The Death of Originality

MICHAEL JACKSON MOONWALKER DANCECelebrities are originals, typically, that influence mass culture. When a celebrity dies, all the potential for creating new impacts in our society dies with them. That’s why it’s so shocking to hear news of the death of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. When they go, there truly is a mourning for the loss of their originality.

The Loss of Originality

In a way, I see these deaths as symbols for a trend going on in America and a mood that is becoming persistent. It’s almost a grieving for the loss of originality. This country was founded on an original way to govern, a new social system, and the ability of each individual to reach their highest potential with hard work and through their own efforts. Celebrities are evocative symbols of this system that exemplifies the potential for taking anyone and catapulting them to fame and fortune. If the value they create is large enough to benefit society, whether in entertainment or some other fashion, the reward for this originality is wealth, due to increased social value.

Value Is Still Here

The recession has made it clear that we’ve rested our laurels on past history of providing value, without continuing to be consistent in this area. A culture sprung up where it became more fashionable to exploit value, and that ideal eventually kills those willing to offer value. In order to see more new value as a culture, we’re going to have to learn ways to support the green shoots of value, instead of jumping in to harvest it before its time. It means we need to spend more time identifying sources of value, nurturing those sources, and be patient while they mature. When one source of value or originality dies, it has to be replaced by another in order for society to continue to evolve forward. The nice thing about humanity is that we are all originals. It’s just a matter of knowing how to contribute our own unique specialness in ways that contribute to other’s social well-being to generate a transaction of value to both parties. This requires some introspection and that’s where our grief can help us. It can help reset our internal compass to focus on what we can bring to the table too, instead of what has been taken away. When we start to appreciate our own unique gifts and feel safe enough to share them with others, without fear of exploitation, it can genuinely recreate society from the roots up.

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