I received a comment today that suggested we are all "vessels" receiving ideas from something higher, greater, even entirely outside ourselves and can claim no real ownership of them. And, while I agree with this idea from a spiritual perspective, as expressed in my Creative Divine post, I'd like to discuss the intricacies of this belief. Because like with all things this subjective, there is no black and white.
While the idea of legally protecting your work might seem counter-intuitive to the concept that ideas originate from an external "divine" source, these two concepts (one spiritual, one material) work well to support one another in furthering a socially creative and balanced universal whole.
My response to the idea of "vessels" was such:
"If we are to entertain the concept that ideas originate from a higher source, or an external source (which is what "vessel" suggests), I would also add they are processed through our own life experiences, and a skill set secured and mastered over years, resulting in creations entirely our own. An idea is an intangible phantom until it is in the vessel. The shape of that vessel is never the same."
Ideas may originate from something removed from ourselves, but in order to realize those ideas, we each imbue them with our own life story. A belief that "there is nothing new under the sun", an ideology rampant in the creative community, really suggests the artist isn't expressing their own story... they are re-telling the stories of others. And I entirely support the belief that people have a right to protect their own stories.
I'm not saying it's not acceptable to learn through mimicry (with permission, of course). That is part of our story as well. But it is not the whole of it. That we should stop sharing our story because of a self-sabotaging belief there is nothing original to express... that is a sad silencing of our own voice. Even with permission or tutorials, I encourage everyone to push beyond that story, and make it your own. Consider it this way: that tutorial is only the first chapter in a much larger book.
So I suppose my advice is this: read the stories of others, appreciate them, absorb them and use them to further your own. No idea needs ever be repeated twice when the vessels are always unique. Don't deny your own vessel an opportunity to spill out your story.