Barefoot Doctor Bit: How Can You Learn To Feel Calm When People Steal Your Ideas?
Barefoot Doctor: “I resonate with this question because I’ve had more good ideas stolen over the years than I’ve gone through laptops, and that’s saying something.
And occasionally I certainly do find myself feeling angry at the more flagrant instances, but then remind myself that we’re all influenced by each other and always have been – that’s how art develops. So, in a twisted way, it’s a complement that my creation was congruent enough for someone to want to steal it.
A good artist, a real artist, takes time to allow external influences to filter through his or her inner structure and develop them into a new original form, rather than blatantly, unimaginatively copying.
A lesser artist, an inauthentic artist, takes no time at all, doesn’t bother letting the influence filter through any sort of process and merely copies. And if they’re good at the game and have a profile, they tend to be very successful at it. It’s well known that copyists in all fields tend to make more money than originators on the whole.
And the process is accelerating. Take the new midi-rip feature on Ableton Live 9, for instance, where you stick a tune in and it rips all the midi parts for you. It makes it easier than ever to effectively steal a currently successful tune, tweak it enough then release it as your own, but almost the whole so-called artistic process occurs in the computer rather than in the person.
But a true artist, even if just using Ableton’s midi-rip (which I must admit is great) will still create something fresh from it, they will still go through the creative process – not just because the ethic is there not to steal, but because as an artist, this creative process, even if sped up by and facilitated through technology, is the whole point of it, the very reason for staying alive.
That sounds melodramatic perhaps, but if you’re a real artist you’ll resonate with this feeling.Your reward as a genuine creator is to create, and to experience the true splendor (along with the occasional pain) of full immersion in the creative process.
The bonus of having worldly success, remuneration and recognition as a result of this process, is merely that, a bonus. And while it hurts to see your creations stolen, midi-ripped, so to speak, you learn to bear the pain, own the anger, relax and return to the creative process with even more vigor to produce something new and more magnificent.
Not because you’re trying to be a superhero, but because you’ve realized harboring resentment merely depletes your vital reserves better used for creating something new instead.
You slowly learn to stop taking it all personally, to understand the collective creative influencing process has sped up so fast it can all now be done in a computer without even having to think about it, but that this offers no actual value to the experience, so that whoever does so, even if making money or gaining recognition from it, is losing out on the real prize, an authentic experience of creating.
And for that you have compassion for them, somehow find it in you to wish them well, and focus instead on honing your own craft. And just as importantly, you spend a bit of time honing your intention, developing a clearer mental picture of your intended outcome, which in this instance, might be say, ‘one day I’ll create a tune (or whatever), that’ll come from the depths of my heart and soul, and be so sublimely beautiful/powerful/perfect, the whole world will acknowledge and reward me for it’.
Then you carry on as you were, all the while reminding yourself that ultimately all of this is just a game we’re all playing while we’re all hanging around waiting to die (this, to maintain proper panoramic perspective), all the while also reminding yourself to enjoy and be appreciative of each and every minute and not waste another second resenting the way the theater of life is moving, or its various actors are acting.
In any case, all this motion, all the theatrical twists and turns of life are governed by the law of yin and yang. Understanding the incessant cycling of these two, the contractive and expansive phases of all aspects of existence, you get better at trusting that whatever the play, the theater of life, unjustly takes from you is (mysteriously) later returned multiplied.”
Questions by Skrufff.