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Present your perspective on the issue below, using relevant reasons and/or examples to support your views.
originality vs usability
Topic: - "Originality does not mean thinking something that was never thought before; it means putting old ideas together in new ways."
In most of the countries patents are granted on the basis of novelty. But, the most important question, which arises here, is what does it mean by novel. In most of the countries, patents are granted only if any idea is new and had never appeared anywhere in the past. But, few countries also grant a patent if something already exist and someone is able to modify it or put it in a new way, so that it can be more useful. So, we can see that the statement quoted above is contradictory and there is little bit confusion about the term novelty or originality itself.
Is originality means something that was never thought before or something old put together in a new way? Both of the things can be true in different circumstances. Ideas use to originate inside the human brain like fission reaction, never in isolation. So, most of the time, whatever original ideas that use to come to human brain and that has never been thought by anybody else in the past is inspired by some past action or already existing things. As it may be possible that many a time we use to observe a thing, but never thought about its use; like, everybody use to see the flow of water and wind but it was for sure an original idea to generate electricity from it. Same thing can be said about the deciphering of benzene structure. Structure of benzene was enigma for many decades for the scientists all around the world. But, Kekule has solved the benzene structure by deriving new idea from the movement of the snake, which doesn't mean that his idea was not original.
To understand it more precisely, we should understand the difference between the term invention and discovery: invention is to generate something new with the help of existing materials in the nature, which use to have a new form and new use for the first time; whereas, discovery is to bring to the notice of all the people, something already existing in the nature in the same form. We can cite the example of many discoveries in this category. Like, discovery of American continent by Christopher Columbus. But, sometimes there is wafer thin line between the term discovery and invention, like, discovery of Penicillin. People knew about the use of antibiotics in European folk medicine, but only after the serendipitous discovery by Alexander Fleming, it was popularized and put to widespread medicinal use by Florey and Chain. This kind of situation will lead to a grueling long debate that it was a discovery or an invention.
So, while discussing the originality of any idea, it's better, we should restrict ourselves to only inventions. Now, this invention can be broadly categorized into two groups, one is the things which has never been thought or existed and other is like which has existed and now it has been modified in a way that it has become more useful. Mobile has been invented, but can we categorize it as original idea. In a way, we can say that mobile is nothing but improvement over the existing telephone. Same thing can be said about the motorbike, it's nothing but improvement over bicycle. So, we can say that, it's not that idea has been thought before or not, or putting of old ideas in a new ways should be used to define the originality of an idea, but how the ideas have been put to the use of the people should be the main criteria for defining the originality of the idea.
In conclusion, it can be said that as a measure of the originality of any idea, we should not see that it has been thought before or not, or it's just the modification of the old ideas, but it should be decided on the basis of, "How much useful it's for the people in a new way?" As the old adage goes, "Need is the mother of all invention," We should see how much originality of any idea is able to fulfill this need. So, both, something that was never thought before or putting old ideas together in new ways can qualify for the original ideas.