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There Are No New Ideas…and Why That’s OK


There’s a famous phrase, from Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

It’s kind of depressing at first glance, but perhaps if we look at it another way it frees us from the strain of the pursuit of originality.

If every new idea is simply an improvement, a remix or a conglomeration of previous ideas, then our role is simply to pull the different threads and weave them into something greater, something faster, easier, better, more pleasing or useful than what went before.

French writer, André Gide frames it so nicely, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”

So, our goal then, especially those of us who aspire to some form of creativity, should be to speak, to explain, to demonstrate, to teach, to help, to solve, in a way that allows others to hear or do that which they could not hear or do before.

Perhaps then it’s not so much our ideas that make the difference, but our ability to share those ideas, inventions, twists, creations, those manifestations of brilliance, in a way that is meaningful to others.

Something to think about.

Any thoughts to share?

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