Copying is How We Learn

An interesting 7 minutes found, thanks to Erik Spiekermann & his frequent twitter updates.

The main point in the video can be summed up quite nicely by the following introduction:

“…Copying is how we learn. We can’t introduce anything new until we’re fluent in the language of our domain, and we do that through emulation.

For instance, all artists spend their formative years producing derivative work.

Bob Dylan’s first album contained eleven cover songs.

Richard Pryor began his stand-up career doing a not-very-good imitation of Bill Cosby.

And Hunter S. Thompson re-typed The Great Gatsby just to get the feel of writing a great novel.

Nobody starts out original. We need copying to build a foundation of knowledge and understanding. And after that… things can get interesting. 

After we’ve grounded ourselves in the fundamentals through copying, it’s then possible to create something new through transformation. Taking an idea and creating variations. This is time-consuming tinkering but it can eventually produce a breakthrough.”

This is part III of the “Everything Is A Remix” series. The final installment will be released in the fall.
View part 1 & part 2

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