I’m probably not the first to say this, but originality is dead (woah, that’s so meta)(Ah! I did it again!). Every dumbs with a twitter account makes the same joke, every movie has the same bloody plot, and every gatdamn song sounds the same! I can’t be the first idiot to show you this video by Axis of Awesome.
They have a point, doesn’t it make you angry that every pop song sounds the same. Well actually no, most of those are really good songs. This particular example boils down to a music theory thing that I lack the time or expertise to explain in the duration of this blog post. Sorry, I think I’ve gotten a little bit ahead of myself, let’s backup.
Before I really get going let’s get one thing straight, originality, in it’s truest sense, does not exist. Every song you’ve ever heard, every movie you’ve ever seen, ever invention you’ve ever marveled at, hell every thought you’ve ever thought has been a derivation of something someone’s done before. And I’ll prove it.
Let me introduce you to the Jesus Theory (don’t worry I’m not trying to get all religious on you). 2000 years of christian theology aside the story essentially breaks down to this: way back when there was a dude who a bunch of people liked, and eventually he sacrificed himself to save the world. Oh yeah and here’s the thing, every hero in every story you’ve ever read is Jesus, go ahead, think about it, I’ll wait. Forrest Gump-Jesus. Captain Kirk-Jesus. Luke Skywalker-definitely Jesus. Keanu Reeves (do I even need to say it?).Freaking Simba from the Lion King is Jesus. Oh and it goes doubly for superheroes.
You see the crux of the Jesus Theory is that every story has already been told a billion times. Look at the Notebook, the quintiesntial Romantic Drama, it’s just Say Anything in the 1940’s, which is just Romeo and Juliet in the ’80’s. The Da Vinci Code is basically Sherlock Holmes with less science of deduction and more misinformation. You can’t write a story that hasn’t been told before, which makes sense when you account for the fact that Humans have been telling stories pretty much since the beginning of time.
Oh and it’s not just story telling. In just about every science is, in one way or another, a derivation of Physics, and everything in Physics is a derivation of just three quantities (Length, Mass, and Time). The Internet is just a derivation of computers, which is just a derivation of electric circuits which is just a property of matter. Even that toilet seat you’re sitting on while you read this, is just a fancy bowl with water in it.
You see there’s a reason that things are the way they are. The reason Every movie hero is Jesus is because people really love Jesus. The reason that Axis of Awesome song works is because way back when people (Mozart? It was Mozart wasn’t it.) realized that those four chords sound really good together. Just because something has been done before is no reason to cast it aside. Instead we derive from what has come before, we build on it, until we are left with something better. To use Mr. Maley’s favorite phrase (don’t worry you won’t understand the reference), there’s no sense reinventing the wheel. Hell this entire article is largely based on some Cracked articles from a few days ago and I’m sure if I looked, I would find about 80 billion more articles just like this one.
And ultimately that’s what progress is, taking the old and building upon it, innovating (as much as that word is overused). Just because an idea isn’t original, doesn’t mean that it’s bad. If you add to the conversation, if you create your own unique spin, you’ve got something worth spreading. So like I said before, originality is dead (if it every existed in the first place), but I think that’s a good thing.