocabulary, tone, and unique experience that will make the idea stand out. It is you who makes a difference! As a writer, musician, architect, or scientist, you will manipulate your concept into an exciting idea which will look original. Well, for sure, it will preserve its originality until someone starts trying to find its actual origins. Unfortunately, most probably, he will. Nothing is new under the sun.