Plagiarize me: Part 2

Cultivation is creation. It's the mixing of raw ingredients to make every imaginable and unimaginable Something Else, like tractors, soccer shoes and pixels ("small squares of digital information with a colour value").

Image and pixel definition taken from here if you're really interested.

I learned about ingredients from Mister Rogers (Remember "Picture Picture"?) and have always been fascinated by how stuff is made. I first touched on the ethical importance of ingredients in advertising in a short post here.

As I was saying, cultivation - interestingly one of the first tasks given to Adam and Eve - is creation. But progress naturally leads to a higher possibility for product look-a-likes simply due to the abundance of things created. If I'm the only one making a Widget, it's unique. When thousands are manufacturing Widgets across the planet, uniqueness is hard to come by, especially if the Widget is simple in design.

Rob Walker, author of Buying In, says, "The more narrow the range of actual differences in commodity attributes, the more important it becomes to create a different kind of value - one that transcends the material" (8). Yet something happens to us as this range narrows.

Think about it. If we believe that creativity is endless, then we've come no closer to uniformity than when the second Widget-maker set up shop downstream from Adam. But it certainly feels like creativity is endangered - at least with certain products. Consequently, we shield our creations and possessions like Gollum when others come too close to copying them. This is always the case with scarcity.

If creativity is limited, however (again, at least with certain products), then we're heading toward a point where the range narrows enough to nullify trademarks and copyrights. With this limitation perspective, eventually you'll have to plagiarize me.


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