You couldn’t get some better pictures of your chicken scratch? Throw an Instagram filter on them at least, or maybe spill some alcohol to add a real authentic grunge. I could barely read the entire thing, but I commend you for pushing the boundary of what a two person science, art, sports and philosophy blog can get away with. You took a known medium and altered it just slightly to make it interesting (maybe we can make it a bit more legible next time). This is the part of the originality spectrum where the majority of our favourite artists operate. They take a known medium, and give it a dash of original flavour. For every Wes Anderson, there are 10 David Fincher’s and Christopher Nolan’s who lack a completely novel style but make up for it with a few distinctive flairs and an overall solid understanding of their medium.
As a society, we understand and appreciate this style of art: take what we know and make it a bit better or present it in a way we haven’t seen before. Case in point: Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman. But if you ask yourself, in 50 years, whose movies will we be more likely to see studied in film school, Anderson’s or Nolan’s, you’d probably bet on Anderson. Being completely original doesn’t necessarily bring in the most dough, but it leaves a legacy: your own permanent stain on the cultural zeitgeist that is hard to wash out.
This is true in art, and I think it’s also true in science and academia. Academia is the only industry I know of that actually pays for novelty first and foremost. As a researcher, your job is to produce novel insights and conjectures that broaden the state-of-the-art. This novelty is not unbounded however – there are accepted research fields where the majority of researchers spend their times and where the majority of grant money is to be found.
As a researcher, much like as an artist, you have to ask yourself: how original do I want to be? Pushing the envelope may cost you research funding in the short term, but your work may turn out to be more important to the field in the long term. This is the originality spectrum, and it comes with the same dreaded ‘b’ word as all the other spectrums we’ve talked about. How original do you want to be? The answer clearly depends on the culture and society in which you operate.
Kim Jon-un may like basketball, but I doubt he’s too big of a Wes Anderson fan.