January 2, 2016

The internet is a cure for the delusion that you have originality.

I was just boiling water to make a cup of coffee and the dog followed me into the kitchen, because he always accompanies anyone going into the kitchen on the off chance that there's something in it for him. I said, "Dogs don't drink coffee," and added, "But if I did a Google image search for dog drinking coffee, I'm sure I'd get a picture of a dog drinking coffee." And the larger point is: Anything you can think of, before you get the idea that you've thought of something new, you check and you see that it's not new, and you never get puffed up about anything brewing in your head. Whatever you can think of, the internet is right there to tell you it's been thought, it's been done.



Drink up. Move on.



It's okay. You're okay.

32 comments:

Meade said...

Comedian Poodles in Cars Getting Coffee

lemondog said...

Note the poodle in there

Sebastian said...

But Chomsky refutes Althouse.

365 said...

You are totally right you can search a dog with its head up a horses bum and something will come up. I did a blog about the internet if you could check it out I would be really happy

oleh said...

My four year old invented a crocoduck one day. I thought, someone must have cooked an image of that. Little did I know.

surfed said...

Don't even get me started on Duffy my half Irish half Golden male drinking beer from red cups left unattended.

chickelit said...

The Google search engine is also a wonderfully enabling tool if you think you have an original idea and you don't find that it has been done! This act can be likened to a prior art search. Where you find soul-crushing evidence of unoriginal thinking, others find hope of novelty. Of course, there's always the possibility that something already exists but it's not found by a search engine. This is most often obscured by language differences.

Yancey Ward said...

Did you also Google, "dog drinking coffee isn't an original idea"?

TomHynes said...

Rule 34.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

My prayers go out to the dog afflicted by the coffee cup on the nose.

Laslo Spatula said...

Not only has it been thought of before, but Rule 34 of the Internet: There is porn of it. No exceptions.d.

I am Laslo.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think realizing 'you're no one special' is an important part of enjoying life. The people I know who've always lived in bubbles where they're the smartest, most talented, etc. are the most miserable people I know.

(And you can ONLY believe that if you're in a bubble. Because no matter how smart or talented you are, there's always someone out there you can learn something from.)

Once you realize that you're no one special, and that other people have more to offer than you do, life becomes much more interesting-- and joyful, because you're always coming across something new and fascinating.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

vaguely related - I remember some years back there was sort of a game of trying to construct a google search that would get only 1 one hit

AJ Lynch said...


Althouse, you may be the first person to write "the internet is a cure for the delusion that you have originality".

Guildofcannonballs said...

Prolapse tatoos.

ganderson said...

Shamelessly stealing from the Internet is my life.

Guildofcannonballs said...

What supports my delusions include the concept of intellectual property rights originating continuously as well as the science (I can't do) creating new things and concepts in a manner original in some aspects and unoriginal in others, and in a tie I always give myself the win.

People think you are trying to scam them if you seem to be open to an offer a reasonable person would refuse in an equal situation, mostly on principle.

Mac McConnell said...

Everything becomes camp.

Ann Althouse said...

"Did you also Google, "dog drinking coffee isn't an original idea"?"

Yeah, maybe the idea that it's not original is original.

campy said...

Rule 34 of the Internet: if you can imagine it, there's already porn of it out there.

rhhardin said...

If you call it originality, you don't have it.

Sebastian said...

You said "maybe the idea that it's not original is original," though you may have meant that "the idea that it's not original isn't original," but, either way, this sentence proves that Chomsky was right in refuting Althouse and defying Google long before she made her original point.

Greg Hlatky said...

At shows, our boy Dutch would drink the ring steward's coffee if he could reach it.

Pianoman said...

"The Web brings people together because no matter what kind of a twisted sexual mutant you happen to be, you've got millions of pals out there. Type in 'Find people that have sex with goats that are on fire' and the computer will ask, 'Specify type of goat.'"
--Jason Alexander (Seinfeld's George Costanza)

Static Ping said...

It may have been done before, but has it been done this well? That's the question.

