When we speak of an individual possessing originality, what is the true meaning of our message? Did this supposedly creative individual conceptualize an idea that claims no prior attachments to the known intelligence of the world? Honestly, no idea is original. Human knowledge is not separate pods sprouting sporadically throughout history. Instead, it is one continuous phenomenon that resembles a spider’s delicate web.
Every single discipline, genre, or category of study is interrelated to the web of intelligence that comprises mankind’s holistic knowledge. How does this web of intelligence relate to 20-somethings? We can use every scrap of intelligence to create profound, original by-products. Let us not invest in the notion of “originality,” but in the belief of creation.
Unfortunately, from an early age we are scolded for “copying” or, the severe adult version, “plagiarizing” other individuals’ creations. Instead of allowing creative, up-incoming artists to deconstruct and re-conceptualize music for their own productions, corporations will slam anyone who skirts near their trademarks. Interestingly, even the most well known musical compositions did not completely originate from their acclaimed authors. The song “Come Together,” penned and popularized by The Beatles, includes riffs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Chuck Berry. Since 1969, numerous bands have stamped their identity on “Come Together” including Aerosmith (personal favorite), Elton John, and The Roots.
Besides music, various branches of culture have experienced the same, constricting copyright laws; however, let us exit the political arena to focus on the ultimate lesson: creation reflects identity. As a 20-something, our identity is remodeled and reshaped countless times in college. To separate from the majority, create from the surrounding environment without fear.
Always be alert while you travel because ideas engulf us like the air filling our lungs with life. Maybe a professor assigns an opinionated paper or your organization requires you to create a Homecoming banner. No matter the purpose, take elements from the world around you then apply your personal touch to create a masterpiece.
As I prepare for my fraternity’s election for Vice President of Membership Development (a committee that executes personal and group development programs), I have been researching activities for the brothers. I am not conceptualizing anything new or Earth-shattering. I am simply incorporating elements of previously successful activities while searching for ideas by other chapters. How I execute these programs with the resources available to me at JMU and in the city of Harrisonburg develop my personal touch.
Originality is not new ideas, but creations linking disciplines together for a single purpose.