Original Thought

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Original Thought

Postby IsonaliAki » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:01 am

Something came to light recently in my own world, and I was curious as to your take on it...

I've heard before the idea that there is no such thing as a truly original thought in the world at this point. The logic is based strongly on the idea (and ideal, in personal opinion) of a universal consciousness, that we are all tapping into the same gigantic mental resource (super-simplified version of the idea there). And in that universal consciousness, as we are pulling from the same pool of resources, there is too strong of a possibility that the idea has been had somewhere else. At one time, I thought this idea was just insane. What do they mean there is no individual unique thought? I've had PLENTY of unique thoughts! But as I grow older, I am beginning to discover that many of the things I thought were my own original thoughts, have been thought elsewhere... just as an example, I have created, over the years, a fantasy character race and family line called the Silverwaters. I have (somewhere in storage) hundreds of pages of hand-written explanation on the SIlverwater clan and their gaean race. Recently I came on a book that, with the exception of a different name, and a few different "colors" added and changed here and there, was essentially my Silverwater story. I have read numerous stories from completely different authors that know nothing of each other, though there is a strong resemblance in the story. Even DS itself... there are some things I've thought were WAY too odd to be thought by anybody else, and yet, reading through the boards, here I see even those thoughts.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think there is such a thing as a truly unique, first-time thought, idea? Or is everything we think simply our own perspective of a thought that has existed forever.

PS. The reason it went into this category was the original thought came from an article on plagiarism, which stated it was plagiarism to take another author's writings and simply re-write it in your own words.
Dave
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This has made a lot of people very angry
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Re: Original Thought

Postby Sabina » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:04 pm

Good topic Daviso!
I couldn't decide whether to address you as Dave or Iso, and this is the result. Possibly derived from devise, which excellently matches the topic.
Dictionary wrote:devise –verb (used with object)
    1. to contrive, plan, or elaborate; invent from existing principles or ideas: to devise a method.
    2. Law. to assign or transmit (property) by will.
    3. Archaic. to imagine; suppose
–verb (used without object)
    4. to form a plan; contrive.
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Original thought, universal consciousness and plagiarism... the following story just came to mind.

There is a band called "Laibach", a Slovenian avant-garde music group that has existed since 1980. Their music is a mix of industrial, neoclassical (dark wave) and martial music. It was quite unique.
I don't know if you are familiar with the popular German band "Rammstein", officially around since 1994, but they have been accused of "stealing from Laibach".

In an interview with Laibach, the members of the Slovenian band were asked how they feel about Rammstein "stealing from them", and they replied:
    "Laibach does not believe in originality... Therefore, Rammstein could not 'steal' much from us. They simply let themselves get inspired by our work, which is absolutely a legitimate process. We are glad that they made it. In a way, they have proven once again that a good 'copy' can make more money on the market than the 'original.'"
When I first read this, I truly admired Laibach for such a reply and approach.

Someone else wrote "Laibach is art, Rammstein is business". Rammstein has also been described as Laibach for kids. By the way, Rammstein has indeed acknowledged influence by both the aesthetic approach and material of Laibach.

"Tanz mit", by Laibach
"Du Hast", by Rammstein

The point, for me, and the reason why I admired Laibach for such an approach, was that it is easy to talk about originality (or the lack of), when you are not the one who is being "stolen" from. It is only then that we are truly tested.

In regards to stories and books, many many years ago, a friend explained to me that it is all in the details. So many stories follow the same pattern, the same general outline, but it is the details that make something unique, and it is also these details that decide whether it will be appreciated or forgotten.

However, sometimes it is not just the details, and sometimes it is more than merely inspiration.
Did Dan Brown rip off Umberto Eco's "Foucault’s Pendulum"? This was a hot debate! Here is an excerpt from an interview with Umberto Eco:

Interviewer:
    I am wondering if you read Dan Brown’s "Da Vinci Code", which some critics see as the pop version of your "Name of the Rose.
Umbero Eco:
    I was obliged to read it because everybody was asking me about it. My answer is that Dan Brown is one of the characters in my novel, "Foucault’s Pendulum," which is about people who start believing in occult stuff.

And, as if that wasn't enough, Dan Brown was also accused of borrowing from the book "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail", and the case went to court.
Here is a BBC article from 2006: Da Vinci Code 'copied book ideas'
Dan Brown won. Random House, publisher of Brown's as well as the two historians' books, said the ruling 'ensures that novelists remain free to draw in ideas and historical research.'

Makes sense, doesn't it?
It's a thin line between inspiration and intellectual theft...

Here is an excerpt from the movie "Waking Life", from the scene with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
It's like there's this whole telepathic thing going on that we're all a part of, whether we're conscious of it or not. That would explain why there are all these, you know, seemingly spontaneous, worldwide, innovative leaps in science, in the arts. You know, like the same results poppin' up everywhere independent of each other. Some guy on a computer, he figures something out, and then almost simultaneously a bunch of other people all over the world figure out the same thing. They did this study. They isolated a group of people over time, and they monitored their abilities at crossword puzzles, right, in relation to the general population. And they secretly gave them a day-old crossword, one that had already been answered by thousands of other people, right. And their scores went up dramatically, like 20 percent. So it's like once the answers are out there, people can pick up on 'em. It's like we're all telepathically sharing our experiences.


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IsonaliAki wrote:So what are your thoughts? Do you think there is such a thing as a truly unique, first-time thought, idea? Or is everything we think simply our own perspective of a thought that has existed forever.

