The lull between the podcast recording and the next post is the time you and I search for the next original topic. The new spin on free will, or droning on privacy – being original is kinda important to us, and sometimes kinda hard. But luckily enough, the search ended with the hunt this time around. So Valentin, let’s talk Originality and the Blue Collar Worker.

“Find your passion”, “be the unique you that you’re supposed to be”, “find your true voice” … the cliched words spewed in one form or another at every high school graduation ceremony. Individualism, the father of originality, is an ideal we love to preach. But for good reason – the uniqueness of individual thought has lead us to a spectrum of human achievement: the inventors of the first tools, explorers of the new world, the creative eruptions of the industrial revolution, the artists of the cinema, the new understanding of consciousness, and the list goes on. But, as in almost all of our discussions, there’s that B word that always gets brought up. So I’m going to cut right to the chase, what would we want to balance originality with? Is there even something?

“Be a follower”, “listen and don’t speak up”, “be a good role player” just don’t have the same spazazz to it. But the funny thing is though, most of the world ends up being an ‘unoriginal follower’, than an ‘original leader’. And there’s a problem there between the message and the reality. The world needs the blue collar workers to clean our drains, fix our roofs, pick up the roadkill from the streets, and more than that, we need to be able to recognize the people that do those ‘dirty’ deeds. Yes, the world does need inspiration & creative leadership, but the balance of the messaging needs some reweighing. The worker bees need some recognition. Or maybe, just sexier marketing.  But, that’s not the primary point I want to discuss. And since this worker bee movement does have some legs on it (Mike Rowe, from the television show,’Dirty Jobs‘, is making some headway for one), let’s move on to bigger and harder battles in shifting this originality balance.

Originality and art almost go hand in hand. The artist that produces the next piece of genre changing, revolutionary artwork receives recognition for the original thought that construed it to existence. But, when you ask artists, where they get their ideas, the use of the word “inspiration” often comes spilling out. Inspiration, as the most recent law suit dished out to Robin Thicke by the Gaye family, dances the line with plagiarism. And it is at this point, in the balance of the spectrum, where I raise a flag. Most artists dance this line and move it ever so incrementally. This dance does still require an original thought mixed in with the ‘inspiration/plagiarism’, but seldom gets recognized. The collective consciousness of hip hop artists of the late 80s moved the music genre into existence, mostly by ‘plagiarizing’ or ‘getting inspiration’ from each other. Yes, there were a few leaders of the movement that paved the way for the rest. But the rest, played an ever so crucial part to the movement as a hole. So I say, we recognize more of the less ‘original’ worker bee artists of the world, and maybe alter the quote, ‘great artists steal’ to ‘most artists steal, and that’s cool’.

What say you?