I ponder. I write. I play music and politics. I philosophize.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
No new ideas?
"There are no more new ideas." It's the first real philosophical debate of the musician. You want to write a new song and you want it to speak from your heart and be a true representation of your identity. But there are only so many notes. There are only so many chords. There are only so many words and stories and ideas. The context and influence of our society dictates that there are only so many acceptable forms and traditions of music to work within. You can only learn the type of music that people around you play and can teach you (which has kind of changed with the invention of youtube.com) but regardless, we are limited to expressing in terms of what we have been exposed to.
"We are merely reassembling old ideas and are incapable of true creation." That's what someone might say. But isn't that too simple? Ok sure. Every chord and note has been played and assembled in every possible way, at this point in western musical tradition. On a general level, maybe every story has already been told. But that is only if you forget the details and look solely at generalizations. We all occupy a specific space and time. The context of the moment, the circumstance of events, every prior moment leading up to this moment culminate into the creation of a new idea. Everything is constantly moving and changing with time. Old ideas become new ideas in the new contexts they inhabit, and they will change again in the future. We are constantly redefining everything within the context of our own time. Old tropes and archetypes take on new meanings as we bend and break stereotypes, coping with our new realities. Technology is proof that new ideas do exist. The use of technology to change perspective and present old ideas in brand new innovative ways is the act of creativity.
So, yeah if you look at any work I've ever done from far away, nothing distinguishes it from anything else that has been done before, but no moment in time before me had the same set of circumstance that I currently have and the technology that I have at my disposal. Creativity comes when you are faced with a unique set of challenges or limitations and you modify your old ideas in reaction. So in that sense, we are all unique individuals and creators in an exclusive space and time.