Social Question

DancingMind's avatar

Do you think you're original?

Asked by DancingMind (5814 points ) January 28th, 2010

Sometimes I feel like nothing I do is new… that the few things I think of on my own have already been done, and a lot of what I think has been shaped and sculpted by people around me.
And I wonder how much of what I believe came from me, or came from others telling me that that was the way the world worked when I was little.
And sometimes I feel that even every question I ask on fluther has already been asked and answered a hundred times over…
That there are these general topics and opinions, just in life, overused theories, and I just get to pick out of them, or add a few of my own bricks on the tower of an idea, rather than creating my own.

I wonder if we’re as creative now as people before us had to be… like, who did think of that darn wheel first? And even if we do think of some new thing, that it’s just barely new, building on something that’s already existing.
I dunno. I just…
Do you ever feel unoriginal?

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42 Answers

gemiwing's avatar

Yes and no.

Sometimes I feel unique and original when I’m cooking- then I remember that someone somewhere has done this before. I try to not let that get to me because I haven’t done this before.

Just because someone else has skydived before you did, doesn’t make it less thrilling to do.

DominicX's avatar

I look at it this way: maybe someone asked a similar question, maybe someone wrote a similar story, maybe someone came up with a similar idea, but it’s not exactly the same. The way you wrote it, the way you looked at it, the way you thought of it, was unique. It wasn’t a carbon copy of what someone else came up with. I like writing and yes, I know that there are similar stories to some of the stories I’ve written, but what I have written is still my own unique work; there is nothing out there exactly like it. Of course, this is how I view myself as well. I may be similar to someone else, but there is no one exactly like me.

People may disagree with me, but I don’t feel like I need to come up with the next philosophical breakthrough or the next scientific discovery that changes the world in order to be original. I have created plenty of originality, albeit some of it more subtle.

YARNLADY's avatar

There is absolutely no question that I am a unique, original.

Dr_C's avatar

I’m totally original. My mommy told me so!

Anon_Jihad's avatar

To quote David Bazan:
“I know it’s hard to be original
In fact nothing scares me more
Because Jesus only lets me do
What has been done before”

Blackberry's avatar

No one is really original, unless they become a powerful force in the future that changes history.

FishGutsDale's avatar

I’m one in a million…That just means there are roughly 690 other people just like me…Oh dear :(

Ruallreb8ters's avatar

Napoleon said: my son cannot replace me, i cannot replace myself, I am a creatue of circumstance

ucme's avatar

Nah,cheese & onion flavour more like.

susanc's avatar

“There is absolutely no question that I am a unique, original.”
@YARNLADY and I are exactly the same in this respect.

YARNLADY's avatar

@susanc snowflakes, so to speak.

Violet's avatar

Maybe a little too original

wundayatta's avatar

And yet, when you see yourself from enough distance, you are not original. When you summarize yourself and what you do, it is the same kind of thing that people throughout all history have done, and your thoughts and feelings are the same as people have felt over the eons.

Still, we all make a contribution. For some, that contribution is absolutely unique. For others, it is only unique in the sense that they did it in their own unique way. It all matters though, even if it isn’t something like Einstein or Napoleon or George Washington or Warren Buffett did.

I don’t think I’m original. I know that what I say has been said a billion times before. I know that what I do has been done a gazillion times before. So what?

In music, for example, every single little line or riff or whatever has already been done. A million times over. You can’t write an original tune for a song. But that doesn’t matter. You are still putting all those things together in your way. Occasionally it is exactly the same as someone else, but usually it actually is different. It actually is creative.

Or take my words now. These sentiments have been written so many times before. Perhaps your question has been written many times before. So what? I’m putting the words and ideas together in a unique way. Maybe it’s a way that actually speaks to you and isn’t just my logorrhea. Just myself amusing myself and hoping against hope it will be new to someone or will teach someone. But even if it isn’t, so what? I still get something out of it. It’s stuff I don’t know—or didn’t know until I wrote it.

We are all building on foundations that were laid way back in prehistory. We couldn’t exist if we weren’t. We are tribal animals. We only know what we know here, now. It doesn’t matter that other people somewhere else in some other tribe already knows this. It only matters that we are original to our tribe here, now, and forever.

Of course, this is probably all bullshit as well as being unoriginal, but who cares? It was fun to write. Now go off and have yourself some of your own fun!

Violet's avatar

@wundayatta when you say ‘you’, do you mean me? Or just whoever is reading your post? I only ask because I posted before you

wundayatta's avatar

Whoever is reading it. I don’t know if I showed up, but I wrote the “you” part before you started answering the question. It is addressed to the OP. It probably doesn’t apply to anyone else. Maybe not even to her. Think of it more as a stream of consciousness mind dump from someone who can’t sleep because he is sneezing constantly. Pretty cool! Both unoriginal and irrelevant! LOL! ;-)

Violet's avatar

sneezing? Because of allergies?

ratboy's avatar

I am a derivative work.

liliesndaisies's avatar

I am totally original. No one wants to follow what i do.

wundayatta's avatar

TMI warning… @Violet No. Dry nose from a CPAP machine. Sinuses worn raw. Nose makes me sneeze in order to generate mucus. Mucus runs. I blow nose, process starts all over again.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’m pretty down to earth with middle of the road types of views and behaviors. I’m uniquely original.

