I started off writing a good old-fashioned troll blog but then remembered the pain and agony of being forcibly exiled to poet purgatory so decided on this instead (sigh).
A few years ago I wrote a blog on another (more liberal?) site entitled: Mind Control - What Is It? In it I explained that, short of hypnosis or demon-possession, there really is no such thing as mind control. Perhaps what some call mind control is in reality what I term mind influence. And isn't it true that virtually every facet of society wants to influence your thinking? From the commercial world to the political to the religious to the educational system, everyone seems to want you to believe like they do, or to follow the agenda they've outlined for you. The good news is that no one can make you do anything you don't want to. Still, we are undeniably influenced toward certain lines of thought and actions.
In the music business much ado is being made over theft of intellectual property. Whether it's a beat, a melody or a lyric someone is always suing someone else over an alleged infringement of copyrighted material. While I have no doubt that in some cases outright theft is being committed, isn't it also likely that in other cases it's simply a matter of subliminal influence? Think of all of the songs that are stored in your memory right now. How many melodies can you hum? How many lyrics can you sing word for word? It would be highly naive to think that musicians are not or should not be influenced to some degree by what they have already heard.
Which brings me to the real point of this blog. All of us would like to think that each time we create a new poem it is unique in the universe. And, in a very real sense, it is. True, we are using the same words that have been in use for centuries (or even milleniums in some cases, with variations), yet we have arranged them in our own unique way. But think about some of your recent works. How often have you written something that you immediately acknowledged (or perhaps later, in hindsight) as having it's origin elsewhere?
In my poem Parallel Universe the last line reads "see you on the edge of forever." At first blush it feels unique, yet later I realized it was influenced by the title of the Star Trek episode City On The Edge Of Forever. Subliminal plagiarism.
As you can imagine, we are all influenced by what we hear, what we see, what education we are exposed to and so on, thus no one can truly make the claim they are a 'one of a kind' writer, poet, artist. Nevertheless, that should not be a source of discouragement. Why? Because the special way we arrange our words may cause someone to laugh, to cry, or to think along new lines. And that makes what we do worth every minute. It is the greatest gift an artist can impart - to impact someone's life in some small way. Bottom line, find enjoyment in what you are creating and in the creative works of others. Yet remembering that we all share certain experiences and commonalities should keep us humble. Plagiarism is reprehensible, even punishable. Subliminal plagiarism is, alas, unavoidable.