I just realized that rather than answering your question, I instead provided lots of food for thought. I like food for thought... however, I do want to try to answer your question as well, whether the answer is my original thought or maybe I have been touched by angels and so felt the divine breath of inspiration.
B0)

Yes, I believe that a truly unique, time-time thought does exist.
I do not think that all the thoughts that are "around" today existed 10.000 years ago, for example. However, I do believe in the development of the human thought in general. That means that because of that development, a number of people can have the same original thought at the roughly same time today, but they couldn't have had it thousands of years ago. But, at any given point in time, there is a variety of inspiration around us, which can lead our thoughts into a truly new and unique direction.

Music is also a nice proof of that. Can you imagine either of the above two bands, Rammstein or Laibach, performing or even composing a thousand years ago?
There has been a development of music, just as there has been a development of thought, which has led to a point in time in which a number of bands are inspired in a similar way or with a similar result.
"Whether You believe you can, or you can't, you are right."
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Re: Original Thought

Postby Daywhite » Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:38 pm

Daviso (blame Sabina if you don't like the name :-), Nice topic.

I remember during a drama class in college, the professor lectured in part on the fact there are no original story ideas. He explained, in convincing terms, that Aristotle stated long ago that every story has the same basic foundation as one matching, I believe, one of six basic themes of drama. I searched a bit, but couldn't find a clear list of the six themes.

What it seems to come down to for me is how strictly one defines "Original Thought." I mean simply how much does the thought need to be broken down into its individual components to be considered original? I do believe, as you say you do, there is a universal consciousness. Sabina's example from Waking Life is an excellant example of this, I think. A thought, once thought and expressed as energy, is available in someway throughout the universe.

There is a certain energy present throughout the universe. Occasionally someone will reach into it, grasp a handful, as in one pulling a lump of wet clay from a bucket. He will deliver it to his own mind, to be molded and shaped, and re-submitted back into the universe for others to be inspired by.

That is what I see as original thought. The foundation of the thought may be shared by many, through aeons, as we are all human, all a part of humanity. Yes, it is often improved over time, more touches of humanity, molded, unmolded, remolded. But if one wanted to find the nexus, the core of it all, I think he would need to return to the origin, the first thought beginning with the first member of humanity.

Each human alive today is a unique being, all original, no one exactly like us having ever existed before or likely again (cloning may leave questions, but that's for another post). But, even with that, as original and individual as we are, we are each the result of what, at that moment, was the best combination of two other beings. Our thoughts are our own, but each is also filtered through so much other information we have gathered through our lives.

The first person to build an automobile did something original, putting things together in such a way as they had never been combined previously. But the parts he used, and, I'm sure in large part, even the technology he used, were readily available. The thought, his creation, was original, but it was founded on so many things he had learned through experiments and observation, watching others. I think it is roughly the same with pretty much anything ever created. The parts, whether of a physical object or simply a philosophical thought, were available, but perhaps never combined in exactly the way we as creators see them.

I'm not sure I'm really making sense here. I try to not worry about original thought, whether my latest revelation, as I see it, was strictly my own creation, or maybe something I read once but have no idea where or even remember reading. If I say something and someone says, "That's exactly what this writer/philosopher/criminal/whoever said," I think, assuming it's a person I'm unfamiliar with, "Well, I bet he and I would get along nicely." And if someone shares something I may have said that they identify with, even if they offer it as their original thought, I see it as a compliment. Maybe they have no idea where they may have read it, that I said it, or maybe they simply want to act as if it is their idea. Either way, the energy continues; life goes on. The life of ideas, the life of the universe.
"Sometimes you do it to save your own life, not anybody else's. That's mostly why I write. I'm not trying to change anybody else's life or the world; I'm trying to keep from blowing my own brains out. That's the real point." -- Guy Clark
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Re: Original Thought

Postby IsonaliAki » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:26 pm

Thanks to both of you for the thoughts, and nope, don't have a problem with Daviso... been called a lot worse ;)

I think personally I can most appreciate the idea that it is the details that makes a thought, however many times it may have been repeated, either within the universal consciousness, or just plain ole out there in life. The phrase that keeps coming to mind is "the proof is in the pudding" and while this is a completely different context than the original intent of that cliche, that new context holds true in my mind. If most of us think of a single recipe... say, for example, potato soup... The original idea however many years ago was probably just boil potato's until soupy, but now there are hundreds, if not more, different recipes for potato soup. In my family alone there are 3 that are used. They all have the same basic foundations, but they all have different details. Not only that, but who cooks them seems to make a difference as well. So just like so many other things... potato, water, boil all day... a simple, and at some point unique idea, is now as unique as any thing else.

I guess what I'm trying to say in my half-conscious, way too little sleep today way is... always remember, you're unique... just like everybody else.
Dave
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Re: Original Thought

Postby mirjana » Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:05 pm

This topic shows for itself the best how we can create original ideas.
When one of members put the question, then all our knowledge and intuition start to play with thoughts, ideas, associations, memories, emotions...and from all that mixture a personal answer comes.
All your answers help me to figure mine even more precisely than I would probably do that without them, still not making it less original because of that.
The originality is a creative and flowing energy and therefore always in change. I also think that we can tap into the universal consciousness or the world of ideas which is eternal and take some ideas from there or make a personal version of thought which is based on some of learned, seen, experienced, heard, read information. But, still, when it gets a personal touch then the whole personality incorporates into that thought and it is as original as we all are as unique human beings.
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