I had a wonderful opportunity today to appear on HuffPost Live and discuss a topics that I find fascinating: What is creativity, where does it come from, and what happens if someone has the same idea? While it was immensely fun to both contribute and listen to the other guests, it did cause me to break my personal rule against talking about Shia LaBeouf.
Oh well, we all make sacrifices, I guess.
You may have heard me cover some of these ideas in previous articles I have written, both about combinatorial creativity and accusations of plagiarism, so it was nice to be able to discuss some of these ideas. In a way, it was a little unfortunate that we spent so much time on Shia LaBeouf (and not just because of my boycott of Shia) because he is so obviously stealing others’ work and trying to come up with a lame excuse. I mean, performance art? Come on.
The far more interesting ideas show up a little later. For instance, Jonah Lehrer is fascinating because his story delves into the concept of plagiarizing oneself, which is not only possible but common. It’s one little bomb in the minefield of creativity, and we have to navigate this minefield constantly if we want to create legitimate and long-lasting art. The creative process absolutely demands that we borrow things (subconsciously or not) from other sources and meld various influences into a new thing, but it’s exceedingly easy to fall into bad practices when we are lazy or we are under increasing pressure (Shia Labeouf being an example of the former, and Jonah Lehrer the latter).
The other, equally interesting side of the conversation was well illustrated by Patrick Waldo. His perspective is the person who must protect his creations from plagiarism, which is equally important. We can’t sit idly by and let plagiarism happen even though, as he says, it can be a little flattering.
I highly recommend watching the video, but with the dual caveat that you will have to put up with my goofy face and a few minutes dedicated to Shia.
Like I said, we must all make sacrifices.