Tuesday, April 19, 2011

O is for originality

Originality, like nature, is an illusion. Novelty—an unfamiliar or unrecognized combination—while often mistaken for originality, is simply a result of mathematical permutation in time, which allows the repetition of individual results to be far enough separated so as to provide the semblance of the new. In fact, the elements are the same. It is the contemporary communication explosion which has revealed the undeniable limitation of the set from which all cultural, social, and political combinations are drawn. We breathe, and each breath is a repetition. Within experience, difference exists only as an accident of space. Geography alone separates my footsteps from those taken on the moon. It would, however, be a logical fallacy to conclude from this argument that similarity is somehow more essential than difference. Each is a comparative quality, imposed by cognition. The object itself is unaffected.

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