Original thoughts

How often do we come up with something original in our thinking? In fact, I don’t think I ever had any original idea – at least not original from scratch. Most of our ideas are adaptation of the ideas of others, which came from yet more ideas of others. And this is the beauty of human knowledge accumulation and innovation. It is precisely because we have been able to copy, to varying degrees that things improve and work. That is effectively what the process of evolution achieves in nature. It is the poor copying that results in innovation.

A successful copy isn’t exactly direct imitation but being able to interpret the original idea for a new audience, in a new context or environment. And that is why it is so difficult to have purely original ideas that take off or are useful. Most genuine original ideas have little place in the world. And most good ideas that have a place in the world can hardly be considered original. And so being original is really not that much something to boast about.

What we truly value and want to value is the ability to think independently and arrive at conclusions. The conclusions can be similar and reinforces what the world believes in already; but they can also be divergent and it becomes exciting how things bear out in reality.