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re-thinking originality

sgb90's picture

I have been re-thinking my thoughts on originality and its cultural connotations, especially in light of the recent readings. I realize that I have been somewhat indoctrinated by the romantic, yet still prevalent (despite the influence of postmodernism) notion of originality being the attribute of the solitary, creative genius. I think, as a cultural ideal, we still have the tendency to make the individual monumental, to emphasize the individual discovery of an idea while neglecting the influence of countless others in the emergence of that idea.

Reading the digital humanities manifesto, I was also struck to find that the word "copy" originally meant abundance, and that the authors suggest valuing "the copy more highly than the original." We have come to associate copies negatively: with dishonesty, unfair appropriation, and above all with an individual's lack in the ability to be creative/original. I don't think we need to lose a sense of personal worth in recognizing that none of us is particularly extraordinary or original in that most antiquated sense of the word, though I understand that the ego fights bitterly against the notion that nothing is truly one's one, in any totalizing sense.


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