Unfortunately, today books, screens and public conferences are full of artists and intellectuals releasing other people’s work without any indignity. Even worse, some these intellectuals practicing piracy publish and produce similar pieces of work as the original one making some slight minor changes. They get the fame and self-satisfaction they need and life go on. The concept of originality in the modern society is empty of substance, because of the plagiarized works being published and released in presses. This thought goes back in the days of evolution, where not even the top scientists used their own original ideologies. They depended on ideas form other studies done by historical people. Today the concept of originality has lost its meaning, and everyone is claiming to own what already exists. Therefore, as the thesis statement, today originality is non- existent and its concepts are empty of substance.
Originality is a notion empty of substance (Carrol 142) since it has no clear definition. Several words are used to describe it, for instance, unique, novel, new and fresh. The description of originality as unique may make sense, but it depends on circumstance and degree. Often originality in work is confused with the point or time of origin of a given piece of work. This is mainly evident with objects and documents which are referred to as being original simply because they are readily applicable to tradition and routine activities. Documents and objects are also termed original at the time they are believed to come into general use or at the place of issuance or production. Originality is in some cases related to creativity and innovation. However, this innovative and creative faculty can be argued since originality cannot be possessed by a few individuals only who claim to be innovative and creative. It is important to note that there is no innovation that can spring out of nothing; innovations and creations have antecedents (Carrol 147). Most innovations in the world are based on already studied ideas, and therefore the researchers’ work is only to try to improve on the existing concepts. For instance, the scientists Newton and Leibniz developed calculus based on the existing concepts and knowledge of mathematics during that time (Carrol 149).
Most people today use the concept of originality to provide invidious discrepancy among works and people (Carrol 150). This is mainly useful in justifying one’s privileges, control of knowledge, rewards and rank. However, originality in its reality is non- existent in many cases. People are misusing the idea, and with time its value is degrading. There is an assumption that anything original refers to the only or prime criterion used to produce a quality creation (Carrol, 150). This in the real sense is untrue simply because there are many other criteria and qualities that vary with respect to the creation. These criteria and qualities can also be assessed for evaluation. Today, originality does not in any circumstance exist what scholars think they possess is often stored up from the past society and represents the subsoil of past social life (Carrol, 158). Ideas are often put forward and discussed, but with time the notions take different turns, change and new formulations are made. These new formulations have no owner since they have anteceded from the insights of numerous individuals. A scientist can come up with a new mutation finding, however, the fact remains that he used the concept of the genetic code alteration (mutation), which has been existing. Nowadays, people are publishing findings for the sake of prestige and money without caring whether it is original or not.
The notion of quality has been swept away from the concept of originality in the modern society. Originality should carry with it a new idea; a representation of something created in a godlike manner and out of totally nothing. Original is never borrowed; it stands out on its own (McEwan, 1). Not even the earliest and most renowned scientists were original in their works. Take for instance, Darwin, the father of evolution, who worked tirelessly against several backgrounds of evolutionary views. The fact is that he used other people’s views and concepts to come up with his own conclusion, which is not at all original. In his scientific work, he used the views of Erasmus his grandfather, certain animal breeders, natural historians, pigeon fanciers and Lyell and Malthus ((McEwan, 6). The same applies for Einstein, the creator of the relativity theory, who used the scientific ideas of Max Planck and Hendrik Lorentz (McEwan, 6). He utilized several existing mathematical ideas to arrive at his conclusion. The thought of originality is viewed differently by people, where to some it is a horrifying and irritating due to its untrue nature. On the other hand, others find it liberating and beautiful, for example, the scientists like Darwin, who gets to be famous for alleged originality (McEwan, 7). Personally, I would say that originality is non-existent since every idea comes from one person, God. For this reason, humans who do not find their moments of contemplation in the supernatural being, find them in the contemplation of science and art. Finding something new for most artists and scientists is so fulfilling that they feel they have achieved their reason for living, forgetting that their alleged originality was in total dependence on others’ achievements and God as well.
“All mankind is of one author hence one volume; the death of one man does not mean that his life chapter is forgotten, but is translated into a better language than the original” (Lethem, 59). Originality is, as a matter of facts, non-existent, but people only builds on other people thoughts and ideas. Most books are written and reading them becomes exciting until one realizes that some of the texts are lifted from previous writings. What happens is that writers try to add secondary shock of recognition to engage the readers (Lethem, 61). The same applies to most artists, who realize their vocations only after their nascent talents are awakened by the works of previous masters. Most artists convert to art as a result of experiencing artistic activities. As artists put it, “invention does not consist of creating out of void, but out of chaos” (Lethem, 65). This means that artists have no individual originality, but the however use the concepts of other artists or simply nature- God’s concept. According to Lethem, in the modern society, intellectuals and artists in the urge to be original, often gain courage and use undiscovered public knowledge (Lethem, 67). This is because people do not engage in serious research hence are not aware of the existing literature. Undiscovered public knowledge often enables the public to question the numerous claims of originality.
Is an artist or intellectual offering a true and original piece of work or has the worthy precursor been forgotten? This is the question the modern society needs to ask every time a new work is published or released by the press. Originality as a concept has become empty of substance since it has no meaning anymore. People use the works of their antecedents and claim to be their own thoughts and ideas. People die every day, and their works are turned into new versions and presented as original. Some pieces of work are forgotten with time, and the cunning intellectuals use this privilege to write similar stories and release them as their own. This is rather irritating since the world of literature and art is becoming unreal. Plagiarism, as it is called lately, is done for selfish reasons of fame and self- satisfaction. What about the original owners of these works; should they be forgotten and the existing people be credited as the owners? This question should be answered by everyone alleging to produce or create anything original, but knows extremely well the real originality of the work.