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Distorted Truths: Originality, Property And Creativity

  • Written by  David J. Lownds


Originality means everything and nothing at the same time. On the one hand, the word ‘original’ has a correct meaning. However, to say originality means something is to say what it does not mean is, paradoxically, also the meaning of originality because it tells you “Originality is newness”, “Originality is not the name of an animal” and so forth.

However, the idea that originality is the name of an animal is true, because it is really thought of by me and is truly content in a sentence. In this way, originality, like all other things, means nothing, anything and everything, and not only because people use it ambiguously and arguably care too much or too little about it.

It could even be argued that any use of the word ‘originality’ will vary. This is because it will arise, whether written or thought of in a different context, even if the only way it differs is in terms of a slight difference in time or the space on a page or the angle it is perceived from. The context of anything defines meaning, but meaning partly defines the context because it is part of the context which influences meaning, and so forth. Despite this variation, though, words that are in a way completely different are the same. They are words and reflect reality because they are a real combination of letters and reflect prior creation, even if they are made up and even if they are created unintentionally.

All lyrics and music (hence combined into one as ‘music’) are based on symbols (including letters), musical notes and/or sounds and on those that use them that came before the music. This makes the music unoriginal. However, to be original is to be the first in line: to have created something that, in one way at least, has never been done before.

Even a cover is an original. Even if it is apparently played exactly like the original recording will differ from anything done before because its place in time is different, plus the guitar’s strings will have deadened over time (even if this is only slight) and the tone will differ as a result. Even if the tone arguably varies less and is recorded, it will still be heard in a different context and the song itself will change even if it is supposed to be one repeated or sustained note. Every song changes over time, even if time is altered by the song. This is the case even if it only means that the song is going from the first half-second to another part of the song, and even if in a way the recording does not move through time, capturing instead a past moment. Also, even if nothing seems to have affected the speakers or other parts of the listening environment, they have been affected by things like decay, even if only minutely. Therefore, all sounds are original since they are different from what has happened before

However, a piece of music or album or anything also always stays the same in addition to constantly varying. Even if the music features many different notes, it remains part of reality even if the music ends. Since music, however brief and however often it is listened to, moves forward in time, it is always new because it has never appeared in that exact time before. All music is original even though no music is original.

Songs are property of their creators, or are they? Can songwriters even have property? Even if we are talking about something more commonly thought of as property, like a house, even this is arguably not their property in that it cannot be theirs. How can they not have it if it is their house or their song, especially if they are only person that has experienced it? It could be said that it is not their house or their song because it is not a part of them. It is not in their brain or the rest of their body. Even though they thought of it, it is sometimes not in their thoughts. Even if the house was always in their thoughts and they were always playing the song wherever they went, they would in a way not be their writer’s at all.

However, it absolutely is the writer’s. This is true even if someone else created it if the writer hears it or even if they do not know about it but someone else does and gives it, even simply in speech or thought, to them, as I am doing in this sentence. Even if something is just a hypothetical statement or imaginary, the fact it is imaginary or part of a hypothetical argument makes it real even though it is non-real.

If a song is something, it is the opposite of that thing at the same time. How can a song be mine and not mine? Because however you define me or the song, the song and I always change in relation to space and time. Even to say it stays the same is to say something is constant, which suggests time passes and therefore it is no longer owned by the songwriter yesterday, nor is it owned by the songwriter of today or tomorrow, because the songwriter and the song are different from each other. Even if time did not pass and context was ignored, even the existence of the idea that anyone can own anything is a reality because it is a real idea which is part of real thoughts. How can someone have something and not have it? Again, the idea’s realness, at least as an idea, makes it real. All ideas, including property, are therefore real and not at all real, as are everything and nothing.

Creativity is (and is not) often unintentional. To do nothing, unintentionally or otherwise, is to create nothing, and therefore create something while in the same act not creating. Everyone is creative: even rocks like those in this sentence create part of a sentence even if they do not exist outside of it. Everyone is also always non-creative in the sense that they are always not creating other things that they otherwise could be creating, such as a lack of creativity or something different.

Creativity and non-creativity are possible at the same time in the same way. The fact they are possible makes neither of them possible, since both possibility and impossibility are possibilities and are therefore both real and non-real. To create property is to not create property. Therefore to never create property is to always create property. 

This may seem irrational, but all ‘irrational’ statements, even ones like “Steven Hawking is a musical instrument” are the opposite of rational and therefore ‘of rational’. Basically, the irrational is rational. Even this article is simultaneously nonsense and complete sense, a waste of time and completely worthwhile, ugly distortion and beautiful truth. Plus, Hawking was an instrument was truth that was music to my ears.

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