Disclaimer: Welcome to my blog series on copyright! This is the second installment in a four part series in which I am exploring the spiritual and emotional context of copyright. I am in no way minimizing the legal and practical issues surrounding this complex topic, but would like to offer space to muse about questions and feelings that arise. To catch up on the whole series and read insightful comments by fellow bloggers, click here.
Inspired by Jasper John's painting Numbers in Color this miniature sampler pictured above was my pivotal teaching moment. Giving 7th graders a set of limiting parameters such as the same colors of paint (red, yellow, and blue), tools, paper size, and instructions, deep down inside I wanted to prove that each one of their paintings would be truly unique...I was not disappointed.
When all 35 color samplers hung next to each other, it was clear that not one person felt the desire to copy a fellow student's work, and I began to believe that when someone is given the freedom to make a choice, they will always do what comes most naturally to their heart and that in itself is truly original.
Am I Original?
What am I wanting when I ask to be seen as original? For me, just saying the word "original" brings up feelings of anxiousness and longing. Could it be that I am yearning to be known and respected by others in a deeper way? When I want to develop a unique style, am I trying to create an easily identifiable signature like a bird call so I'm not lost in the crowd? Is this my own fragile way of seeking reliable nurturing and genuine appreciation from others so as to find a sense of belonging?
Being original implies singularity and suggests that without this badge of uniqueness, I might feel loss when I become viewed as one among many -- my vulnerable self avoiding the realization of our interconnectedness. Now that seems like the opposite wanting to belong! :)
I'm guessing you may have some interesting feelings in regards to these questions of originality, and I'd love to hear about them. I'd enjoy knowing more about the way others find compassion for this tiny, fragile bird inside each of us that just wants to make its unique mark on the world.
I found my source of comfort in the beauty of my 7th graders' color samplers and in the Latin roots of the word "original," which means "beginning, source, birth." How could anyone feel disappointment, if what we are seeking through originality is really a connection with the source of our being? :)