The myth of originality

No one can be original. 

Yes, we can influence our environment. Yes, we can shape the world around us. But only to a degree. The effect our environment has on us is much stronger. Much more irresistible. We are all cast in the molds of the cultures we’ve lived in and the influences we’ve been subjected to.

When you create, it’s easy to get caught up with the idea of original. It’s an attractive idea. It makes us feel good to think that we can magic something into existence where previously there was nothing. Yes, every person is completely and utterly unique. And no person experiences the same things the same way. So you’d think that originality is a definite possibility. That it’s probable. But originality of experience is not the same thing as originality of creation. The former is the norm, the latter is the exception.

At the most basic level, everything we do is a response to something we’ve seen/heard/felt/touched/smelt. Every one of our actions is a reaction to something else. Even creation. Especially creation.