Letter IV to Alex: On Original Work, Organic Thought, and Collective Unconscious

Gerard van Honthorst’s “The Death of Seneca”


So there is already quite a bit of writing on the philosophy of video games then? It is always disappointing when you believe you have something original–a potential article or thesis–and you find someone beat you to it. When the idea came to you organically, that is…without any knowledge that it already existed, you are likely to be so distraught as to craft conspiracies that someone traveled to the future and stole it from you. So it was when I found so many of my organic ideas unoriginal.

There is an optimistic angle to those situations though. It’s important to compare yourself to those at the top of the podium and realize whatever metal you wear is not much less worthy than theirs. Silver and bronze are not worth much less than gold. And you must not forget that you ran the same course to the same conclusion that they did. If you did not fare well on this one, on this day, perhaps you will fare better on the next course, on the next day.

But so many of us racing the same track? Perhaps this common predicament is a testament to collective unconscious and the lunacy of “organic ideas” and “original work.” Perhaps it is a testament that the truth lies dormant in all of us just waiting for the right catalyst to bring it up to the surface. In that sense, there is no race to be had but for false medals. Certainly this was Seneca’s thought when he reminded us the truth belongs to no one.



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