Our ideas are not our own

A reader of this blog recently let me know that one of the ideas I wrote about actually came from someone else. He shared the original piece by its author and the gist of the argument that I made on this blog is indeed similar.

This leads to the point of this post.

Specifically, whenever I knowingly draw on an idea that originated from someone else, I attribute the idea to them.

This leaves the unattributed ideas that I share in this blog where I don’t knowingly draw on someone else’s prior work. While these ideas are my own in terms of the specific writing with which I express them, they are not my own in terms of inspiration, nor can they be.

Each of our ideas is inspired by what we take in from our conversations with others and the content (text, audio, and video) we consume. As such, although the limits to our mental capacity prevent us from specifying the exact combination of influences that produced the idea, each of our ideas is almost certain to have been partially or fully thought of by someone else in the past.

In other words, this blog’s reader is correct. My ideas are not my own. They are the result of all the conversations and content that I’m fortunate to be able to learn from.

And these conversations and content, in turn, are inspired by other conversations and content.

In other words, our ideas are not our own.


Also published on Medium.