There is actually a scene-by-scene "premake" of the original Star Wars using footage from prior to the movie's release. Essentially, it is Star Wars before there was Star Wars. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Star Wars: The Premake

Stephen A. Meigs said...

there is porn of it. no exceptions

What would be rare would be a site portraying mostly naked young females who look like they are imagining giving clean sex cheaply (and rewardingly) on account of feeling so much clean real pleasure and (unselfish) love the sex would to them both feel right and intellectually seem right. Like a few years ago when I tried searching for "sexy moral girls" and Google's search engine asked "did you mean sexy oral girls"? (Repeating the experiment this morning, it says "no results found for sexy moral girls. Did you mean sexy normal girls?" Almost as bad.) Not that there aren't sexy moral girls, but I guess they rarely are brave or imprudent enough to be very bold about putting their nature on internet--at the least, such girls once well-known would attract massive troll bombs of insult, since young females innocently expressing their innocent sexiness is arguably what trolls most love to express their hate for. Humanity as a whole very much needs the former expressions (those of innocent young female innocent sexiness), though.

Caffeine is toxic both to cats and dogs, by the way. Sacredness is required in justly meting out punishment for illicit wrong-doing almost as much as it would be appropriate in torturing stuff to death from clean sadistic hate. Thinking about who the evil serial killer(s) is, so the killer can be duly punished in a trial and so the family's victims can have peace, may be a more dog than cat thing (a female cat, on the other hand, might just torture (or imagine torturing) to death what looks like it might grow up to be a nasty serial killer while sexually enjoying being able to hate it while loving something else), but it is somewhat nearing almost as badly done quickly in non-emergency situations as thinking about cat morals quickly would be. Cold case investigation is a nice avocation for a catsy person or a logician as they are all best and most beautifully done slowly and lazily (without caffeine!), and it gives dog/cat and adventure/dull balance. For my temperament, logic-book author, cold case detective, and cat-morals theorist best occupations for me, seems to me. For whatever reason, I can like to play computer games a good deal faster, though. And if I could draw carefully, that would probably be good in letting me better (more accurately and observantly) store visual impressions and feelings based on visual things to slow down thought even more (easy to rush to avoid forgetting), but that is so laborious for me because for whatever I haven't been gifted with being able to do that at all easily.

Quaestor said...

Prolapse tattoos

Maybe not now, but soon.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Anything you can think of, before you get the idea that you've thought of something new, you check and you see that it's not new,

Not true, but probably true for simple ideas.

I think it was in 1844 that the head of the U.S. patent office said nothing more could be invented.

Maybe not exactly so:

http://inventors.about.com/library/lessons/bl_appendix5.htm (I never read the resignation story by the way. It was always a report)

....Patent Office Commissioner Henry Ellsworth's 1843 report to Congress. In it he states, "The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end." But Commissioner Ellsworth was simply using a bit of rhetorical flourish to emphasize the growing number of patents as presented in the rest of the report. He even outlined specific areas in which he expected patent activity to increase in the future.





BN said...

No worries. I have lots of other delusions.

BN said...

"Maybe the idea that it's not original is original."

Nope. It's the story of my [iimaginary] life. The Germans probably have a word for it, "schadenfraud" maybe or something.

I always have had these "great" "original" thoughts. Philosophy! Then I read them elsewhere. Stories! Then i read PK Dick. Art! I have these "great" doodles.Then I stumble onto Kandinsky. Nothing new under the sun. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. What's the probability math of originality in a universe of zillions of thoughts over infinite time? Whatever. (I invented that expression btw. Lol. That one too).

BN said...

What time do y'all close up [the Moderation] shop?

sinz52 said...

Sammy Finkelman:

In the 19th century, it was common for inventions to be developed independently by different inventors who didn't know they were both working on the same thing. Then came all the patent lawsuits.

Today, the Internet makes that much less likely. Any inventor is going to do a Google search on his concept and soon find all the other people who have the same idea.

Perhaps they'll collaborate over the Internet. Had Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison collaborated from the outset, the incandescent light bulb could have been commercialized sooner.