Originality is a hard concept to grasp. We must realize we are deeply and forever tainted by the influence of past people and creativity that has come before us. While “tainted” is typically viewed as a negative word, we must too begin to understand that this idea means more that we are as Bernard of Chartres and later Isaac Newton said “standing on the shoulders of giants.” Nothing about where we are today or where we cast vision forward to tomorrow would exist except for those who lift us up by their work.
A quote by C.S. Lewis speaks on originality:
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
-C. S. Lewis
It is important we strive to generate ideas, creations, pieces of art, and stories that shape our minds in new ways, but those new shapes will always be formed with old tools that have been forged out of history’s creative minds. We mustn’t get too prideful.