My Two Cents on Originality
If you were to walk on your hands with your feet in the air, some evening, from the grocery story to your nephew’s play school along Sixth Avenue, you would not be doing an original thing. You might believe it to be original because you were the first to do it, or that it was a different, unique thing to do. But you have my assurance that it has been considered thousands of times by many people, some of whom were almost in their senses, and been abandoned because they didn’t consider it worthwhile. You might think that making an excuse for attending a lecture late, or dying your hair rainbow is original. However, originality is not merely doing something bizarre and different. Originality is doing something different, something new, something worthwhile. Originality is reorganising the ideas that exist, into the ideas of tomorrow.
The fire of originality is the undying tinder of curiosity, of ingenuity, and independence. Originality is nothing but inventive creativity. It makes the world go round. But why is originality so coveted? Why is it restricted? Why do we speak of originality like it is scarce, and should remain so?
It is the power that snatches the floppy disks from our hands and replaces them with flash drives. It swallows typewriters and allows you to read the text that you are reading this very moment. Originality somewhat a mystic force, that jumps from between the lines of single-lined journals. It dwells in shining light-bulbs in the corners of our minds. And that is why we are scared of it. That is why we diplomatically term it ‘artistic’ and ‘chaotic’, and mentally assign it to a box of rejected, unconventional concepts.
Our world lives in routine. From publishers, to playwrights, to editors, movie-makers and businessmen, we are stuck in a spiral of mundanity. And it is this very mundanity that helps us achieve perfection, and a state of comfort. But isn’t change what makes us human? It keeps us from approaching equilibrium (in simpler words, death), and helps us adapt to our surroundings. Originality is not comprised of a ‘Eureka’ moment followed by a visit to the Patent office. Originality is a constant reshuffling of ideas, thoughts and practices, that change the way status quo works. And since most of us are hand-wired into conventional thinking, we look at originality like it is a statue of brilliance.
Originality is rebellion. It is the notion that drives us to break free from the shackles of mundanity. It is the drive that turns fantasy into reality, and blurs the boundaries between facts and fiction. Originality is that stubborn child who wishes to take the long route home for the sake of exploration. Originality is the farmer who creates a way to power his tractor with solar energy. Originality is a state of mental activity that is triggered by creative thought and divergent thinking. And between necessarily arbitrary pages of conventional knowledge, it is originality that makes life worth living.