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Does Originality Exist in Modern Times?

Updated: Mar 7

A beautiful valley

Originality does indeed exist, even if it is a rarer occurrence than before. This is because we can still find many things that were, and are, original, at least within the framework of their time. Think of the times when you were so amazed by something that you described it, whether in thought or in speech, as original. If you can indeed remember such moments, then originality does exist, at least for you. It exists for me too.

The movies of David Lynch, the fourth game in the Silent Hill franchise, surrealist paintings, and the plot behind Kafka's "Metamorphosis" are all examples of creations that I find to be very original, despite the time that has passed in the history of humanity. These creations were created in the midst of countless generations of artists, thinkers, and storytellers.

For a content creator, the process of forming something original, in my opinion, requires the following aspects:

Deep and extensive thinking: An original creation can be described as something that has never been thought of, or seen before, by either the creator or the audience that consumes their work. Naturally, such a creation should be invested with much thought about how to make it stand out from other creations in the same genre. Simply improvising spontaneously could easily lead to a creation that shares many points of identity with other creations. You can also try to define what originality means to you.

Avoid creating a rip-off of something that already exists, as far as possible. Be innovative and think of rarer combinations of concepts that aren't usually mixed in a setting, character, and so on. Pink and black, for example, are unique color combinations simply because they are not usually seen together.

Effort: For something to be original, it must be invested with a lot of effort. This effort, of course, is dependent on what type of creation it is—is it a video game, a drawing, a book? Either way, that effort should be invested in making that creation different from other creations you and others have encountered before. Make it stand out, make it unique.

This effort can be very hard, and I’m saying this from experience as a writer. Implement the uniqueness in a way that would also create curiosity in your target audience. You can, for example, create a universe where ships are shaped like bananas, but if that will be the core element of your story, people might become bored, because even though it's a unique idea, it is not particularly an interesting one for the long-term.

Contemplating on the nature of the creation itself: Contemplate on the nature of that creation. What kind of creation do you mean it to be? What traits is this creation going to possess? I think that the more various and even strange or contradicting combinations of traits a creation is going to possess, the more unique it would become. Think of the genre, or the few genres, this creation is going to include; think of what content it would include, and what it would exclude.

The possibilities are endless, and just because they are endless, it is so hard to choose the most optimal possibility out of them. By "nature" I am simply referring to the "vibe", to the "mood" at hand; the impression in which the creation is capable of creating in the eyes of the audience.

If you're a content creator, don't think reaching originality would be easy. You should consider the possibility that you may even fail eventually. However, the attempt itself is exalted, in a world whose most modern and popular creations are cheap, unoriginal, and lacking. Nonetheless, as long as you don't rip off something that already exists, and strive to make something that comes from yourself, rather from other things or creators, then the distinction of your piece should suffice, even if it's not entirely original.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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