Having a Totally Original Idea: Is It Possible?
Everything has already been done. Is there room for original ideas anymore?
Having a genuinely original idea is extremely hard. My friends have argued to me that having a genuinely original idea nowadays is impossible. Their argument is that yes, new things will continue to pop up here and there but they’re all based on previous ideas. They don't believe that truly original ideas can still exist anymore. I think this is a lazy theory that will restrict their own creative ambitions.
There are tons of ideas that are completely original. Some people dream up these ideas and some just come to people by accident. My friends argue that people that dream up of ideas are subconsciously taking information that they have already experienced or seen and the idea is then a creation based on the individual’s personal needs. How can they simply assume this when they don’t know the person's thought process? To me this could be based on too many assumptions.
We went on to talk about street dances. Their argument was that all the dances came from somewhere. Popping came from locking, locking came from the funky chicken, and so on. Pretty much all of the urban street dances have some lineage that leads to an origin story in Africa. This does explain the general dances, but what about the nuances and subtleties of these dances? I think the small things count too and these may very well be totally original. I often bring up breakdancing. It was said that no one in those times had ever gone to the floor to dance. Who’s to say that those kids in the 70s went down to the ground because they saw someone else do it before? Although some of them may have been influenced by martial arts movies, who are we to say that breakdancing was not a totally original idea?
I admit totally original ideas are really hard to have nowadays especially when so much has already been created. I don't think they are impossible but I think it would be really hard. Then again, I’m just an average Joe and I don’t come up with ideas that often. There are a lot of people that have the same mentality as my friends and I wonder if this hinders their abilities to become creative themselves. Today there is so much information shared that it can be intimidating to think you can create something brand new. It's sort of like how people's dreams are dashed from being an athlete or an actor because of the extreme amount of competition out there.
Ideas usually come to us when we have a need for something but in today’s world what do we really need that hasn’t already been created to help us with those needs? I guess this is what my friends were getting at. After the conversation with my friends I realized the importance of artists. Artists are the ones that think outside the box and don’t really care for rules. I think it would be really difficult to be an artist nowadays. How do you create a new wave of art that hasn’t already been done or tell a different story?
In the end, I think in the process of creating something original we shouldn’t worry if something is totally original or not. A few knock offs may be created by accident but to be creative we shouldn’t worry about those things. We should trust our thought processes. Ideas change over time and our initial idea may change into something totally different.
Creation shouldn’t be about prestige. It doesn’t matter if your idea is totally original or if it’s based on something else. Creation is creation. If you create anything nowadays you should be proud because of how difficult it is to create something for the aforementioned reasons. Who knows, someone might become influenced by your idea and create something new out of that. Regardless, if you create something you’ll be part of a timeline for something else. Don’t worry about what’s already existing and instead try to make something for yourself.