All creativity is a derivation. Recycled and rearranged stimuli. Our identity is a product of our memory, isn’t it? You are what you remember of yourself. Your world is a projection that stems from within yourself – inside out. You breathe in stimuli, form your perceptions of the world and then act it out. This prompts me to ask a bigger, deeper question. Which part of it is original? What is original to every human being? Or the other way around, what makes original creations, original?
Answer: The creator’s subjective experience of life.
That, my friends, is why we cannot have another Van Gogh. Or another you. Or another me. It’s why the way I felt (curious) looking at a delicate red poppy at 5 years of age on a summer afternoon in the UK, the cold breeze biting at my face, can only be known to me, live with me and die with me. It can only be immortalized (through approximation), by way of my creative expression alone.
It’s why you could replicate a Van Gogh but never be a Van Gogh. An original can only be replicated, not recreated. Creation is a singular point of infinitude – an origin. Like the Big Bang. Just like you can set a piece of paper afire by concentrating sun rays using a magnifying glass, everything that you are comes to a head. It’s why I feel, a true artist, while greater than his art, cannot be divorced from it. What I mean by infinitude – infinite potential – is that, there is no telling what can come into being. Who is to say that the sky is the limit? That’s how I imagine it. To me, this comes close to the concept of “singularity” in physics.
Google: “Singularity is a point at which a function takes an infinite value, especially in space–time when matter is infinitely dense, such as at the centre of a black hole”. There is an answer on Quora for the question “Is God a singularity? – “Yes, in a sense, God (or whatever name we may put to it) could be considered as a singularity. Everything rises from, ends in and remains all the time in a singularity. The seed, the process, the manifestation and the ceding, is all a part of one entity – the Self.” Wikipedia says – “Some sources described singularitarianism as a moral philosophy that advocates deliberate action to bring about and steer the development of a superintelligence that will lead to a theoretical future point that emerges during a time of accelerated change”.
What I interpret from this is, original creations call forth our superintelligence and leave the world better off. This applies to all original art, period. Original style. Original thought. Original work.
The word O R I G I N A L has the word “origin” in it. Originality has its origin in itself.
Anything truly original often threatens to upend all in its wake. But the same force that destroys is the force that creates and so here today, we are. It is from the chaos that creative order seems to emerge. It is for this reason that we owe it to ourselves to retain our originality and give it the space it commands. We owe it to ourselves to, do what only we can do, make what only we can make and be the person only we can be. It’s why if you figure out your calling, you must be the one to carry it out. You cannot outsource it. You must rise to be what only you can be, as a force of positive change in this world. So, write that book. Make that art. Bake that dish. Take that responsibility. And remember, “If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”. – Vincent Van Gogh.
Do what only you can do. Make what only you can make. Be the person only you can be.Tweet
I get a feeling that this is a path of no return. Cognitive dissonance – the conflict between who we are and what we do, is not only maddening, it is deceitful, untruthful with oneself. And I’d like to think, personal integrity counts for something. After all, one major factor of differentiation between us and animals is that we have a conscience. If you’re living a lie, you could have the whole world fooled. But as you go to bed with yourself, head sinking into the pillow, internal systems getting ready to shut down (or not), somewhere, deep down, you’d know. You know. And it causes you immense sorrow to live a lie. It is in this way, that I feel originality is intertwined with personal integrity and self-respect.
Besides, there is sheer joy in making something your own. Adding your sparkle, some madness, which only you can think of. If you hate something, look for a way in which you can enjoy it. Often this means working with yourself rather than against yourself. Negotiating with yourself rather than forcing yourself. Spending time with the things you dread, looking them in the eye, and asking – what can I make of you today? It means being honest with yourself about who you are. What are your quirks? What do you bring to the table? To explore oneself is a lifelong romance. It is the exploration that leads to love. Which is why Oscar Wilde’s version reads “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance!.”
Don’t aspire to be a copy. Take the best bits of the world. Make them your own. Add something original.
Even if you use the same recipe and bake the same cake, add your own icing.
Sprinkle a little “you” in there.
Only you can do that.