there is a phrase that i used to hear in my early adulthood:
“ten steps ahead of the rest”
the idea- being a provocative marking of territory or stature in competitive fields. it is a “call out” to others that one is on top. it is also a sentiment with the idea that the entity-of-topic is one that is innovative, on the cutting edge, genius, original, etc. that everyone else is trying to copy or imitate but it does them little good because where they follow, the topic entity- leads.
“original style” is difficult to replicate because it is not necessarily, or at all, based on a static or consistent form. you can come to mimic or parody or imitate an original style after a certain amount of data is available but the less data you have, the less imitation will exist.
copying is not necessarily a negative or bad thing. there are many mimics in nature that take advantage of the benefits of others. and isn’t “copying”- learning? copying without digestion, without comprehension, even rote learning is what most people react to negatively when they admonish someone regarding “copying.”
it’s interesting to me how “we” are not supposed to copy but then- how does one learn. “oh you just know it.” what does that mean? you mean i just have to “poof” get ideas in my head? why didn’t europe just “poof” get ideas in their head and start doing graffiti before any new york writer or media arrived within their scope of attention?
we are connective chemical beings. sometimes, due to social “ethers” that spread across vast areas, various peoples will invent the same thing at the same time independent of one another. but, in a way, they are all connected and indirectly sharing the medium or pool that the new life rises from. but for the most part we are a social creature that connects and shares ideas, and in turn each individual digests and creates new versions and forms that are returned to the community.
i get kind of irritated/frustrated/mad when i think about how it is a prevailing idea that we must not “copy.” learning, mentoring, is copying. the problem is in the lack of refinement to the phrasing. it’s not that we should not copy – it’s that level of “passing off” or “trying to get over” or “take advantage of” – stealing – that people don’t like and respond so severely to.
when are we not taking influence from something outside of ourselves? it is irksome how some artists/people like to say “i don’t take nothing from no one. everything i do comes from my own head” or some similar sentiment regarding that “i’m an island” mentality. it’s funny how some artists (of whatever media/genre) are revered for their influences/teachers/mentors/schools while other artists are admonished for having any “sources” they “copied from.”
i mean, some artists will say “such and such a painting or artist really turned my life around” … but on the flip side you have people saying they had no influences unless the influence/teacher/source was prominent.
i can sense that this situation of being original, not being derivative, not copying, being unique – wears on me. not consistently as in “every day on my neck” but consistently as in it’s always out there in the world. i think i react more to the fact that the whole situation seems antisocial, that we could have a better free’er world without that garbage. it’s more that than it is about myself. but i find myself rattled by it because when i’m around others i can sense it in them too.
now if i could find a group of individuals who could let go and be their free selves that would be ideal. no traces of the fear of copying or stealing. just expression infinite. genuine curiosity and care for one another and all that lays beyond inner and outer perceptions.
as it is, i only know a few individuals here and there and they are situated physically distant from me. i may not need people around me, but i recognize and embrace the chemical effect that affects me. we are biological beings based in physics. our chemistry is important. spatial presence is important with all of it’s conveyances of chemical ignitions. our senses contribute so much more than the seemingly singular functions they provide.
of the individuals i know who seem to have those free dynamics i am unsure as to their compatibility with one another. meaning, “if i got them all together, say, after winning a billion-dollar lottery, would they rhyme well with one another?”
just thinking around and trying to write it down.