I thought I’d write an essay that doubles up as a challenge for any human being or copy catch software to identify all borrowed lines and their authors. Have fun!
Some say that originality is the art of concealing your source and books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all. Some would argue that imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning. An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate. Every artist is a cannibal; every poet is a thief.
In a world where conveniences are abundant and we rely heavily on spell checks, predictive text, calculators and calendar reminders being original and using your noodle can be quite a bother. We’ve gotten lazy, jaded and complacent and all we want is to just be entertained. Bread and circus, diversions, distractions, war, social unrest and recycled fashion. In the morning when I wipe my brow, I wipe the miles away. Weren’t we meant to learn from history so we don’t make the same mistakes our predecessors made? The mere juxtaposition of world conflicts and the X Factor! But after all, all God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring. And we all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. But nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known, and all my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.
It can be argued that only those with no memory insist on their originality and there is nothing new except what has been forgotten. And aren’t we all one, as we are all made of stars? Who cares who’s said it first! When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it. Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research. I don’t think anybody steals anything; all of us borrow. What a terrible mistake to let go of something wonderful for something real. Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another. Take the plan, spin it sideways!
Some musical geniuses have been imitated so well they’ve heard people copy their mistakes, but they still got a lump in their throat because they’re going to sing the words wrong. I’m scared and you remind me of everything that followed and nothing can come close to this familiar feeling. In a world of diminishing mystery, the unknown persists.
Plagiarism is the fear of a blank page, but I do feel that if you can write one good sentence and then another good sentence and then another, you end up with a good story. Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation.