To Whom Do Ideas Belong?
It is said that everything is created twice. The first creation is the mental creation, where imagination and creativity build a mental sketch in our mind. It is the phase where new ideas begin to take shape and mature into something creative. The second creation is the physical realization of that idea. It could be a book, a song, a painting, a machine, a new scientific theory or anything. It is the final product of a creative idea.
Not all ideas are realized. Plenty of ideas die premature-deaths because not all people are ready to make the effort to turn an idea into something real. Most ideas die because the thinkers do not realize the value of an idea. Another great number of ideas die because of rejection by others. Creative ideas may not look very creative until someone actually proves it and is usually disapproved and laughed at, at first. It isn’t rare to find someone else’s creative idea turned into something real by others.
To whom does an idea really belong..? Does it belong to the one who thought of it first, or the one who took the effort to turn it into something real? Who deserves the credit? Is it the one who wrote the book with beautiful words? Or the one who first imagined the story and gave away the plot to the writer..?
Everyone prices their unique ideas. When everyone adds their own uniqueness, even small ideas can grow into wonders. Yet if we do not make our own unique contribution, even original ideas will become stagnant. Being unique might not bring out the best in you. But it will definitely add some colour to your life.
Very rarely, two people wholly unconnected come up with the same creative idea independently. Maybe it is not as rare as we think. If I reinvented the telephone, can I not also claim a right to that creative idea…? However there is not much glory in reinvention. Effort spent in reinvention is considered a waste. It is advisable to find out what other people have done in a particular field before carrying out with our own ideas. As the saying goes “we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time”, there is more value in adding to the existing knowledge.
Writing a book based on a story related by another is not wrong. But a writer can add to the beauty of that story, instead of repeating it, word by word as he has heard. Every creation needs to bear the uniqueness of each creator. It would be a waste of talent and creativity not to make our own contribution to an idea. Whether we are trying to realize an original idea or trying to take an existing idea to the next level, we can always add something of value to it. There is always a unique-something only if we can add.
We all have pride in our creations. If Graham Bell were to see today’s mobile phones, he will not be able to help it but think that a part of that invention is his, even though what he invented ages ago and what we use today are very different. But also if people did not take his idea and build on it, communication technology would not have come this far.
Perhaps it is foolish to say that an idea belongs to one person only. Knowledge and wisdom has no value unless it is has reached the masses and is utilized by them. Let the debate of the rights of ideas and creations continue, and until they resolve, we can always choose to add our own uniqueness to the ideas that come in our way and give credit to any predecessors who planted the seeds.