BoBo1946's avatar

I’m just me…whatever that is!

nebule's avatar

Yes I am original.. I am unique and incomparable. No-one has been where i’ve been and done what I’ve done and thought what I’ve thought from my perspective…. we’re all different… I have been guilty of thinking that I can’t contribute to this vast array of intelligence and creativity… I can’t be as brilliant and clever as other people are… but then I started blogging and journalling and painting and drawing…and it’s spurred me on to be more creative in whatever form I can be, (I’ve suddenly started dancing at every opportunity I get and no-one else dances like me, with my body, my bones, my muscles.. with the subtle nuances I have…not exactly) whether people like it or not…

It’s who I am and what I do and there’s something beautiful in knowing that any minute now I could do something really mad, or an idea might pop into my brain.. that no-one else has had, for the reasons I have them… or in the form that that might take… yes I am original

john65pennington's avatar

Here is an example to parallel with your question. i use to be a copywriter for a big newspaper. my job was to write copy for clothing and food ads. try writing something new about food. lets face it, you can only say so much about, say, a turkey. how would you describe a sale on turkey? there is the price, the fact they are fresh and we all know they didn’t want to die…...so, how to be different in describing a turkey sale? whatever i would write, i knew that someone else had written before me. what to do? just accept it and go on to the next item. this is what life is about. the good part to remember is that people constantly change. my questions and your questions have probably been asked before, no doubt. the thing to remember is that your question will constantly have a new audience. what may have been asked last week, may have a brand new audience this week. its okay to repeat. look at the trend in clothing. skinny mens ties were “the thing” in the 60s and 70s. that trend faded away, but is soon to be again popular. history just repeats itself over and over again. i feel the same as you, except my concern is with song writers. i honestly believe they have run out of ideas for new songs and new music. so, you see, you are not alone. just accept life as it is and carry on with it. john

ubersiren's avatar

I often feel unoriginal. It’s common to feel that way, I think. But, no matter what, there’s always going to be something about you that is absolutely original. Others have mentioned this, but if you’re worried about asking a duplicate question, first, use the search just to make sure it’s not exactly the same, then ask away with your own intentions and your own style.

pearls's avatar

Damn right I do. I don’t think you could find a carbon copy of me now matter how hard you looked.

BoBo1946's avatar

knew that i got some love from somewhere! loll

pearls's avatar

@BoBo1946 Are we brother and sister from another life maybe?

Silhouette's avatar

Dime a dozen.

Cruiser's avatar

That’s a real tough one to shake as you are right not much room for an original thought or idea left in this modern world. Don’t look for your own originality in any single thing, word or creation you do…look at the sum of the parts. Once you gather together all that you do or have done in your life you will surely see your pile of efforts is very unique and special.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Sure I am. There’ll never be another me again.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Not that I care to be original but I do wonder about the fact that some of the things we’re discussing given new technology or social movements have NOT been done before…how could they have been done before?

BoBo1946's avatar

@pearls ummmm…which spaceship did you fly in on….mine was the Mayflower!

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Definitely not. I see myself as a cheap carbon copy of all the starfish playing tennis that I see!

philosopher's avatar

I am very unique unlike anyone I have ever know. I am not a person that conforms to please some norm. I am me.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I know I am and so does my mom :)

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I don’t know if I feel original, as much as I feel unique. I am unique (as each of us is) on so many levels. Let’s just look at the purely physical level:

Generally speaking, collection of very old chemicals entered your birth-parents’ bodies and formed the basis of what would become you. As those chemicals went through the reactions that formed your body, they were acted upon and reacted to other things going on. As you grew, your unique set of chemical reactions formed your body and brain, (in other words, you). As you grew you reacted to the unique set of circumstances that you call your life, developed a unique personality, and became that person that asked this question.

flutherother's avatar

When you hear a blackbird sing you are hearing it for the first time. When the sun comes up in the morning it is the beginning of the world. Every action you take, every thought in your mind is unique at its moment in time. You cannot help being original, you cannot step into the same river twice.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I am original, I am unique (as are we all)! On a physical level, we each have a unique body formed by a unique set of genes. On an experiential level, we are each the product of a unique set of experiences, from birth to the current second, that helped us form our beliefs, our feelings, and our unique world view.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, I’m more a 2.0 version.

meiosis's avatar

I think Monty Python’s Life of Brian covered this quite well

awacting's avatar

I hope so

Mr_Paradox's avatar

I feel that I am unique….. just like everyone else.

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