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Parallel Creations

Being creative is a funny process. It's often said that being creative is limited to a few individuals: people who are able to think outside a kind of box that we have built around our general understanding.

I like to completely reject that. 

I believe that literally anyone can be creative and that everyone is every day without even realizing it. I think that this is what makes us fundamentally human. It is a wonderful chaotic element of who we are as a species. 

All of this creating does have its drawbacks and quirks. There are roughly (last I counted) 7.125 billion people on this planet. Each one of those people creating new and exciting things everyday. It stands to reason that some of these ideas will overlap is some ways. Sometimes it's just in a small, insignificant way, but sometimes it is in a completely overlapping, to the point where these two ideas are identical kind of way. This has become especially obvious in the Internet age. 

I watch a lot of big idea videos every week. One of my favorite channels is the Vsauce channels (there are a few. Go have a look here). This past week Jake from Vsauce3 posted a video about 4 logical paradoxes. It's well worth the watch so go have a look. There is another channel called CGP Grey who earlier this same week posted a video about the trouble with transporters. From the titles these videos seem to have nothing in common. But as I was watching the Vsauce video I began to realize that I had already watched this video - one day earlier on CGP Grey. These two videos, almost point for point, discuss the same thing. It was uncanny.

Credit: Youtube, Vsauce3

Credit: Youtube, Vsauce3

Credit: Youtube, CGP Grey

Credit: Youtube, CGP Grey

I was not alone in noticing this and most importantly the creators noticed it. This was pure coincidence. Thankfully no ill will was intended. This got me thinking about my own creative work and probably my single greatest fear: someone is going to create this first.  

As I work on my projects I am always wondering if, by the time I finish this, someone will have beaten me to it and created my project first through pure coincidence. 

Both of my current projects; The Lost Candle, and Tap Blot, are, In my mind, unique and new. Neither are going to start a revolution in their respective fields of entertainment but both are mine. I created them from my own brain; they are a part of me. But I do understand that one day, and maybe one day soon, someone might have the very same idea. Maybe they would be in a better situation than I currently find my self in and are able to release it before I can. With no ill intention towards me and maybe with no idea that my projects even exist, they will have beaten me to it.

I will leave you with one final example of this parallel creation. In March of 1951, Hank Ketcham created the iconic US comic strip character, Dennis the Menace. At the exact same time but several thousand miles away in Scotland, David Law created the iconic British comic strip character, Dennis the Menace. 

Dennis the Menace US (Right) UK (Left) Credit: BBC

Dennis the Menace US (Right) UK (Left) Credit: BBC

These characters are very different in appearance but have a similar tone. Both are slightly misbehaved young boys and have a loyal dog who follows them on their misadventures. Neither artist knew about the others' creation until after publication. 

Thankfully both characters have existed separately for decades now without ever causing problems for the other. But this type of thing happens all the time, and I know that one day I may also have to deal with this situation. -ST

Scott ThowComment