As I was helping some kids with reading comprehension I came across autobiography of Helen Keller. She was an exceptional lady and her story is a legend in itself. One chapter in particular draws my attention at this point. It was in the late 19th century that she tried to write her first story. First she received positive reviews but soon enough she was accused of plagiarism. Though it happened subconsciously she accepted that she had assimilated some elements from another story which she had heard a long time ago and she reproduced some of it while writing her own. Thereafter she did her best to be as original an author as possible.
Something similar happened with a work by Nietzsche. I read this a long ago so I don’t clearly remember the details. Maybe it was Thus Spake Zarathustra. Sigmund Freud commented on this. The book was published posthumously by Nietzsche’s sister. He had heard the passage in his childhood and it remained latent into his subconscious. He reproduced it in full when writing the book. The commentary mentioned that it was impossible that two authors wrote same paragraphs and it was also not possible that Nietzsche being the original thinker he was could have intentionally copied the passage.
I feel rules about plagiarism might have been more stringent in the 19th century but it’s really not possible to be totally original in the strictest sense. There is nothing original under the Sun as Goethe said-all great thoughts have already been thought and you have to just rethink them. I feel infinite universes keep repeating infinite possibilities for infinite number of times. Even in the narrowest evolution of civilization you see many copies of same useful ideas over and again. It’s better to create than to keep worrying about being original.