Originality Quiz

Sunday, 28. June 2009

Q1: do you have the daily experience of experiencing your own thoughts as unique and original? Y?/N?/DK

IF YES: what external evidence is there of this feeling?

IF NO: why not?

IF DK: award yourself one honesty point

Q2: is it essential to be unique and original? Y?/N?/DK

IF YES: what external evidence is there for this opinion?

IF NO: why not?

IF DK: award yourself one honesty point

Q3: how much grief do you get from pretending to be unique and original? lots?/none?/DK

IF LOTS: could you give it a break and just be you for a while?

IF NONE: what damage does your performance do to other people, then?

IF DK: award one honesty point

Q4: are you honest about things like this? Y?/N?/DK

IF Y: deduct all honesty points and take a cold shower

IF N: accept 3 honesty points

IF DK: please take a break from acting the innocent

15 Responses to “Originality Quiz”

  1. Vincent Says:

    This is obviously not a real quiz! But I’m trying to see what it’s about. One underlying assumption is that being unique and original is a desirable trait. That seems to be the case if we assume a competitive environment—for finding a mate, being successful in creative endeavours and getting to the top of social hierarchies.

    Another underlying assumption is that a person is driven by competitive forces to the extent of deceiving himself and others.

    First of all, each of us is literally unique and unable to change this fact; unlike other animals which resemble one another within a given species. What you mean by “original” cannot be deduced outside a given context.

    But I’ll answer from my own case: not answer your questions, which are rather too presumptious, but answer in a general manner, because the topic of originality has had me brooding of late.

    If I have something original to say, then I owe it to the world to say it. But if everything I have to say has been said already by others, and said better, then I needn’t bother. I’ve been brooding about it because I wonder what I am supposed to do, now that I’m free to pursue this or that. I like to potter about, designing things out of software or wood, writing things sometimes, doing a little charity work sometimes.

    If my thoughts are unique and original, it lays a burden upon me to present them to the world, which will require enormous effort, self-discipline and focus. So from a selfish point of view I hope I am merely ordinary. When I was younger I felt I had an important future in the realm of ideas, but that was just the direction my ambition took. I think it’s good and normal for any young person to have ambition, subject to a number of practical and ethical constraints and of course enough self-knowledge.

    To summarise, I don’t quite recognise the angle from which you approach this topic.

  2. Steven Holmes Says:

    Vincent, my angle is this: for the whole of my life I have longed to blend in as a “normal” person and for the whole of my life most of the things I have said have been extraordinary and even obnoxious. Originality is not something I crave, yet it was thrust upon me. And I haven’t even started yet. That’s what this website is for, step by step, to reveal the full insanity of what I see and leave it here for posterity until the rest of the world catches up. I mean that. It isn’t arrogance. I take no pleasure whatsoever in being so totally beyond the pail. I long for some kind of psychic lobotomy so I could be convincingly reasonable, nice, ethical, acceptable and even popular – all states of being to which I’ve never even come close. All day long, every day, for decades, my mind has been streaming with perceptions that were different from anyone else.

  3. Steven Holmes Says:

    Yet I am not mad.

  4. Vincent Says:

    It’s basic to psychiatry that a patient’s sanity (or for that matter, the world’s insanity) is not entirely for the patient to judge. You will reply, not without justification, that the psychiatrist has a vested interest in the matter.

    But you’ll surely agree that opinions beyond the pale require more than usual validation; and a person living beyond the pale needs above all to find a comfortable niche in which to survive. This is of higher priority than putting the insane world to rights.

    First priority, for any creature born into earth-life: adapt or die.

  5. Steven Holmes Says:

    I am not mad because I can function: I have money, a house, a partner, computers, good food, entertainment, a car, lots of memories, future hopes and a kind of a vague plan. It is very important, indeed a sacred duty, for off the wall thinkers to survive and not be crushed out of sight by the monolith of Stepford culture. Far too many take dangerous, infantile and pathetic ways out of the reponsibility to keep the flame alive during these darkening ages.

  6. Vincent Says:

    Excellent. “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country”, said that other prophet, who was crucified for his pains. A prophet (to be a prophet) must succeed in communicating his vision to someone: posthumously at worst.

  7. Steven Holmes Says:

    This is a “we” activity, Vincent. Good people must come together to keep the flame alive. There has to be some people left who didn’t buy in to the web of lies that really is a “Matrix” only not quite like the one in the film. I hope to collect such people together, virtually, and I hope there’s more than just a handful.

  8. Vincent Says:

    Well, I don’t mind, except I do not acknowledge any “must”. Indeed, my current idea is that there is nothing to be done. Nature is to be trusted. I shall merely do what I feel moved to do, and by that means avoid any sense of stress or urgency.

    On another front, have you been listening to this year’s Reith Lectures? They are about morality, and fill me with optimism. I do urge you to listen whilst they are still available.

  9. Steven Holmes Says:

    Which one, Vincent:

  10. Vincent Says:

    2009. Professor Sandel. Last one is tomorrow at 9am Radio 4.

  11. Vincent Says:

    Here is a better link than Wikipedia:


  12. VLAHAKISA Says:

    I love quizzes, and this one is very interesting.

    Q1: do you have the daily experience of experiencing your own thoughts as unique and original?
    I believe so yes.

    IF YES: what external evidence is there of this feeling?
    I feel the evidence is my comparative lack of absorption of the opinions of the world at large in general. IE I don’t read newspapers, watch the news and so on….hence if my thoughts aren’t my own, where did my thoughts come from? I guess they could come from friends and family, but I don’t think so as I often disagree with the opinions of others around me. This lends further evidence that my thoughts are my own :)

    Q2: is it essential to be unique and original? Y?/N?/DK

    IF NO: why not? It’s only essential to be a good person and care about other people.

    Q3: how much grief do you get from pretending to be unique and original?
    I’ve got quite a bit of grief from it actually over my lifespan, I’ve learned to keep many of my thoughts to myself as a result. I hope I’m not pretending, I like to think I’m just myself with no presences, I intensely dislike dishonesty or falsehood in a character.

    IF LOTS: could you give it a break and just be you for a while?
    I am me, that’s the problem, lol. I give it a break my keeping my trap shut more than I did when I was younger.

    Q4: are you honest about things like this? Y?/N?/DK
    Always honest about everything, can’t see any reason for dishonesty.

    A question for Steve. Why are you so fascinated about the originality of people’s thoughts? You’ve blogged on this general theme more than once.

    Why does one get more points for saying DK … does it make one a better person to not know your own mind?

  13. Steven Holmes Says:

    Because people strive so much and achieve so little when it comes to being “original” and “creative” yet I believe it is an innate ability related to curiosity and the capacity for joy. I used DK differently each time, in my never-ending quest to constantly remind people to watch their own ego in play.

  14. Vincent Says:

    I’d agree that there is probably an innate sense of being original, and an innate urge to be creative.

    But I’m jarred by your generalisation “people strive so much and achieve so little”. Says who? It’s a game anyone can play, like cricket on the beach, and needs no umpires to measure either striving or achievement.

    Once again you appear to be commenting on competitiveness, not the thing itself.

  15. VLAHAKISA Says:

    Yes, I’ve noted before you are concerned about people’s egos :)

    Mine is actually quite massive, I can barely get through the door with it ;) ha ha..

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